Please continue to submit your questions here: EDC Community Conversation – Questions.
(Questions reverse-listed in order that they were received.)
17. Question: What was the reason given for the suspension, and was it valid? (realizing that there may be limitations to information you can provide)
Response: The EDC Executive (and by extension the EDC Community) have not been informed about the specific allegations that triggered the application of Policy 10. We have inquired and have asked for information, but the STLHE Board has cited their confidentiality policy (Policy 12). In their February 22, 2021 email to the STLHE and EDC listservs in response to questions and concerns from the EDC community, the STLHE Board indicated that they “will not air in public the civility concerns.” We have no additional insights about the substance of the civility complaint beyond what has been communicated to us to date by the STLHE Board.
It should also be noted that the suspension is currently being litigated and an initial hearing for Carolyn’s case was heard by the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan on January 19th, 2021. It is our understanding that all associated court documents are a matter of public record (including, presumably, the original civility complaint). The EDC Executive has not sought access to those records to date, but the process for doing so appears to be outlined here.
In addition to a lack of transparency about the substance of the complaint, the EDC Executive has significant concerns about the process that surrounded the suspension of the Chair and the fact that the STLHE Board had no mechanisms in place (and, in fact, actively refused) to communicate the suspension to the EDC and STLHE communities, both of whom were impacted by the action. This lack of transparency was shocking and created months of significant uncertainty, turmoil and additional work for the EDC Executive in what was already a highly unusual and difficult circumstance.
16. Question: Are the two situations related?
Response: The STLHE Board has consistently asserted that the two situations (the EDI Task Force concerns and the suspension of Carolyn Hoessler) are not connected. Because the civility concerns have never been shared beyond the STLHE Board, we have no way of confirming or challenging this assertion. Based on communication timelines, however, we believe that the formal civility complaint was submitted to the STLHE president after the EDC Selection Committee had sent a letter outlining their concerns to the STLHE President and the Chair of the STLHE EDI Task Force.
As was also noted by Brad Wuetherick in his post to the EDC listserv on January 31st, 2021, Policy 10 grants the STLHE President and Executive significant latitude in defining incivility. He wrote “… the (Civility) policy seems to put a huge amount of authority in the President, and Executive Committee/Board, as to defining what amounts to ‘incivility.’ This is especially true given one of the violations includes, ‘For any other reason that the Board in its sole and absolute discretion considers to be reasonable’, and that the Board’s decision is final and binding without any further right of appeal – and without any disclosure to (or review by) the membership about the appropriateness of the decisions made. I could imagine cases (though I would seriously hope that they would not arise) in which this policy might be used to silence what might be legitimate debate and dissent within the Board/Society.”
15. Question: Is there an assumption that the suspension was in some way retaliation for disagreements concerning the EDI situation?
Response: As an Executive, we have made an effort to treat the issue of the suspension as separate from that of the EDI situation because, without access to any information about the substance of the civility concerns, we cannot make assumptions about how these issues are or are not connected. That said, the impacts of both of these situations on the members of the EDC Selection Committee, the EDC Executive, including Chair Carolyn Hoessler, and the EDC Community at large have certainly been experienced as cumulative and compounding.Read more