Care 2 Petition

October 26, 2010

Women bullying and mobbing other women is truly pathetic, horrible, counter productive, animalistic and plain sad.

Success breeds success, so those who put others down are doing it to themselves.

Take the 2 seconds to help address this issue of women on women nastiness in academia:

Non-profit ACAD: Allied Cultures Against Discrimination started this petition to help academic whistleblowers being tormented, prevented from graduating on time, not getting advisement or classes they need, being wrongfully terminated, put in harmful situations…

UCLA’s Fem Magazine has approached us to do a story about this. 10/27/10 The publication’s editor confirmed the story will run in their Fall Quarterly Issue.

LA area SFV American Civil Liberties Union President Ken Ronney has signed.

Professor Emeritus William Sedlacek at The University of Maryland has signed.

Edie Love has signed.

They are among many, kind concerned people who have helped, put their names on the line. We thank you.

Bullied Academics from the United Kingdom got involved.

When the University of Memphis’ women’s center was approached about this- they did nothing.

When UCLA’s women’s center was approached, they did something.

If it can happen to one of us, it can happen to any of us.

Thank you so much for signing and your comments of support against unnecessary mobbing and bullying to prevent women from getting the education they deserve in 2010.

How this university treats gay people:

How this university treats minority employees/faculty:

Sandra J. Sarkela’s reviews ( for the last few years (2005-2010) on “plays favorites like crazy”, “makes me want to drop out of college”, “grades based on whether she likes you or not”, “poor quality”, “not a positive experience” and worse.

Is discrimination going on here with this interim chair of The University of Memphis Rhetoric & Communication Studies Department?  Other students have had their say. Yet a university allows someone like this to chair a department.

Thank you to East Coast Asian Students Union for your advocacy work on this issue.

Thank you to Audrey Magazine in California for running something about this petition- and online too!

Thank you to Ellen Nedrow in Senator Lautenberg’s office (NJ) and Edith Prague of Connecticut for your advice and support. What will Tennessee do about issues like this?

I want to bring your attention to bullying of women by other women happening at the college level at The University of Memphis in 2010. They say they want diversity, but their actions have shown us otherwise. Anyone who would like proof of the below (emails from university officials) can have it.

I’ve become a victim to this and I know it’s not just me as another young woman in my program got bullied by our department’s administration. The interim chair of The Department of Rhetoric & Communication Studies, Sandra Sarkela, told this woman’s adviser that she wanted the woman “out of the program”. The woman’s graduate assistantship supervisor, Katherine Hendrix, assigned the woman last minute “work” on a Saturday. The young woman dropped out of her assistantship credits and Sarkela’s class.

Another young woman in the program was barred from taking certain classes when younger, Caucasian students were allowed. She was also treated differently than these others in terms of grading. When she brought this up to Sandra Sarkela, she felt she was discriminated against and retaliated against.  This young woman was denied proper advisement for Spring 2011.

I, too, have been treated in this manner by Sandra Sarkela and our department administration and even by the university administration and Shirley Raine’s office. I was just denied advisement for Spring 2011 registration too and then terminated for the second time within a couple days of registration.

I have a medical condition put into writing by my doctor that was ignored by the Affirmative Action Officer, Michelle Banks. I was put in a work condition (noisy public computer lab, no air conditioning (confirmed by U of M emails that it had to be fixed), no water, being put under surveillance by an attendant to deter me participating in protected activities) that caused my anxiety problems to worsen.

Michelle Banks’ office receives ARRA money to run “diversity” initiatives. Despite months of having evidence, such as a wrongful termination, Banks has yielded no investigation results…

I complained about discrimination to Sandra Sarkela, who then had me terminated the day before classes started and informed me via email by Amanda Young if I wanted to stay, I had to pay out of state tuition (20K ) , hence attempting to destroy my academic and work credibility when I have an unblemished record. After figuring out that it could be a federal crime, the university reinstated me, but since then has retaliated against me at every turn to try to make me leave “voluntarily” like the first young woman. I was also told a certain class was “full” for me.

Gray Matthews intimidated me into withdrawing  by asking why I would want to be somewhere I was so uncomfortable and by saying the department was too small for me. Sheri Lipman confirmed his statements in an email and tried to pass them off as “concern”.

When I turned in my work, they ignored my sources and called me a plagiarist in an email, again attempting to undermine my academic and work future.  They also refused to fill out an incident report for weeks for a work injury I had and threatened via email with an “If/Then” statement to stop paying me. This was by university counsel Sheryl Lipman.

I am a minority female who moved from California to get a PhD and become part of this community. Now, the university has put a condition on my assistantship that I sign over a full psychiatric examination (fitness for duty) for just working by myself with books- over to them. This is not right.  This is a tactic used by Emory on 5 of their professors who stood up to their administration.

Dean Richard R. Ranta said in an email he “heard a very different side of the story”. He conducted no investigation. Assistant Dean Moira Logan refused to ever respond.  Vice Provost Karen Weddle West knew about the wrongful termination and then emailed taunts to me.

Again- anyone who wants these emails sent by these University of Memphis officials can have them.

