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Adams State U Prez Bans “Disruptive” Adjunct Activist From Campus

by P.D. Lesko

“Your presence on campus presents a concern to the campus community; is disruptive and/or you have been previously warned that such behavior will not be tolerated. Your alleged behavior is deemed to be detrimental to the well-being of the institution and/or incompatible with the function of the University.”

The excerpt above comes from the letter (below) written by Adams State University President Beverlee J. McClure and delivered to former Adams State University adjunct faculty member Danny Ledonne by the campus chief of police in early October 2015.

Below, read a copy of President McClure’s letter to Danny Ledonne:

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A former ASU film instructor, Ledonne told Denver, Colorado’s online new site www.westword.com that he “couldn’t figure out what he’d done to merit such attention. He had not issued any threats or received any prior warnings. And the timing of this fiat couldn’t have been worse; he was the director of the 2015 Southern Colorado Film Festival, scheduled to take place on campus the following weekend, and now he was finding out he couldn’t even attend the festival without landing in the hoosegow.”

In response to slow and low pay for adjunct faculty, Danny Ledonne has spoken out about alleged violations in the Colorado Fair Pay Act by Adams State University.

In response to slow and low pay for adjunct faculty, Danny Ledonne has spoken out about alleged violations in the Colorado Fair Pay Act by Adams State University.

Westwood.com reporter Alan Prendergrast writes that the only “alleged behavior” Ledonne has been engaged in that could be deemed to “present a concern to the campus community” is his ongoing criticism of Adams State’s salary policies — particularly its shabby treatment of adjunct instructors.

Danny Ledonne worked part-time at ASU between 2011 and 2014. He was then offered a contract as a full-time visiting professor, with full benefits. In Spring 2015, Ledonne’s contract wasn’t renewed. Since then, according to the westwood.com article, “he’s launched a watchdog website, Watching Adams, that explores publicly available salary data and compensation issues, and accuses the university of violating the Colorado Wage Act by making adjuncts wait until the end of the semester, or longer, to get paid for their work.”

ASU President McClure was hired in April 2015 and is the former President of a New Mexico Chamber of Commerce organization.

ASU President McClure was hired in April 2015 and is the former President of a New Mexico Chamber of Commerce organization.

President McClure declined a request for an interview about the ban, but her office issued a brief statement denying that the decision was made in response to the Watching Adams website: “It is unfortunate that a disgruntled, unsuccessful job applicant is misconstruing information about Adams State University. Mr. Ledonne’s persona non grata status was not issued in response to his website, but for safety reasons. There is an appeal process that can be pursued by Mr. Ledonne. Since this is a personnel issue, the University will not comment further.”

McClure, hired by Adams State University in April of 2015, is the former head of the The New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry.

ACI Board Chair Dan Girand congratulated McClure when she was hired by Adams State University.

“Beverlee has done an outstanding job leading and growing ACI for almost a decade” he said.

However, ACI’s federal income tax statements tell a different story. Between 2009 and 2012, under McClure’s leadership ACI’s revenue decreased from a high of $537,600 in 2010 to $485,945 in 2012. Tax records also show that between 2009 and 2012, the ACI ran a negative fund balance: the association’s liabilities exceeded its available assets. In 2009, when ACI brought in $515, 121 in gross revenue, McClure’s organization lost money overall ($12,072), and the ACI’s liabilities exceeded its assets by $177,146.

In addition, in 2012 the bulk ($304,633) of the member organization’s $485,945 in gross revenue went to pay salaries, including McClure’s $168,661 compensation package.

In a recent e-mail to faculty and staff,  it was reported that McClure defended ASU’s open-records policy and announced that the university website no longer requires a visitor to sign in to access salary data — a requirement that Ledonne suggested was being used to monitor and learn the identities of the curious. “Under my leadership, Adams State University will remain as open and transparent as possible,” she wrote.

Caprice Lawless is the vice president for the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) chapters of the American Association of University Professors. In response to Ledonne’s campus ban, Lawless had this to say:

“First Amendment rights are under attack at Adams State University in Alamosa and in Colorado’s Community College System (CCCS). Nothing seems to irritate six-figure-earning college administrators more than faculty who raise legitimate questions about staggering differences in wages between administrators and faculty. Those who do, like Prof. Danny Ledonne in Alamosa, might lose their ability to walk onto campus. Others, like me, may lose their jobs.”

