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Fired Administrator Pressured to File False Sexual Harassment Charge


March 24, 2015
by Suada Kolovic
A former administrator at Chicago State University has accused its president and other officials of firing her because she refused to file a false sexual harassment charge against an outspoken faculty member critical of the university's leadership.

A former administrator at Chicago State University has accused its president and other officials of firing her because she refused to file a false sexual harassment charge against an outspoken faculty member critical of the university's leadership.

According to former Chicago State interim vice president for enrollment and student affairs LaShondra Peebles, administrators that included CSU president Wayne D. Watson pressured her to file a sexual harassment charge against associate professor of political science Phillip A. Beverly in hopes of terminating him and shutting down his blog, CSU Faculty Voice. (Contributors routinely published criticism of Watson and other top officials at Chicago State.) Peebles claims administrator pressured her at several meeting to file the false charge and accused her of "not being a 'team player'" when she refused. She was fired on June 2, 2014 but on February 18, 2015, she sued Watson and the Chicago State Board of Trustees for wrongful termination under Illinois’s State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, alleging in part that she was fired for refusing to file the false sexual harassment complaint against Beverly. That same month, Watson announced that he would retire next year when his contract expires.

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Veronica S.  on  4/15/2015 10:09:03 AM commented:

This kind of thing is terrible. If Professor Beverly was posting inappropriate things on his blog, they should have gone directly to him, and talked to him about it. Filing false sexual harassment charges just because you don't approve of someone is absolutely ridiculous. Things like this are parts of why sexual harassment and assault charges aren't taken seriously enough of the time. I'm glad that administrator is leaving. We don't need people like him abusing his authority.

Maya W.  on  3/31/2015 10:59:12 AM commented:

In all honestly she should file harassment charges on the administrators for trying to force her to file false charges. If Beverly needed to be terminated, they could have found a reason. Of course he probably hasn't done anything "wrong" or worthy of being fired, so the admen decided to pressure Peebles into embarrassing him with false harassment charges in the hopes that he would just get tired of the crap and leave. I'm surprised people who think like that are capable of becoming administrators to a college. I figured you'd have to be an adult to get a job like that, or at the very least act like one.

Elizabeth H  on  3/28/2015 5:14:49 PM commented:

The first amendment gives us freedom of speech. So the university has no right to pressure anyone into doing or anything saying anything they don't want to. LaShondra Peebles had every right to do what she did. The university was being unconstitutional. College should be a place were you feel safe and your open to talk and share ideas about anything. It shouldn't be a place were you are pressured to do something and fired cause you don't.

Kody K.  on  3/25/2015 11:09:11 PM commented:

1919 all over again. So we have another scenario in which universities are putting pressure on faculty to deter speaking freely. We live in a country where the first amendment protects free speech, regardless if people like what you're saying or not. A university should not be allowed to pressure and find excuses to fire a faculty member because of him speaking out. And collateral should definitely not be tolerated for objecting to this type of behavior. As a student, we should be able to speak freely to exchange ideas, otherwise there is no point for college. Because that's what an education and college should be for, for open discussion and the exchange of ideas.

goodenberger_ca@julesburg.org  on  3/25/2015 10:31:16 AM commented:

i feel that she wouldnt need to be fired over something stupid. She didnt need to fired over something that he did, he should of been the one who should of been fired. not her. i dont think its right for someone to do something they didnt do. if it was i who was the one to do this, i would of fired the guy then the girl.

pathuawen@gmail.com  on  3/25/2015 9:16:19 AM commented:

At my daughter's high school, we are dealing with the fall out when a music teacher was fired for his blog. Of course, that is "unofficial" because the administration can replace him with a long term sub while he is on indefinite "administrative leave." So they lied to the students and said he was "ill" but cut off his email connection to the school (this is not done when a teacher is ill.) Frankly, freedom of speech is too important for us to look the other way when teachers lose their jobs - and careers - because they speak out. Plus, the administrations of these schools should look at other ways of resolving differences - would they kick out a student who voiced her ideas on a blog? Congratulations to LaShondra Peebles! You are my hero! Pat

Adrian S.  on  3/25/2015 12:26:19 AM commented:

The story sound like it is truth. I mean who comes out with that type of excuse of being terminated from a job and actually tries to pursue their justice. I'm pretty sure the puzzle will be put together definitely if she was chosen to be pressured for such a wicked deed. To sit and try to falsely accuse someone of a sexual crime is far beyond wrong it's pure evil and I know places like school is constantly broadcasted for acts like this, like staff members are just set up. Theres eyes everywhere and the truth will come to the light.

