Robinson Letter to Joel Michaelson, May 16, 2009

16 May 2009

Professor Joel Michaelson
Chair, Academic Senate
University of California-Santa Barbara

Dear Professor Michaelson,

I wrote you on April 15 and in the month that has transpired have yet to receive a reply.  I would like you, if for no other reason than as a matter of common courtesy, to reply to that letter, as well as to the present one.

It is my understanding that you have decided to press ahead with the formation of an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate charges that I have violated the Faculty Code of Conduct.  Yet neither you nor anyone else in the Academic Senate over which you preside has notified me as to whether this Committee has now been formed, nor when you expect to form this committee if in fact you have not already done so, nor when you expect to  convene this Committee.  The last notice I received from the Academic Senate was a summary of allegations against me on April 3 from Professor
Martin Scharlemann.  Professor Scharlemann since his first contact with me on February 12 to date has not responded to my questions and concerns other to to supply a charges sheet on April 3 after I insisted that he do so.

Paul Desruisseaux, the UCSB spokesperson, is quoted in the May 7-14 issue of The Santa Barbara Independent (pp. 17) as saying that the Ad Hoc  Committee has been formed.  Is this true that the Committee has now been formed?  If so, why have you not informed me?

As I pointed out in my April 15 letter to you and to which you did not respond, you are aware of all the details surrounding these charges.  You
are aware that I view these charges to be a patent, ominous, and politicized violation of academic freedom.  The charges themselves are evidently farcical, as I have documented in the correspondence that has transpired, c.c.’s of which you have received.  The process by which they have been handled involves egregious abuses of University procedures.  I am under harassment.  My teaching has been obstructed.  I have been drawn away
from my research, service and mentoring responsibilities.  Beyond the individual harm to me the principle and practice of academic freedom are  under attack.

And it has now become clear from what has been made public that the university has been in contact on this matter with outside groups who have  a political and ideological agenda to prosecute me.

Given the gravity of this matter – that is, that I am facing a disciplinary procedure that could result in sanctions which may include my dismissal  from the university, that these procedures have attracted national and international attention, that the university has come under close scrutiny as a violator of academic freedom, and that the integrity of the University of California has already been severely compromised – your silence is indeed deafening and beyond my comprehension.

I await a reply.


William I. Robinson
Professor of Sociology
Global and International Studies
Latin American and Iberian Studies
University of California-Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106

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