The more exemplified meaning of character is seen at njitbs.wordpress.com. The abstractions introduced here are given story-line substance near the end of the posting, and even more substance in a later blog. A complete data set of the context, charges, depositions, testimony, exhibits, and findings of judges is seen at njitbs.com and referenced on Hawk’s WD My Cloud Public Site. The access points are found on njitbs.com. Issues of character are central to what we think of others, as well as who we think we are. The concept of character is used explicitly or implicitly throughout. To introduce the importance of character some introductory “stories” might be helpful. They point to thoughts about my character but from the characterizations they use we gain insights into their character as well. Some characterizations appear as deeply felt and meant while others seem to causally used to attain other ends, mostly associated with being paid to cast a dark light on my character regardless of what is seen. This last group primarily consist of those attempting to practice negotiation with the idea of laws they didn’t write and perhaps never understood, and seemingly do not need to understand relative to saying what best achieves Faustian ends.
A deeply felt characterization arise in a final report on my character as Dean of a Business School where I was removed by the president of that university January, 2008 from complaints by a female friend of the president about my treatment of she as a business school faculty member. She and the president have since left that university. In early March, 2008, after I had been asked to resign as dean by the president in late January, 2008, this woman brought eight legal charges against my character. Prior to stepping down, being fired, I was told by the provost that the call for my stepping down came from a meeting between this woman and three other professors that I had removed from teaching in a special program where they received extra compensation above their wages. The woman, whose name doesn’t matter here, formalize eight charges against me relative to her inner most feelings on my character. This was a teacher removed from teaching executive students due to their comments that “she is not bad unless she forgets to take her meds, then she is crazy.” Her charges against me were ostensibly softened by a legal counsel she hired, who was later paid for on the record by the university.
An example charge was “She was marginalized in a meeting with executives of (a) Foundation in the Summer 2007. She was seeking to have her research funded by the Foundation. During the meeting it appeared that a decision had already been made to fine (a person), a younger female associate professor.” The facts were that it was a luncheon with the Foundation President and the woman they had tentatively agreed to give the $2 million chair in their name and eight members of the university community also attended. The woman charging my character also showed up and presented her resume to the Foundation President. On the way from the lunch to a private room where he and his associate were to interview the candidate he was seen to walk by a trash can and dropped the other woman’s resume into it. The charging woman was upset by this.
Between March 3 and September 11, 2008 a university wide investigation was carried out by the VP of human resources of the university by members of his staff. On the final page of a nine page report the VP states? “While the totality of the incidents described, may have been unpleasant, it cannot be concluded that such behavior was “severe and pervasive” based on gender or age. Rather, such behavior is reflective of Hawk’s personality, his personal management style, and his assessment of whether he believed you were competent.” In his presentation of the report to me the VP went on to point out that to not tolerate “incompetence” might, as he stated in his written report, “….well call for an assessment of (Hawk’s) fitness for an administrative appointment.” The investigation concluded that none of the charges could be substantiated but further review and attention be give to me.
An example of the other approach to characterizing character can be seen in the operations of New Jersey’s Chair of the State Ethics Commission. Since was was a lawyer it is not clear how she could hold such a position dealing with ethics with any competence but that is not just a question for New Jersey. The university had presented her with three investigative reports that were later all to be found heavily prejudiced by a group of faculty and administrators up with me me, and were seen in a public hearing to be mostly wrong. Without ever contacting me or notifying me of a Commission secret meeting I was found guilty of the secret university charges. When she was later asked to explain in a hearing how she could do this she expounded on how this was allowed in cases where the charges were especially egregious. While showing considerable skepticism of such logic the judge went on to allow her to expand on such thinking. While being paid what was said to be ” a very high fee” she testified in a hearing against me how egregious the charges I was obviously guilty of were. I and a lawyer noted that she went on to expand on her thinking to say even if she had never met me that these were the most serious of charges, and if I was not punished it would mark the end of western civilization. I commented that I thought it ended a long time ago. Later is was shown that almost everything she said about my character had no basis in fact but she was never questioned on how she could hold a secret, potentially unethical and certainly unusual, meeting about my ethics. None the less she was well paid for days of testimony on characterizing my character. She is now a law school professor that seems to make sense.
