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Sara Ackerman Emails: My response to Dean Kalb

From: Sara E Ackerman <sea271@nyu.edu> Date: January 4, 2012 3:43:25 AM EST To: "Undergraduate students minoring, majoring or interested in SCA" <fas-sca-ugstudents@lists.nyu.edu> Cc: "Undergraduate students minoring, majoring or interested in SCA" <fas-sca-ugstudents@lists.nyu.edu> Subject: My response to Dean Kalb--and now I'll stop emailing all of you---thanks so much, and I apologize for the nuisance--Reply-To: Sara E Ackerman <sea271@nyu.edu> Dear Dean Kalb, I am actually already in the process of pursuing the grievance procedure, although I appreciate your suggestion that I do this only now, after I endured a grueling 3 months of Professor Zaloom's 'misconduct', and you willingly and knowingly allowed for it to continue, despite the fact that it affected my academic work in other classes, caused undue stress to me, my family, and my roommate, and it has now impinged on my Winter Break vacation. Another friend, after hearing about what I have endured, suggested that I pursue the grievance procedure, so I have been working on it all weekend. It is very unclear to me why no one from NYU's faculty, administration, or your own office, alerted me to this process until today, the day before I 'threatened' (in your words), to go public, despite the fact that I have been in touch with you regarding this very contentious situation for about 2-3 months. First of all, allow me to challenge your usage of the term ' clear threat' in your latest email---I am not threatening NYU, and I explicitly wrote this in my previous emails to you. I stated, in no uncertain terms, that I am not threatening the university, and I don't recall saying that the university must meet my particular 'demands' (though I have many, this is true), but rather, that unless something is done regarding Professor Zaloom's explicit miscarriages of legal, academic, and social justice (I believe I used this term exactly, but feel free to correct me), I will go public. I am merely telling you what has the potential to happen---the op-ed is already written, and has been approved by a friend at a very reputable newspaper. I don't know why telling the truth is now being interpreted as a threat.

Furthermore, the information contained in my latest emails should come as no surprise, as you've been hearing about them for almost 3 months, both before and after I was cleared by the mental health center, with a clean bill of mental health. You also heard about these issues before I decided to email blast the entire SCA department. Perhaps if you had helped me earlier, I would not have been compelled to do such a thing. Again though, while my emails may be a 'nuisance' they are entirely legal, and truthful, and NYU has absolutely no right to discipline me for sending them out. Please read the student handbook. With regard to your suggestions that I seek help for my 'mental health': You can speak to the NYU wellness exchange social worker who evaluated me, and cleared me immediately afterward---I have her card, and she told both myself, and my parents to call her if NYU continues to put PNGs on my head, and to send public mental health servants (Gabriella, from the 'Visiting Nurse Services of New York') to my private building. Although both these actions carried out by NYU---both the PNG and sending a nurse to my building--- were completely legal, I'd venture to say that pulling the mental health card again, at this stage, is a moot point, after I have already been cleared by NYU's own mental health exchange. Dean Kalb, for you to continue to suggest that I solicit NYU's wellness exchange services merely indicates to me that NYU realizes how serious I am about going public, and this is the last trick it has in the rabbit's hat (perhaps I am wrong, but that's irrelevant). Now, back to op-ed, that has been interpreted as a 'threat' but is actually just a legal and truthful written document, that has the potential to be published in a very famous newspaper, this coming week. In this op-ed, I describe my interactions with a variety of NYU administrators, and professors (only professors, and deans are named---no SCA administrators, and no SCA professors other than Professor Caitlin Zaloom, are named) in which I rationally, and clearly asked for assistance with the Professor Zaloom situation, right from the moment she forced my class to go to Occupy Wall Street for an assignment, despite the fact that I felt my safety would be compromised, and told Professor Zaloom this, in a very clear and coherent way. I explain the way I begged Professor Zaloom, via email, private office hours, and inperson requests in class (with my peers as my witnesses), to not make me go, and to allow me to do a different, safer assignment. This went on for weeks before I met with you Dean Kalb.

I don't want to bore you with the details of your own parts within the op-ed, as you are already quite familiar with them (since they describe exactly what happened, with no embellishments), but let me remind you that when I first approached you and Riley Gallagher, and I told you that I had already physically gone to Occupy Wall Street (again, this was by force, since Professor Zaloom threatened that I could take an F if I refused to do the assignment, and that she would not give me an alternative, no matter what), you told me to just 'write the paper anyway, since I had already gone'. Really? I should write the paper anyway? Even though you knew that my safety was unnecessarily compromised, and that I was unjustly forced to go to a movement that runs entirely against my core values, and principles? Even though a woman had already been raped at OWS, and I mentioned this to you? Even though there was explicitly dangerous drug use at the site? Even though mentally ill people, and criminals had started to take up residence in Zucotti park? I mentioned all of this to you, and you did nothing substantial to help me. What does this sound like to you Dean Kalb? What would you think if you read an op-ed like the one I am describing is already written and ready to be published, with your name in it? Please keep in mind that I am not threatening you, just telling---just painting a picture. In addition to all of this, I describe your deliberate refusal to assist me when Professor Zaloom openly and outwardly discriminated against me. I also discuss, in great detail, the 4 separate occasions that I met with you throughout the semester---the most notable of which, was of course, the last one, when I met with you, and my mother (with Riley Gallagher as a witness), in which you denied knowing the full details, and severity of Professor Zaloom's discrimination, and reckless behavior both within and outside of the classroom, despite the fact that I sent you many emails in which information regarding what Professor Zaloom had been doing for weeks was contained. Furthermore, I told you, in no uncertain terms, that Professor Zaloom was mistreating me, humiliating me, impinging on my personal time by not allowing me to ask questions during class, and in turn, forcing me to study for more time outside of class, and to solicit help from my peers. I also told you about how I tried to meet with Professor Zaloom during her office hours (I have several emails that Professor Zaloom simply did not respond to---they are sitting right next to me, printed out), as well as the fact that I met with the head of the

department, Mary-Louise Pratt, and again, no one with any real power, and no one in a position above Professor Zaloom's tried to help me. I won't continue paraphrasing the completely legal, and truthful op-ed, as I don't want to spoil the surprise if it does indeed get printed tomorrow, but let me just point out one last apparent issue in your email: "Sara, you are entitled to express your disagreement with the manner in which a faculty member conducted a class and/or to engage in a discourse about the issues being considered in a course, provided that it is done in a respectful and civil manner. However, the standards of conduct and civility that govern interactions among members of the University community may have been violated by the hostile and threatening statements in your emails. I strongly urge you to refrain from any further communications of this nature, which could put you at risk of University disciplinary action." In what world would the university have any right to discipline me? I have evidence that the university did not protect me when a professor indirectly threatened my safety. I have further evidence that the university was aware of this, did nothing, and then lied about it to my own parents (again, Riley Gallagher has witnessed all of this, and she would be legally obligated to testify about what she saw, regardless of the fact that she is employed by NYU, should this go to court) about it. I have evidence that the university harassed me with threats about the soundness of my mental health, when all I did was voice my opinion, and stand up for my beliefs (again, in a legal way, despite Zaloom's illegal behavior). I have more to say--much more---but I think you get the picture. Do not ever threaten me again with disciplinary action regarding this situation, or I will send the op-ed out right now. Thanks. All the best, Sara Ackerman