Linda Carman adds some new material to everyone’s favorite controversy in the latest iBerkshire. Carman doesn’t start out to well — her “swirls of controversy like acrid smoke” and “N word used at that meeting last spring continues to hang in the air almost as visibly as graffiti scrawled across the picture-perfect buildings” seem over the top to me — but she still advances the story.

In her e-mail, Ali said, “What is missing from the dean’s letter — and indeed the later discussion of this incident — is a sense of the malice with which the racist comment was delivered. The tone and manner of expression were so extreme that I felt forced to leave the meeting. It was extremely disruptive and upsetting.”

This is the first description that I have seen of the actual tone of the meeting from a participant. For Laleian, it is damning. This would make the Rooney defense much more difficult. I wonder if the other particpants in the meeting saw things the same way?

Question: Why did Ali provide this information to iBerkshires while choosing not to for the Record and the Transcript? Hmmm. There is stuff going on behind the scenes here that we don’t know about. Ali can make like very difficult for the College for a very long time. Williams needs to satisfy her that justice has been done — or satisfy everyone else that her demands are unreasonable.

She added, “I do not believe that the college administration has responded properly to the gravity of this incident.”

But we still don’t know what Ali wants. Laleian fired? At some point, Ali will need to specify what she thinks should be done. Of course, until makes “officially” public the sanctions, that might be tough to do.

But she said she is “refraining from more commentary at this time because I am currently involved in further internal action about this matter.”

Hmm. Can this be anything other than a formal grievance committee? As best I can tell, this is the only official internal action that Ali could be involved with (given that Dean Lenhardt as already imposed the sanctions that he thought appropriate), unless it is something else having to do with her own tenure decision. Is Ali’s goal to help herself or punish Laleian or both?

Williams spokesman James G. Kolesar said he could not think of an instance of the college’s specifying what sanctions had been taken against any faculty.

“There are legal and ethical considerations about how much can be said about a situation,” Kolesar said.

I still think that the College did something official in the Rosemary Tong citation scandal a decade ago, but perhaps that was only a statement by the faculty and not an official College sanction. Doesn’t anyone remember this case?

Also, we need our EphBlog legal team to determine exactly what legal constraints the College is operating under. I am suspicious of the claim that the College can’t, for example, official announce the sanctions even if Laleian’s identity is kept secret.

But both the chairman of the African-American studies department [Alex Willingham] and a co-chairman of the Black Students Union called upon the unidentified woman professor to step forward and attempt to justify her remark.

Willingham called on the unidentified professor to step forward and publicly acknowledge her action.

“I think that would be a major step towards clearing the air,” he said.

Good for them. I agree that Laleian should come forward, or at least release the College from whatever legal/ethical constraints prevent it from naming her and her punishment.

Just as with the Record article, there is more interesting stuff here, but that will await another post.

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