You will see how the sense of character and its strength can float. This allow students, their families, their employers and the tax-payers to see what they got for what they invested in their public servants. It may allow some insight into the growing distrust in US society for its public institutions and those who lead them.
The occasional music, heard only if you tap on it, taps into the passions of musicians long concerned with the public issue of how to represent those with little voice and no choice. In contemporary society we mostly hear from larger voices who simply assume and take the many choices.
Following is Bruce Springsteen’s not so popular song “Jack of all Trades.” It is about the feelings of the 99% relative to the rules of the 1% that forever strive to structure all social items while spreading hopelessness in the 99% via conspicuous consumption, rudeness, and corruption of the public institutions they purchase. Trump and his expressions about Mexicans typifies the 1% and their lack of concern for the grounding context known as the public good, or even intelligent speaking. This is how the least educated come to be the most rabid followers of Trump like ideologues.
Bruce seems to understand all of the above.
Many lawyers, especially acting as Congressional Representatives or impartial judges, can be seen at the center of the anti-public corruption are bought and paid for by the 1%. They use the public assets for the good of those buying them, or their own good, and not the public good they always leave as ambiguously clear. The tri-part system of the US Constitution and its call for conflict, its founding desire to only include white men, its use of English case method without English culture, and its acceptance of having stolen the lands of America.
The story-line stands at the intersection of two New Jersey state public institutions. Set up and financed by the general fund and participant revenues, the institutions are intended to serve and protect the New Jersey public interests. Since the public interest is or can become ever more ambiguous with time, via diversity of viewpoints and values, it is relatively easy for private interests to commandeer such for their very private interests, even to oppose the public interests.
With time, lack of transparency and public neglect, institutions can be taken over by focused private interests. Without effective oversight institutions are taken over by private interests for their own purposes. They can even be turned against the public interest.
Institutions need transparency to have effective oversight.
The essential question herein, within the blog, and on the NJITBS website, is with how well these NJ Institutions serve the public that sponsors them? The danger is that with time individuals, often leaders, find ways to redirect institutions’ to serve narrower private interests. This can be seen in expanding university faculty and administration in the service of status quo and shun improvement. This comes to include lawyers that are not “required” to be ethical nor have any sense of a good character as long as they operate within their own rules, while being highly paid to “protect” business as usual and denigrate agents of change.
The problem is seen in where participants are allowed to turn a projected two week-long hearing into an 18 month spectacle that excluded witnesses and banned evidence later seen to be essential to the truth of what happened. Perhaps this relates to the legal representatives hired to wort our the case for NJIT were given no timetable but were allowed infinite work at $500/hour. Experts steeped in conflicts of interests were allows much control over the specifics of the case.
The Character of Kathleen Wiechnik, Professor of Law, Seaton Hall University
Clearly not a bad person but perhaps overtly frustrated by not having been able to attend a particularly prestigious law school nor now teaching at one with any particular note. have gone to and now teaching at a now particularly good school. In between she held interesting titles for responsibilities she was apparently not up to handling as a public servant. With a better preparation she might well have done a good job, even by non-New Jersey standards as to ethics and its articulation.
An example is where the Chairperson of New Jersey Ethics Commission could hold a secret meeting to find a defendant guilty, where none of this was known by the defendant who was never notified nor questioned, except by an ethics officer that refused in the interview to share her evidence during and after the interview.
This was not surprising as she had no basic knowledge of the law and the judicial cases surrounding the misinterpreted law she was enforcing. Even less surprising is how her conclusions and charges came via she having no college degree, no special training, nor any demonstrated competence in ethics or investigations. This helps to explain how the final bill for the Hearing can be in the neighborhood of $5 million. This money, never entered in a particular account by the Trustees, including New Jersey’s Governor, came directly from student tuition and tax payer monies, was invested in a single case of a single individual.