On 11/3/10, Sheryl Lipman writes an email to re-terminate the above student again. This email states knowledge of anxiety, and other medical conditions affirmed by the university’s own provider- Baptist Medical.  Again, they say the student must pay out of state tuition in order to keep going to classes.

I would like to share with you and our community the atrocities that are going on in higher education at The University of Memphis.  Our federal tax dollars are paying in part for these people.

Google:  Textbook mobbing and retaliation actions against whistleblowers.

Other resources: less

CTScan Academia

August 25, 2010

More adventures of a detour from big city life:

I entered a program of higher learning partly due to the fact that my program seemed to have a large population of women in the faculty and with students.  I was encouraged by this. I brought plants and a book for these women I was to meet who were to guide me on my journey of the mind.

It turns out my dealing with four female instructors/staff members turned out to be not what I expected. Keep in mind these four have never really left the ivory towers.

Contrast this to my classmate S.L. and I who are both in our early thirties and spent our twenties getting out there and living life. S.L. has been experiencing  similar problems in the department. She’s a funky gal with tattoos and short hair who doesn’t shop at Anne Taylor or Talbots. I, too, have short hair and I do not dress remarkably femininely. People in Memphis like to stare at two short haired gals dining together in s restaurant at night.  S.L.’s mom wants to put in a call to the department.

My first lady advisor pressured me to sign up for classes she’s teaching. I asked for clarification on having  to take 9 “required classes”. Even when I agreed to take her class for fall, she still wouldn’t meet me for further advisement or clear me to register during the course of the last month.  Classes begin this week and I still don’t have a complete schedule.

I had never heard of these requirements when I applied and couldn’t find evidence of them on the program’s web page or in any student handbooks.

The second woman told me in an email that if I didn’t sign up as they said, I would not pass my comprehensive exams (that happen at the end of 45 all but dissertation credits). She said to not listen to the other students who did pass theirs and never took them. When I asked for help from this woman via email at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon, not expecting a response right away, I got one. It said, “I need some downtime.”

This second woman told us a story during orientation about how she forgot to send in one student’s paperwork to the dean’s office and this student was almost not permitted to graduate on time due to the department’s error. This same second woman during orientation said that in her job she had to sink or swim and that she was “getting a little wet”. In the next sentence she said things had to be done “quickie”, then changed that to quickly after she thought about it for a second.

Now for the third woman. This woman wrote me an email a few days before classes were to start to tell me that I would be now teaching three classes. This email is entitled “changes to your contract work”.  I was expected to teach these classes despite the fact that faculty text books were not available for them and still are not.  I told this third woman that the first two wanted me to take a class that conflicted with this new teaching schedule- since these things were to occur during the same time slots. She said I’d better not take this class so I could “fulfill my contract”.  The department is short staffed and would need to clone me in order for me to do what these three women have decided I need to do in order not fail my comps and not be in breach of contract.

Keep in mind this department is the Communication Department.

I went to see the interim chair of this department. She told me I’d better get over it and teach these classes, despite my contract saying I needed 18 graduate hours that I don’t have in order to teach, as layed out by the regional accreditation board.

I asked for help from outside of the department. Upon being told to help me, this interim chair made me come back to her office for two hours of being yelled at.  When I came to this meeting, I shut the door behind me. The interim chair told me to leave it open as faculty and students walked around outside. Her new office is next to the department’s admin assistants and staff mailboxes.

This session with the interim chair included asking me repeatedly how old I am and comments like : if you mother’s so anxious about your schedule, your mother should come to school. When I said I respect my mother’s wishes because I owe her a lot and what she had to go through to bring me here from Vietnam for a better life, this interim chair said when she was 23 years old, she had to teach Vietnam vets how to speak again. I’m not sure what she was getting at here.

To round things up, the interim chair also told me to not talk to any students or ask for outside help again- that I was to only talk to her.

Very interesting. Who knew that someone who got a grant for a project called ‘We the People’ was into information control. Does this remind you of other forms of government that are not democratic?

This fourth woman then strongly encouraged me to withdraw from the program, after knowing that I spent a great deal of effort and money to move my entire life from cross country to go to school.

In a newbie academic’s estimation, it appears that women in this department aren’t really into helping younger women. In the mental Olympics, everyone wants the gold. It would seem like there are the academic Tanya Hardings out there. Why one cannot just glide with the wind in their hair and fresh thoughts on their mind still remains a mystery here in Memphis town.

Note: Beginning to see why universities are also called institutions. Lots of mental stuff goes on at this institution.

To all you academic Tanya Hardings, yes- everyone does want to sparkle, but sometimes being ice queen isn’t the best title.

Guess what? I’m staying and due to the intervention of someone called a Vice Chair, I’m getting reassigned to do work other than teach three classes my first semester. Never mind, the vice chair joined in on the bullying and forgot about the new job assignment. Turned into a wrongful termination, then reinstatement + extra discrimination and bullying so I leave “voluntarily”.

Forthcoming fiction: The Bitches of East Memphis, scarier than The Witches of Eastwick