Meanwhile, in response to President McClure’s defense of her actions, Danny Ledonne posted his own response to his site Watching Adams:

“Banning the messenger is not the solution to the problem,” he writes. “I do not believe it is in Adams State University’s best interest to court further public controversy by upholding this legally tenuous ban, nor does it serve the core mission of an institution of higher learning to issue retaliatory policies in response to constitutionally protected free expression.”

 

Short URL: http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=6330

8 Comments for “Adams State U Prez Bans “Disruptive” Adjunct Activist From Campus”

  1. Oh, is this the Never Ending Story. This state of the Institutional Leadership class, the HR Class, the Chambers of Commerce Class, this Presidential farce, well, is the campus completely up in arms? The filmmakers? Is there a collective WTF and boycotts of this Podunk place? Questions about this president’s mealy mouthed responses? Anyone with guts other some quirky adjunct questioning her role in mis-leadership there?

    No, because this stuff happens all the time, all the time! Uncivil Rights! Read the book, and here, the story, and this is just on one issue – Palestine and Israel:

    Quote: “A new report by the Center for Constitutional Rights and Palestine Legal has documented hundreds of cases of Palestinian rights activists in the United States being harassed, disciplined, fired, sued, censored or threatened for their advocacy around Palestine. Eighty-five percent of these cases targeted students or scholars. We look at the case of Steven Salaita. Last year, his job offer for a tenured position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was withdrawn after he posted tweets harshly critical of the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza. The school had come under pressure from donors, students, parents and alumni critical of Salaita’s views, with some threatening to withdraw financial support. His case caused a firestorm, with thousands of academics signing petitions calling for Salaita’s reinstatement, several lecturers canceling appearances and the American Association of University Professors calling the school’s actions “inimical to academic freedom and due process.” In August, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis Wise resigned after she was implicated in a scandal that involved attempting to hide emails detailing Salaita’s ouster.”

    So, is it any wonder that these smirking folk with the Boards and Business Community Backing them are in power? And, what does the rest of the faculty at the school do? Hide for cover? Cover their butts? Retreat in their world of 401 k’s, $70K a year salaries, and then sink in their world of Pier 1 and Target binges come Black Friday?

    What sort of teachable moments will this fellow’s defamation generate? Does this school have a collective faculty heart, compatriots in spirit and in spirit? These limp responses listed? This is why education needs to be thrown out with the baby and the bathwater. These people running the show and the compliant folk under them, faculty and union folk and these protected ones in organizations, they are part of the problem, not the solution. Would they risk getting locked up by the smarmy president? Would they?

    Oh, you all know this is structural violence, the same sort that is at the root of banality of evil and the Little Eichmann Syndrome. This is not a place where you will find champions in large numbers. Faculty will say insipid and dead letter things – You don’t attack/ban the messenger! This is it, 2015, coming form the vanguard.

    This is the teachable moment – fearful underlings not having the guts to step into the quagmire of these Admin Class’s brains, and assaulting their stupidity and vain and crass elitist stances. Walk into her office, tenured ones. Wrap her door in Banned Police Tape. Do something with your wasted laurels.

  2. From @AdjunctNation’s Facebook Page: David Baecker—Wow, I used to teach Danny in Colorado. Go Danny!

  3. From @AdjunctNation’s Facebook Page: LeNie A Adolphson—Being paid less than a McDonalds crew employee and being on the verge of homelessness and being eligible for EVERY government program and driving to 3 different schools to piece together a living is disruptive to adjuncts not to mention the embarrassment of sometimes working with your students at the same local establishment.

  4. From @AdjunctNation’s Facebook Page: Lisa Sandberg—This is unbelievable, “adjuncts wait until the end of the semester, or longer, to get paid for their work.” That takes it to the next level of outrageous treatment of adjuncts. 2-6k per course but you don’t get it till the end of the semester?

  5. From @AdjunctNation’s Facebook Page: Robert Neblett—You know what else is “detrimental to the well-being of the institution and/or incompatible with the function of the University”? Paying professors on an hourly basis.

  6. From @AdjunctNation’s Facebook Page: Lisa Sandberg—He’s brave and he’s doing it for all of us.

  7. From @AdjunctNation’s Facebook Page: Lisa Baughn—Please, no real egalitarianism at institutions supposed to be creating egalitarianism!

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