That agent was seen to set up to change the process for hiring by setting up a democratic search committee, instead of simply hiring someone. He was then charged with doing to so to hide an as yet undisclosed, perhaps even unfounded, private self-interest that was not the public interest. To firm of the vacuous charge he was also charged manufacturing evidence that would mysteriously help him where proof of its fabrication could be seen from there being no erasures or changes on original while only ever having seen a xerox copy. With time the same lawyers can modify the laws used to expand their interpretation while excusing lawyers from the same laws as its hard to operate under such rules.
The two are New Jersey’s 1) Higher Education Systems and 2) Lower Judicial Systems. In 1994 Christi Todd Whitman set the first free from public oversight while continuing to send the public monies that normally require oversight. One takes money from the public domain and distributes it liberally in the other domain. What is the benefit therein derived?
As is to be expected societal institutions requires funding, maintenance, occasional change, and eventual rehabilitation or even replacement. The bias herein is for how to accomplish occasional improvements so catastrophic replacement is not needed. Those interested in the field can look into institution building, often called social architecture. Therein you will find materials to guide maintenance, remodeling and management, but not so much on abandonment. There is additional material on building missing institutions in society where the most interesting ones are built on the refuse of unused or, harmful and previously abandoned, institutions. In the mentality of the US body politic the US Congress is just now a candidate for abandonment. Perhaps the best way to improve is to raise the issue of how each is funded and ask to see what benefits are derived from what the public invests? Perhaps we start with who do these two institutions serve, is it the public, the public good, or do they work for the interests of a few lawyers and a few educators that have taken control over them.
SOCIAL ARCHITECTURE, A MISSING INSTITUTION
Some sense of oversight of New Jersey Public Universities seems in order to replace what was undone by the Whitman Administration in 1994. Its prime purpose is to provide greater transparency of what is decided and then managed, as well as who decides and manages it. It would look into the obvious contradictions of there being a basis for corruption in leadership with no sense of to where to lead, except be better at doing the wrong things, then in teachers that are doubly protected from the results of their actions or inaction’s by having both tenure and union protections in NJ. Probably some weight should be giving to no lawyers being qualified to be on this commission due to have already excused themselves from ethics rules. This much like the story line
Discussion is emerging in politics of creating a missing institution as oversight of traditional governance. It is concerned with rebuilding a more perfect judicial system. It questions the role of lawyers in government and in litigation. Its calls for ethics to enter both activities and manage the consequences of badly written, often corruptly directed laws while helping badly prepared lawyers or burnt out lawyers who have trouble meeting schedules and then lack time for ethical considerations. The role of lawyers would therein be changed. The role of lawyers in writing legislation may need to be reduced in favor of those whose language and attitude can better represent the values of the majority of citizens. Examples of this can be seen in other countries, such as those in Scandinavia where the judicial creed is: “The first step in getting citizens to obey the law is to write it so they can understand it. Lawyers are demonstrably incompetent at this.” (Hawk, 1977)
This may all be relevant since the US has ten times the number of lawyers per capita compared to our trading partners. There is much evidence that the majority of their activities are harmful to the well being of the economy and sense of justice. One argument against reducing the need for lawyers is to point out how effective the current system is in that the US has more of its citizens locked up than any other country in the world, including China. Those with this attitude proudly conclude that: “We must be doing something right.” This is perhaps the Nancy Reagan attitude to crime and punishment: “Just say no, then lock em up and throw away the key.”
We might want to revisit 18th Century concerns about lawyers packing the Supreme Court. There is an argument that the court cannot be worse if there are only non-lawyers on the Supreme Court. In fact, having no law school graduates might allow it to adopt a more citizen based attitude towards laws and legal interpretations. This might limit the widespread use of incoherent legalese to cover up not knowing what to say or how to say it, or not having had sufficient time to reflect on what ought to be said or thought.
The situation in public universities is similar. Prior objectives of providing a forum for student learning and negotiating with if not finding the truth have become overshadowed. College sports, faculty unions and second rate leaders pretending to be business CEOs have provided an agenda that continually raises tuition above any rate of inflation and promote faculty that do their utmost to avoid having to teach, or teach as if it was not the reason they were there. The result are unprepared graduates with stifling tuition borrowings that keeps them from contribution to society improvement.