Evidence  on  3/24/2015 11:53:41 PM commented:

We do not necessarily know that this story is true. It could be said that he retired to cover his story in some way to look as if he had no reason to ask her of this. But yet, he could have retired to avoid conflict if he was innocent.

Mark A.  on  3/24/2015 11:07:57 PM commented:

Academic freedom is a pseudonym for "as long as you conform and say what we want you to say" in American universities. Faculty members have been relegated to mere teachers who must not get involved in the administration and leadership of the university and those who do are seen as overstepping their boundaries and will eventually be punished by people such as Watson and others who similarly enjoy plush salaries across American colleges and universities. Most of these things called colleges and universities are nothing by sham and mockery institutions pretending to impart education - they are dens of whoredom and vice and places where racism, nepotism, and all manner of evil and falsehood preserve. When compared to what is taking place in these universities and colleges today, even Hell and Satan have more ethics and values. Disgusting dens of moral decadence led by bigots and bastards! Shame on you CSU and the rest!

Ryan G  on  3/24/2015 9:50:57 PM commented:

I wish a requirement of HR departments was an liaison who's sole purpose was to collect and document the employee's side regardless of the damage to the company. It would help to solve a lot of these issues when supervisors or department heads cause trouble and would be a true outlet for workers to get fair treatment.

Stephanie A  on  3/24/2015 8:51:49 PM commented:

It is surprising how low people would go, shows the amount of respect we now have. Now a days if you want to get something done you have to bribe someone for it to go your ways. This is not the first of these events, at least in these story the victim was able to stand up, yes may have cost her her job but now she is doing something many people would not do and making it right. CSU faculty should be ashamed of what they did and the bad reputation they just put on the school. If Watson wanted Beverly to stop his blogging he could have had a conversation with him and try to make a solution that would help both. If they did talk it over, well than that means there is more to the story that is not being told and there must be a deeper reason for Watson's actions. Not saying that what he has done is right, because it is not , it's dishonest and shows the things people are willing to do to get their way.

James A  on  3/24/2015 8:45:25 PM commented:

Disgusting!!! Absolutely disgusting! To force another employee to do something that is completely illegal. This individual should be fired immediately and should not be allowed to finish out his contract. Maybe CSU will be more cautious when hiring the next President...stay tuned!

joe k  on  3/24/2015 7:37:34 PM commented:

appears a change in leadership is in order

Cindy D.  on  3/24/2015 7:19:41 PM commented:

It's more ridiculous when you consider that this college most likely does not care when people are actually assaulted or harassed on campus because it would ruin their image and crime reports.

Steve B  on  3/24/2015 5:13:34 PM commented:

Having spent way to much of my life living in the Chicago area, I can't say I'm surprised by this accusation. This is precisely why we should repeal laws that prohibit the recording of conversations by a party to that conversation unless ALL parties are made aware. I find that these laws tend to be on the books in jurisdictions that have notoriously high rates of public corruption and serve to protect officials from the disinfectant sunlight of being held accountable for their actions. At the very least, the employer-employee relationship should not be protected from such recordings by either party.

Nathaniel C  on  3/24/2015 3:31:40 PM commented:

The situation itself is just to show that corruption exist everywhere and that ultimately, people will look out for their own self interest over others. This is assuming that the story is true. Another possibility is that the fired employee is distraught from her unemployment and is simply framing Watson for her own personal revenge story. Its a he said, she said case so the outcome of it all will rely on bias. The possibility that either situation happened is equally likely to me. I feel as though people shouldnt be so quick to judge Watson or his employees before knowing the full truth. Im not justifying this scenario by any means, somebody is undoubtedly in the wrong. I just dont believe that it's as simplistic as this article makes it out to be.

Jocelyn Z  on  3/24/2015 3:15:48 PM commented:

The CSU actions were horrible the fact that they had to pressure someone to file a false charge and accuse her for "not being a team player" this is not right. Its injustice and the CSU should be put on charges for the wrong they did upon this individual. I would of done the same as Watson and retire.

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