Did Biff Follow Policy?

administration-case-file-at-davenport-faculty-hearing-jan-2015, contains the faculty termination policy (page 1). On pages 7-9 of that document, December 5, 2014, Varlo was suspended, and termination was recommended before Varlo had any opportunity to know the details of the allegations or defend himself. The cause listed was the classroom incident of November 21, 2014.
Varlo was assumed guilty at the outset, contrary to policy.

b-davenport-hearing-transcript-1

DSU Attorney Michael Carter limits complaints against Varlo to the calendar year. Using alleged history disallowed by Michael Carter (pages 8).

But . . . Biff states to theater students “The classroom assault was not an isolated incident.” April 17, 2015, #VoiceofDixie on Twitter.

On April 24, 2015, the Dixie Sun (http://www.dixiesunnews.com/news/articles/2015/04/24/davenport-charges/) reported, Williams said he fired Davenport because he had a responsibility to protect the students at DSU. Williams said he followed all policy “with exactness” and ensured Davenport was given due process.
“It’s a hard situation because it affected a student,” Williams said. “I don’t think [Davenport] had intent to hurt anyone. That said, it had been going on for a long time. I made the right decision in firing him.”

 

Jeffrey Jarvis, dean of visual and performing arts, held a meeting Dec. 9 with theater students to answer questions about Davenport’s termination. Erica Whalen, a sophomore theater major from Las Vegas, attended the meeting with Jarvis.

According to Whalen, Jarvis said Williams made his decision to suspend Davenport in “10 seconds” after reading Jarvis’ report of the incident.

Dean of Students Del Beatty heard the complaint from the student first and supports Williams in his decision to terminate Davenport.

“I can only speak for the student that came to me with the assault complaint [on Davenport], tears in her eyes,” Beatty said in a March interview. “Speaking as an advocate for all students at DSU, President Williams did make the right choice in firing Davenport. There is so much information that once it becomes public, everyone’s opinion will change.”

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What Really Happened in the Classroom?

Dean Jarvis said “At this point, I stand by my recommendation to Bill from December” and “I don’t have any way of knowing what happened on November 21st.” “I still stand by my recommendation . . . I’m just not very happy.” (pages 4 and 5)

There were 10-12 students present in the class. No students testified against Varlo at the Faculty Review hearing.

Biff Pledges to be Held Accountable For All of His Decisions

http://www.dixiesunnews.com/news/articles/2015/04/23/biff-year-review/

“Williams said the most important thing he has learned to do as president is listen to the input of students and faculty members.”

       But, “Williams said he had met with the faculty member three times before firing him, which Maxwell said was false. Williams corrected himself after a Future of Dixie forum on March 17 and said he never met with the faculty member, but administrators had.”
       He  also overturned the Faculty Review Board and fired a tenured faculty member.
He invited another faculty member to a meeting for “fact finding” and in about an hour,  the tenure-track faculty member was coerced to leave the university and abandon his pending bid for tenure (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAjF6LjP8zo).

“My door is always open,” Williams said. “I am very devoted to hearing the student voice and understanding what they need and what they want.”

       But, “JaNay Maxwell, a senior theater major from St. George, was one of the protestors and said Williams lied to them and did little to acknowledge their concerns.”

A question of pedagogy.

DSU Official statement says, “Davenport stated that this particular technique is not a typical physical restraint exercise. Student safety is a top priority at Dixie State University, and the institution will not tolerate inappropriate behavior of any kind toward its students.”
   defense-case-file-at-davenport-faculty-hearing-pt-1 and defense-case-file-at-davenport-faculty-hearing-pt-2 provide ample documents supporting that the classroom incident was a standard technique in acting classes.
    Students testified at the b-davenport-hearing-transcript-1 (pages 20, 23, 29, 30, 31, 33, 35) said students could stop the acting exercise, were kept safe, and Varlo never yelled.

Retaliation?

The official statement says, “the public should be aware that at the time of the incident, Davenport was on probation for aggressive behavior toward a fellow DSU employee.”

The b-davenport-hearing-transcript-1 (see page 3) Dean Jarvis testified there was nothing in Varlo’s files about probation.

Dean Jarvis went to HR and did not find anything in Varlo’s personnel file about probation.

Dean Jarvis said that Mark Houser produced complaints about Varlo from Mark’s personal files (see page 4, and pages 11-18 and 29-68 of administration-case-file-at-davenport-faculty-hearing-jan-2015).

Pages 5 and 6 of b-davenport-hearing-transcript-1 confirm that there was only one student complaint against Varlo, and Mark testified “I guess it wasn’t a formal complaint. We didn’t formalize it. . . Yeah, it was informal.”

When Mark Houser was in his first year at DSU, in a part-time position for Audience Development, he wrote an analysis of the Theater Program: other. In that analysis, written in the 2010-11 school year, Mark recommended that Varlo relinquish his position as Department Chair. (page 6).  Mark became the next Department Chair.

On page 4, Mark states that Varlo was known to threaten and intimidate others and was considered a bully. On page 3, Mark states that Varlo has “Founders Syndrome/Dictatorship” which “has created a void in coherence among the faculty and staff.”

             It should be noted, Dean Jarvis testified at the b-davenport-hearing-transcript-1 (page 1) there was a unanimous vote not to continue Mark Houser’s tenure.

More accusations…

“Additionally, several of the student witnesses stated that Davenport did not pull the student’s hair, which directly contradicts the audio recordings of the faculty review hearing and their own written statements.”
   See the b-davenport-hearing-transcript-1, multiple students and Varlo describe the acting technique, including hair pulling (pages 28 to 37)
    All of the written statements provided by administration against Varlo were written by Mark Houser. See other-documents-associated-with-the-davenport-case-37-39 which contains an email from Mark Houser with concerns about a rumor that a student witness he interviewed was saying Mark coerced her into making a statement. Don Reid responded that he didn’t doubt the rumor and he also attempted to interview the two student witnesses and they would not cooperate, one of them saying “I already told you my story and look what happened.”
    The President sent an email to Don Reid (see other-documents-associated-with-the-davenport-case-12-19, page 12) as he was “concerned” that a statement, that lent support to Varlo’s acting technique, from a student in the class was shared with other students in Joel Lewis’s class (see pages 13-19).

The student who wrote the statement the President was “concerned” about  testified under oath during the criminal trial.Her testimony was consistent with her written statement.

   The student witnesses for the administration did not testify at the faculty review hearing.
 Varlo never had an opportunity to question his accuser, or any witnesses for the administration.

Accusations of perjury

Official statement says, “DSU is disappointed with the defense’s witnesses openly perjuring themselves in court . . . ”

    This statement opens DSU to additional lawsuits

“such as Davenport’s family member denying his relationship to the defendant when testifying on his behalf — which was admitted on the audio recordings of the faculty review hearing”

    DSU is confused. Davenport’s uncle, Kim Christensen, a theater professional at Snow College, was mentioned in the faculty review hearing (bottom of  page 25, and page 28 of  b-davenport-hearing-transcript-1 ), but did not testify at the criminal trial, or the faculty review hearing.