Both institutions exhibit problems in their character and the characters they attract. The issue of character inside and outside the current judicial and educational systems provide a foundation for discussions about what is and what ought to be. The challenges of climate change will bring human character to center stage. Mass migration, wide-spread arguments over land, food and materials will require much more robust and fair judicial and educational systems then we currently have.
Just now the current determinant of success in court proceedings seems to be the image of power measured by a litigant’s access to money, including access to tax paper’s money. Truth can still emerge but the route to it is often not obvious. It should be more obvious. Success in the university system is measured by teachers who do their utmost to avoid teaching in order to write tier one papers that no one one reads. Promotion and tenure in universities is granted to those who totally avoid service, make derogatory comments about those who want to teach and their students, and spend their time writing papers where their colleagues at other universities evaluate them.
Symbiotic Negatives of Justice Linked to Education
The blog referenced at the beginning is about the process of a university, NJIT, using the judicial process to bring David Hawk to justice relative to the character of Hawk’s actions as a dean. More specifically, was he ethical, relative to conflicting interests in serving the public of New Jersey? Many millions of public dollars and many years of many people’s public service came to be invested in the process of answering this question. During these years Professor Hawk was banned from campus as he was said to have planned a “take over” of the university for his purposes. Regardless of this silliness he as a seemingly successful teaching (per ratings on “rate-my-professor.com” and his having won most student and alumni sponsored teaching awards in the university) was kept from the classroom. Per his rosters he was about ten thousand students in his courses at NJIT while teaching there. He was also banned from an administration tole in the business school, a role that a judge reviewing his management practices commented was a pathway to the 21th Century.
This process began with four professors going to the president to complain about Hawk after he removed them from teaching in an EMBA program where they each received an extra ten thousand dollars compensation. They were removed based on student comments and the role of student comments in re-accreditation. One of the faculty members when on to actually charge Hawk with more serious crimes than only having removed her from teaching advanced students. An internal report concluded six months later that of the 8 serious charges he was faced with there was no evidence to support any of the charges. The report did whimsically comment that Hawk needed to face further investigation and that perhaps Hawk ought not to have have been in administration because he could not tolerate incompetence.
Perhaps this university is due for rehabilitation. Student tuition was raised almost the same amount as the process against Hawk cost. This involved expenditure of millions in direct and indirect costs. The result of this as it emerged in a final hearing that had been scheduled for two weeks but taking eighteen months was 25 charges were reduced to one. Even it was based on speculation and later shown to not be true, based on the evidence provided. There was simply no supporting evidence for even this one charge. None the less the university board of trustees took that charge an added two more seemingly to justify the years and millions invested. The charge was that he had set up then manipulated a search committee to hire a friend of his.
It was the first time a search committee had been used in the school, according to Hawk, in order to bring more democracy into school management. Hawk admitted that the person hired, one of 36 where the judge also evaluated her as the best candidate, was indeed a friend. She was recommended by the search committee. He defined friend as someone he trusted.
Thus, we are left with an interesting questions. Is it more in the public interest to hire those you do not trust? Perhaps more important is how to prove their case the university administration destroyed thousands of pages of material showing the actual search and related process, and the nature of the friendship between Hawk and the person hired. The interim dean, appointed by the university president, who trashed all the evidence of the hiring also destroyed the hard drive of a central school computer so records maintained for two decades were also lost. In addition two computers used by Hawk at the time and in offices where only administration had access were damaged in Hawk’s absence.
As a brief introduction to the idea that characters involved in the case used interesting characteristics to characterize David Hawk’s character. A few are offered in this list:
- One of two prosecutors hired by NJIT to prosecute the case against Hawk’s ethics was the first faculty member Hawk fired after becoming Dean as that lawyer was not qualified to teach business law per accreditation requirements.
