Garrison: KSU action mocked due process

June 26, 1998

    Your article, "Garrison removed from post at KSU" (Record-Courier, June 25), simply put, is an example of poor journalism. This newspaper is now in the middle of a conspiracy that includes elements on and off the KSU campus.
    The decision of the dean to remove me as chair of the Department of, Pan :African Studies is but another tragedy on the campus of KSU. We have now witnessed the demise of "due process" and American democratic values, on the one hand, and the birth of anarchy, authoritarianism and tyranny, on the other.
    This two-year story (nightmare), which culminated in the political decision of the administration to discontinue its support of me as chair of Pan African Studies, has become a very complex matter an intricate maze of lies, deception and disinformation. In order to do a story that gets at the truth of this issue, it is minimally requisite that this newspaper does its research, and at least look at the documents and other materials that have been generated by this process: 1) the original letter that called for the extraordinary review; 2) my self study with the accompanying appendices; 3) the report of the Extraordinary Review Committee; and 4) my response to this report. These are public documents, and readers of this newspaper are invited to request them from Dean Danks and draw their own conclusions.
    Had this newspaper performed this simple investigative procedure, it would have found: a) that the original charges were not in any way substantiated in the report of the Extraordinary Review Committee; b) that the Faculty Survey of the chair's performance revealed more positive indices than negative ones; c) that the letters of support for the chair, throughout the various levels of the university and those from off campus, outnumbered those against the chair, 3 to 1; and d) the report itself, despite inherent inconsistencies, triviality, pettiness and digression, does not rise in substance, to the level of a basis for the removal of the chair.
    Moreover. had this newspaper been honest in reporting the "real news" to its readers, it would have informed them that all of the tenured faculty who brought the original charges against the chair were members of the committee that evaluated the chair, and some of these accusers were part of the group that wrote the final report a serious conflict of interest, to say the least. This is a part of the "real story" that needs reporting, but these easily verifiable facts are not consonant with the decision of the dean.
    The other part of the "real story" that should be reported to the readers of this newspaper, is how the dean and others ignored all the relevant facts of this investigation, and rendered a decision that has no academic merit, and one that violates the basic and fundamental standards of "fair play." A process that began with a legitimate academic/administrative objective, namely, to investigate allegations brought against the chair of Pan African Studies by some members of the faculty, concluded finally with a totally different focus one that was political in nature namely the acquiescence of the administration to the demands of a group of individuals who have brought discredit and shame to the university. This decision by the dean is without a rational basis, is unjust and it makes a mockery of the imperatives of "due process."
    As the guardians of an open, just and democratic society, newspapers have a sacred trust that they must uphold ar all times, in that inherent in the public's right to know is the obligation placed on these entities to pursue the "real truth:' and not create a false-truth, whether by poor journalism or conscious manipulation of the facts. I repeat, "Ultimately, this matter is about decency and indecency, truth and falsehood, the ethical and the unethical."

George R. Garrison, Chair
Department of Pan African Studies
Kent State University

(Editor's Note: The Record-Courier contacted Garrison for comment prior to publication of the June 25 article. He declined comment.)