This post is also available in: Français (French)
*originally posted to the EDC listserv on Saturday, January 30, 2021 at 10:56 PM
Good evening, EDC Community.
I am writing to you all tonight as your EDC Vice-Chair, Communications in an attempt to pull together some of the threads of inquiry and conversation happening on the EDC listserv following STLHE’s listserv communication “STLHE Board Response re: News from the EDC Executive Regarding the EDC Chair” from 3:36pm Eastern on Friday January 29th, 2021 and to, as called for by you our EDC community, share more details and information.
Regarding EDC Executive and Confidentiality –
Firstly, I want to be very clear that no members of your current EDC Executive have signed the “Confidentiality Undertaking” form from STLHE’s Policy 12 that has been noted in the listserv thread as a possibility for limiting our EDC Executive’s commenting on what is happening right now. To be frank, we honestly believed that the suspension would be resolved before it got to the courts. Moreover, as an Executive, we did not want to do anything that would or could cause further harm to Carolyn by our actions as the remaining EDC Executive. To be clear, we openly refused to agree to confidentiality when the STLHE Board first met with us on Zoom to discuss the implications of the STLHE Board suspending our EDC Chair. They asked us to agree to confidentiality before starting that meeting, and we refused to agree. Confidentiality in a situation like this further oppresses the harmed party while giving all of the power to the oppressors. The STLHE Board proceeded with the meeting with us nevertheless, despite the refusal of confidentiality.
Regarding Timeline of Events Leading Up to This –
Members have been asking us to explain what is going on. We do not have the same confidentiality clause operating on our decision making. We respect the privacy of all our members. We are not confrontational people. We are volunteers (in both organizations) with far too much unanticipated time and emotional energy now being invested for our own well-beings. That said, here is the timeline of facts as we know them. The EDC membership has a right to know this.
- The EDC Executive were informed on Wednesday, November 4th, 2020 via e-mail of a suspension of a STLHE Leader, and we were informed that this suspension directly impacts the EDC. In this e-mail, STLHE invited us to a meeting about a report of incivility that was brought to the attention of the STLHE President and that resulted in the suspension of said STLHE Leader. In the body of the e-mail, we were not alerted that the EDC Chair was the STLHE Leader who had been suspended, nor that the target of the complaint received was the EDC Chair or any EDC member.
- We were called to a Zoom meeting with the STLHE Board on the evening of Monday, November 9th, 2020, at which time (after we EDC Executive refused to agree to confidentiality at the outset of the meeting) we were informed that EDC Chair, Carolyn Hoessler, had been suspended by the STLHE Board through the enactment of Policy 10. The EDC Executive asked that STLHE inform the STLHE and EDC communities of this suspension, but STLHE declined.
- (It is important to note that the details of the complaint of incivility that was brought to the attention of the STLHE President and that resulted in the suspension of Carolyn were not shared with the EDC Executive during this meeting, nor during any period that followed.)
- The evening of Tuesday, November 10th, 2020, we received an e-mail from STLHE outlining the summary of the November 9th meeting, which included a statement that Carolyn Hoessler has been suspended for a period of six months beginning on November 4th. Further to this, the remaining Executive members were informed that we were obliged to appoint an interim Chair within 15 days in order for STLHE to remain in compliance with Corporations Canada. We were urged to do this as quickly as possible because Carolyn’s name and photo were still visible online. (I, as EDC Vice-Chair, Communications, replied to inform STLHE that I would make the changes to the EDC website on November 19th.) This e-mail from STLHE also stated that in the interim, while the EDC Executive decided how to proceed, it was agreed that Dr. Erika Kustra (your EDC Past-Chair) would serve as a point of contact between the STLHE Executive and the EDC Executive.
- On Friday, November 13th, 2020 at 1:37pm Eastern, I (as EDC Vice-Chair, Communications) was cc-ed on an e-mail from the Legal Assistant of Carolyn’s retained lawyer that was addressed to the STLHE Board with the subject line “Oppressive Actions Taken Against Dr. Carolyn Hoessler” that included as a PDF attachment a letter to the STLHE Board of Directors outlining Carolyn’s legal position (that the suspension is null, void, and of no force or effect) and maintaining that Carolyn remained EDC Chair.