- The University General Counsel hired an outside law firm to prosecute the case against Hawk as well as the judge that would evaluate Hawk’s degree of guilt for eventual punishment. All three were on a first name basis and all were paid $500/hour. The funds were taken from student tuition and tax payer money.
- The judge hired to manage the hearing was a retired chair of the appeals court that was to hear the case later to see if it was done in a legitimate manner.
- According to testimony the key prosecution witness had been threatened by university lawyers and ended up giving four different versions of what had happened. The judge found him to be credible in his final report, and the one version given consistently by Hawk to not be credible.
- Hawk was accused of manufacturing evidence to support his testimony, where the handwritten notes were said by the judge to have been produced long after the search process where Hawk claimed he made the notes. An affidavit of a witness verifying this to not be so was not allowed into the record. A later letter from a member of the search committee verifying Hawk’s account was not reviewed by the Appeals Court thus their former Chair’s logic was allowed to stand.
When management fails look here.
LIFE: Delightful, yet sometimes sad, we occupy what we call the human condition. Sensing it to be only a temporary location, life offers few clues as to from we come, to where we go, or even if we are. When aspects of life seem challenging we are advised, by those who can’t know, “It’s better than the alternative.”
DELUSIONS AS LIFE: We often believe we are free to think, although within teleological limits, but as social beings we mostly stumble over and around the furniture placed in our minds by others. Willed by others, including those closest to us, these furnishings pose dichotomies (that are generally false), contradictions (which are mostly uninteresting) and dilemmas (whose resolution exceeds our resources). To compensate for our shortcomings in managing all this, we act out as individuals just like everyone else, and then propose: “Well, at least we still have our freedom.” While mostly a vacuous construct, we appear to appreciate it most while supporting processes that enslave others. When all else fails, we attempt expressions, but mostly in small, insignificant ways. From this we ignore what we have done, then become proudly humble of what we could have carried out.
FIXED SANCTUARIES: Beneath all this, we assume ourselves to be less fixed, and more fluid, then others yet, acting in concert with others we readily accept fixing limits to our thoughts and movement. As such, our existence is structured by Catch-22s and ethical double binds of “damned if we do, damned if we don’t.” On the occasions when we actually think about it, we find existence generally strange, and thus respond in a usual human way by busily limiting our time to think.
HOPE, 2000: Just now we talk up the possibilities in social media being on the verge of inventing a new era for humans to link to higher forms of societal enlightenment. Then, while logged in to our two-dimensional screens, we encounter the same jealousy laden, self-fulfilling limitations and sexual dilemmas from which we thought we were rising above. In frustration we then return to the imaginary dreams in following the clearly hollow promises of becoming rich and famous in this life, or contemplating the doorways of death. In both worlds we seek access to groups of vestal virgins or comfort from the man with holes in his hands. Our summary judgment then gets reduced to choice between following the cheap thrills of the Faustian short term or our ill-conceived longer term immortality projects that can be even more Faustian.
EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING: We argue over most things, even whether we should be arguing. Underlying this are issues of the relative importance of: voice, choice or wisdom, while having little of each. When we reflect about it, we note that those with voice mostly use it to irritate those who still listen. Those with choice mostly invest it in the immediately meaningless of the day, while busily constructing immortality projects, that are to be paid for by others. Wisdom, when we have glimpses of it, seems to get banished from our life support systems. We almost always prefer smart to wise, and while being smart we use the technology that could allow us to expand beyond ourselves to reduce and enslave others. Until someone discovers a way to vaporize a major city, via the technology that was to free us from the slavery of need, we may not quite understand the intuitive gaps in what we have come to call sensing, feeling and thinking.
WISDOM: Individuals laden with wisdom are hard to define and even harder to find. As such we confine what they offer to the land of uncertainty, or simply banish them to the universe of ambiguity. Our collective challenge seems to be how to get beyond this avoidance of a need for wisdom. Knowledge-based enlightenment can be helpful, in that it is certainly better than a data driven death, but wisdom is not more knowledge. Even those aware of the difference seem to prefer aligning their activities with the certainties of facts while shunning the uncertainty of ideas. Just now the human project seems to prefer data mining to idea refining. Presumably, this can be changed, but how?
