Attacking Injustice LO6573

Marion Brady (
Wed, 10 Apr 1996 17:25:50 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO6512 --

Rol asks:
>Perhaps I am too negative on this. But my question is, why are there not
>more leaders on this issue of injustice? Why only one or very few?

IMHO, the pursuit of justice simply costs more than most can
afford to pay.
A little story: Several years ago, in letters to appropriate
officials--college trustees, the area's legislative delegation, the state
attorney general, the governor, etc.--and to the media, I began to raise
questions about certain practices at Brevard Community College in Florida
where I was teaching. I alleged that strategies were being employed to
evade competitive bidding, that certain females were rocketing up through
the ranks based on their willingness to "accomodate" certain
administrators, that institutionally purchased building materials and
employees were being diverted for private use on a scale sufficient to
build entire houses, that college employees were contracting work through
front organizations. (I could go on and on.)
The situation had existed for more than two decades. In survey
after survey, approzimately 85% of the faculty indicated they did not
"trust nor respect the administration," but the politically appointed
trustees refused to act. Over the years, at least a half dozen members of
the faculty had attempted to call public attention to the situation. All
were fired, and continued (and continue) to be hounded even after their
employment was terminated. (One, for example, with more than a masters
degree in psychology--in order to hang on to his state retirement
program--is presently a driver's license examiner at one third his
previous salary.)
Tenure notwithstanding, glowing performance evaluations
notwithstanding, the support of my peers and students notwithstanding, my
long service on just about every academic committee of consequence in the
institution notwithstanding, five books by major publishers and a steady
stream of articles in national journals notwithstanding, a long-standing
reputation as a superior teacher notwithstanding, I was fired for
"insubordination." (Refused to attend a meeting without a witness
For me,losing my job wasn't economically devastating. But my
situation in that regard is unusual. However, here's the point: In the
pursuit of justice, bringing suit against the administration for violating
my 1st Amendment rights (which I've done) would have been foolhardy had
the National Education Association not stepped in. It's been four years,
the case hasn't even come to trial yet, the costs are already in the
hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I couldn't get a job locally in
education if my life depended on it. (And the abuses to which I called
attention continue.)
It's the Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold makes the rules. When
injustice comes at the hands of those in power, as it usually does, it's a
rare individual who can afford to take action, especially if the power
structure extends outward to local business and media interests, and
upward to state officials. In those circumstance, no whistleblower laws
with which I'm familiar really work.
I would, however, echo Rol's question in regard to the general
population. After I was fired, I wrote a paperback (considered by critics
to be highly readable) naming names and providing details and
documentation of my charges. The book was widely read locally, and it's
accuracy wasn't challenged, but no one stepped forward to lead a movement
to oust the college's administrators, or even to exert pressure on
officials to investigate them.

Marion Brady



Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>