- On Friday, November 13th, 2020 at 3:35pm Eastern, Erika Kustra, as point of contact on behalf of the EDC Executive, e-mailed STLHE following the reception of the legal letter of November 13th, 2020, stating that we EDC Executive consider this matter closed and that upon receipt of Erika’s e-mail that STLHE can direct communication to Carolyn Hoessler as the EDC Chair.
- On Monday, November 23rd, 2020, Carolyn informed the EDC Executive via e-mail that STLHE’s lawyers contacted Carolyn’s lawyer late on Friday (November 20th, 2020) and that STLHE considered Carolyn suspended. Carolyn also told us in this e-mail that her lawyer advised her that she is still legally EDC Chair.
- On Monday, December 14th, 2020, we held the EDC Special Meeting of the Community to discuss the Proposal of Non-Participation in the STLHE EDI Task Force (“The Educational Developers Caucus officially declines participation in the STLHE EDI Task force and declares we are not represented by the current STLHE EDI Task force processes”), during which meeting Carolyn did speak and engage in the discussions, but did so prefacing that her standing as Chair is questioned by the STLHE Board.
- On Monday, December 21st, 2020, the STLHE Board voted to maintain Carolyn’s suspension.
- On Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020, to provide clarity and legal perspective on Carolyn’s continuing as EDC Chair, Carolyn e-mailed the EDC Executive and attached a letter from her lawyer addressed “To Whom It May Concern” that noted that they are challenging the purported suspension by applying to the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan for an oppression remedy. (The EDC listserv does not allow attachments, I apologize, but we will share this letter with any EDC Community member who requests it.)
- On Tuesday, December 29th, 2020, I (as EDC Vice-Chair, Communications) forwarded to Carolyn’s lawyer the e-mail communications from the initial STLHE e-mail from November 4th up to Erika’s November 13th e-mail (6 e-mails forwarded in total) to be included in Carolyn’s signed affidavit filed in court. I, Tommy Mayberry, EDC Vice-Chair, Communications, am named in that affidavit as forwarding the e-mails.
- (It is also important to note, in the spirit of confidentiality discussions and inquiry, that all of the Court documents are a matter of public record. STLHE’s name and Carolyn’s name are on the court case, which, as you’ll see below, was heard on January 19th, 2021.)
- On Tuesday, January 19th, 2021, the first court appearance took place, the outcome of which was a ruling that Carolyn’s suspension will continue while this case remains in the courts, which will not be finally resolved until after the suspension ends on April 15, 2021.
- On Wednesday, January 27th, 2021, Mandy Frake-Mistak, your EDC Secretary, sent to the EDC listserv and the EDC membership list the “News from the EDC Executive Regarding the EDC Chair” notice. With the upcoming EDC 2021 Conference and the Annual General Meeting therein, it was important to inform the community and membership; any confidentiality about the situation would have become public at that point.
- On Friday, January 29th, 2021, the “STLHE Board Response re: News from the EDC Executive Regarding the EDC Chair” was posted to the EDC listserv and to the STLHE listserv.
These are the events, to the best of my knowledge (together with support from members of the EDC Executive), as I experienced them as EDC Vice-Chair, Communications.
I also want to make clear that we, your EDC Executive, are not afraid of the truth, nor do we have or wish to hide anything from you, our EDC Community. We welcome, and we actively and fervently invite, your specific questions. Please do e-mail me.
In addition to the scheduled EDC Annual General Meeting (February 18th, 12:00-12:45pm CST) during the EDC 2021 Conference, we will be holding an additional meeting between March 1st to 8th for our EDC Community to come together and dialogue more deeply. In advance of that, please do e-mail me.
I will close by sharing with you all that from our experiences working with Carolyn as our EDC Chair, she has been a dedicated, indefatigable leader, peer, and champion of the Educational Developers Caucus and an intensely committed upholder of EDC’s mission and values. We are fiercely proud of her, and we stand all with, by, and alongside Carolyn.
Still thinking of you all, and continuing to send love, light, and strength,
as Interim Vice-Chair, Communications, Educational Developers Caucus