DATA MINING IN PLATO’S CAVE: Herein, the value of data driven reality is given less importance. The questions being raised are more fundamental and fundamentally different. They arise from differences that can make a difference. They look to the contents and intents of three worlds: 1) the rational, 2) the irrational, and 3) the non-rational.
We humans seem to prefer the limits of the first two, while avoiding to the potentials of the third. One and two address the essence of how we describe what humans are and do. In this humans retain the certainties of 17th Century versions of enlightenment, but ignore all that was known before.
HOPE IN THE NON-RATIONAL: The third, the world of the non-rational, offers resources for a new kind of human project. It offers a way out from current self-imposed human conditions. While there is ambiguity about what lies on the other side of the door, it may soon be our only choice.
I would propose that we humans emphasize the power of the rational, while ignoring the far greater potential of the non-rational. We try to not notice the limits of unaided rationality; unaided by all the other ways of knowing. We thus beget and soon encounter the dangers of the irrational, then turn irrational ourselves. The emphasis on demands for rationality, in what we expect others say and do, (an obvious means to control them) seems to excite greater irrationality in them than rationality. This, in turn, excites our irrationality thus we emphasize our version of rationality even stronger.
Much of what we see wrong about our present situation falls into one of the following three perspectives:
- That someone is out to get us and we need to get them before they get us, or,
- Our life is simply a test track for an after-life, thus we should concentrate on finding and studying the right driver’s manual before the day of the big test comes along, or,
- As little Pogo once said in his simple-minded comic strip: “We have met the enemy, and they are us.”
GROUP A: The first camp is heavily populated and especially weary (paranoid?) about any efforts that seem like change. Members of the camp studiously avoid reflection on what they or others actually say. They great each other with the never heard question: “Hi. How are you?” They support almost any actions that promise to freeze, or reverse, societal progress. They hate what they see as “progressives.” The idea of culture is their ally. They see, and probably should see, parallels between their angst and the downfall of all societies; Rome, Myan cities, Spain, England and other constructions leading to societal abandonment. Their key philosophy is perhaps best exemplified by a comment once whispering to me:
“Remember David, even paranoid people have someone after them.”
GROUP B: The second group is relatively harmless. Its members primarily watch TV, consume large amounts of sugar, rely on their government to manage their affairs, and have strongly held beliefs needed no intellectual support for all things. Their reality is structured by wanting clear actions based on obvious convictions. Talking to them reveals that: “If you don’t worship our beliefs, which, by the way, we don’t know very well, then you must be against us; i.e., you are the enemy.”
GROUP C: Members of the third group are the skeptical of reality, especially the versions seen by Groups A and B. They tend to be pains in the ass. They demand coherent responses to underlying questions. They see how their own words and actions have contributed to society’s problems, and are not pleased with it. They are tough to manage via talk of rationality, reason and rationales. It’s hard work being around these people. They keep attempting to take responsibility for what they have done and do, and want you to do the same.
Rationality provides a tidy, predictable world. It appreciates control systems. It offers and supports logical frameworks for structuring chaotic reality. The control it allows works as long it is kept within a closed system. Others, neighbors, foreigners, etc., tend to open up the system and destroy the rationality. Great writers, such as Ambrose Bierce in 1888, was adept at pointing to the weaknesses of all such approaches to closed systems and logic. The strength of rationality is that it is easy to understand. The weakness of it is that to be logical it offers understanding that excludes the problem and the solution.
The non-rational is a messy and chaotic place. It contains religion, politics, aesthetics, poetics and all other forms of confusion that defy rational understanding, control and management. Unfortunately, for those who aspire to control, the non-rational makes their purpose unattainable. In response, control aspirants move to trivialize chaotic. This, in turn, seems only to energize the troubles with the limits of rationality. These difficulties grow to become the irrational.
The contents of this site are dedicated to those who would want to experiment with new ways to see and to manage our realities. This requires suspending our too great faith in methods of control and means of management.
And so it ends: Relationship Alignment: reducing friction, realizing value.