Quotes from Colleagues (2nd set of evaluations)
The second round of colleagues’ evaluations (1 year later) were not as positive as those of the first round, most citing confusion over my case and my withdrawal from normal collegial interaction. For example, one wrote:
“she has understandably withdrawn and/or avoids conversations with her colleagues which might be misinterpreted. . . ."
Another comment was:
“The faculty was asked to place a tremendous amount of trust in the administration with regards to the events surrounding Ruth. This trust has been given but the result was a disconnecting on Ruth’s side from the faculty.”
Still another colleague wrote:
“But if you, Henry, and Neal both agree that there are real problems, I trust your judgment. Still, the whole chain of events is rather amazing to me. I still don’t have any knowledge of any actions or characteristics that warrant what happened to her, so I’m going along with it only because on this matter I trust you guys.”
In response to this same question: “Do you give Ruth Tucker your unqualified endorsement for reappointment?,” another colleague wrote:
“No. It has been very uncomfortable and stressful dealing with the mysterious case of Prof. Tucker during this last year. The faculty has not been given much information with which to evaluate the puzzling actions that have been taken, but have been encouraged to trust that such actions were appropriate and necessary. . . .”
Still, nearly half of my colleagues who submitted evaluations gave me an “unqualified endorsement for reappointment.”
One of those colleagues wrote:
“She has a clear positive track record as a veteran teacher and so far as I have heard from students she does a very good job in the classroom. . . . Of course, she lacks a seminary education and ordination. . . . I should add that I find her remarkably literate in theology in general and in Reformed theology in particular. . . . I have participated with her in oral comprehensive exams and was struck by her ability to pick up cues and threads of conversations with students, carry them further, and make responsible theological judgments in complex situations.”
Why? Why? Why?
What troubles me most about my colleagues is their failure to collectively demand my case be opened up. It is very evident in the above quotes that they are placing tremendous trust in the administration. Why did they do so, when I was pleading that my case be opened up?
In other realms my colleagues appear to have a great sense of fairness and curiosity, and that is true in personal justice issues. I’ve been in many executive sessions of faculty meetings where students and others have been discussed. There is not a rush to judgment. There is debate and often an insistence on getting more information before making a critical decision—especially one that would affect an individual’s reputation or future profession. Indeed, I’ve never been in situations where I witnessed such a collective sense of fairness. If one faculty member appears as though he has a personal axe to grind, another calls him on it. Sometimes an individual is invited to a faculty meeting to respond to questions in an effort to help in the decision-making process.
So, why didn’t my colleagues insist on a fair an open hearing for me? Was it part of a code of silence in protecting an administration they knew was guilty of wrong-doing?