Shared Story: “You can be denied tenure for this.”

That was the answer from my Director when I went to him—politely and discreetly—with overwork issues. Turns out that he didn’t care, and then he set up a system ensuring the junior men in my department had lower teaching and service loads than I did. In effect, when they complained, it was legitimate. When I did, it was a lack of collegiality. I had 21 (or) more course preps than the other junior men over a six-year span. The service imbalances were more severe.

After the Director suggested I should consider work as a sex worker if academia ever fell through (in a public meeting, with witnesses), I visited the Diversity and Equal Opportunity office to  document both the incident and the overwork. But corruption is corruption, and this school is more corrupt than most, so DEO cut a deal with the Director: if he apologized, they’d overlook the disparate work levels. Yet all it takes is one well-placed FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request to wreak havoc on a corrupt organization…

A few years later, without warning, and despite the complete support of my new Director, colleagues, P & T committees, external reviewers, and the university community at-large, I was denied tenure. No one knows exactly why. Thanks to that FOIA request, and with apologies to Frank Sinatra, “who’s got the last laugh now?”