James G. Wilson
204 E. Ryder Apt. B
Litchfield, IL 62056-2033
Re: No. 98-CI-4131
Dear Mr. Cesario,November 9th, 1998
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to Mr. Shurís documents of Oct. 22nd, 1998. Mr. Shurís response appears to largely contain evidence of parsing statements, "passing the buck", and irrelevant content. Furthermore, it can be seen from his "email attachments" of our February 1996 conversations (his "exhibit 3"), that he refused to hear much of the evidence that is now before you:
"It is not my intention to re-hash the events of the past few months
and if it is your desire to try to convince me of the merits of your
claims against individuals or the university, then our meeting will be
a waste of time."
Therefore, he cannot claim ignorance, miscommunication, and/or othersí misstatements as his defense, and I hope the ARDC recognizes this. I appreciate the opportunity to provide the ARDC with more supporting evidence and documents to bolster my claims against Mr. Shur.
While Mr. Shur would like to downplay the seriousness of the charges leveled against him, I would like to point out just how destructive his actions have been. My academic career has been irreparably harmed by Mr. Shurís (and his employerís) actions, my credibility to lobby members of congress (to change aspects of the ADA laws to prevent universities from engaging in such unethical conduct as NIU has been involved in with relation to my allegations) has been destroyed, and, since I have no education (and no hope to ever have an education, now), I cannot find suitable employment to repay my Federal Student Loan debt which exceeds $14,000.00 (everyone, including NIU, loses on this account). I feel that these are sufficient reasons to not let Mr. Shur make light of the allegations against him.
I have enclosed a copy of Mr. Shurís Oct. 22nd, 1998 letter since I received two copies in the documentation that was sent to me. I am resubmitting Mr. Shurís letter for the purposes of helping you keep my numbering of paragraphs straight. I have added numbers to (what I believe to be) each paragraph, so that youíll have an easier reference to follow along with this rebuttal. I hope that this is satisfactory.
In paragraph two of Mr. Shurís 10/22/98 letter, he attempts to explain away his role as an attorney for NIU. I hope the ARDC dismisses these claims since all correspondence submitted to me, the Senatorís office, and to the ARDC are printed on his official university stationary as General Counsel. Furthermore, the Senatorís office sent its original inquiry to Kathy Swanson (NIUís Exec. Dir. of State & Federal Relations)- see Exhibit 1.
Ms. Swanson then sent the inquiry to George Shur to handle NIUís legal response to my allegations against NIU. I believe that this is sufficient evidence to show that Mr. Shur was, indeed, acting as an attorney for NIU when he answered the Senatorís inquiry. Therefore, I move that this paragraph be stricken from the record.
I find paragraph three most disturbing when I compare it to the last paragraph of his May 19, 1998 letter to Mr. Bennett. In the May 19th letter, Mr. Shur claims,
"We cannot provide any additional responses unless asked to do so
by a state or federal agency having jurisdiction over Mr. Wilsonís
charges of discrimination."
Since the ARDC does not fall under that specification, I must wonder who Mr. Shur is deceiving- the Senatorís office or the ARDC? Also, his other statements in this paragraph are irrelevant to the current charges, and they should also be stricken from the record.
From paragraph four, I contest Mr. Shur having violated my FERPA rights by submitting materials from my private records at NIU without my prior written permission. He had every opportunity to contact me (or petition the ARDC to make such a request) to obtain that permission. Instead, he unilaterally chose to release my records without first exhausting all legal avenues to obtain my written consent. I see this as yet another attempt by Mr. Shur to undermine my civil rights. I hope the ARDC will view these actions in that context and instigate proper remedies.
In paragraph five, Mr. Shur does not fully acknowledge the true nature of my claims against NIU. Therefore, I move that they also be stricken from the record. It is from this paragraph on that Mr. Shur starts to redefine my allegations by parsing statements, "passing the buck", and by adding much irrelevant content.
Mr. Shur claims that I refused to meet with him. He is quite correct on that point. However, I chose not to meet with him for two reasons. First, he refused to provide me with an adequate definition of "good faith" as defined by the university. I submit that the email messages he has attached to his response are missing areas of text (and whole messages are omitted from that exchange) and are, therefore, out of context in the scope of his assertions. Second, since I was aware of the possibility that I might, again, be deceived by NIU (and Mr. Shur), I thought it would be foolish to seek his advice. Would you take the advice of someone representing persons for whom you have serious allegations? I donít believe that anyone would. Besides, a serious precedent set by the Affirmative Action office of NIU bears this out- see Exhibit F (page five- date: Nov. 21st, 1995) from my previous submissions. It concerns the Affirmative Action officeís egregious misdirection of my claims to the ADA committee- which, later claimed to have "no jurisdiction over [my] claims."
As stated above, Mr. Shur tries to parse the allegations I presented to the ARDC. He does this in paragraph six- with parts, 1 and 2. I submit that the ARDC should strike this paragraph from the record and stick to the allegations as I presented them in my September 10, 1998 letter. Paragraph seven is also irrelevant and largely unsubstantiated, so I move that it, too, be stricken from the record of the proceedings against Mr. Shur.
In paragraph eight, Mr. Shur does not absolutely deny that he may have, in fact, scribbled those words on the Cunningham letter of Jan. 11, 1996. In fact, he offers situations where he might have actually put those words there. When this revelation is added to the fact that I received my copy of that same letter (hand-delivered to me by Terry Kessler of Human Resources) on the same day as Mr. Shur, it is obvious that no one else could have added those scribblings. I find it highly unprofessional that Mr. Shur would scribble on his copies of records he holds in my file, and then off-handedly dismiss such scribblings as absent-mindedness. Since Mr. Bennett (of the Senatorís office) dismissed my claims against NIU, it is altogether possible that Mr. Shurís scribblings played some role in that decision.
As I read the rest of Mr. Shurís response to this specific allegation, it occurs to me that he is now trying to rationalize his actions. He made no such distinctions in his letter to Mr. Bennett, nor do I believe that such distinctions were in his mind at the time he submitted that documentation. As Iíve said before, Mr. Shur sat on the committee from which the Cunningham letter was written, so he was aware of the facts involved. Therefore, his rationalizations should be considered invalid, and they should be stricken from the record.
In the event that the ARDC wishes to consider Mr. Shurís rationalizations, I must answer his claim. As Mr. Shur notes, I did speak with Mr. Bowen and Dr. Gresholdt to discuss both my lack of accommodation (which was NEVER fully met as Mr. Shur erroneously claims) and the lack of professionalism on the part of NIU employees. They did nothing (that I know of) to investigate these matters (beyond Dr. Gresholdtís note to CAAR), so I donít see how Mr. Shurís prompting me to visit them again would help. I submit that it wouldnít, and Mr. Shur appears to be attempting to detract from the argument at hand.
Furthermore, in paragraph 11 (second full paragraph on page four), Mr. Shur makes note of my May 25, 1995 letter where I show more evidence of having, indeed, spoken with Dr. Gresholdt. I would urge you to reread that whole section of that letter. Mr. Shur uses this opportunity to claim that this is where I spoke to Gresholdt about accommodation requests- something that he denied happened in his May 19, 1998 letter (page two, item two (toward the bottom)) where he characterizes the May 25th letter as, "There is no request for relief or accommodation.", and he underlines this statement.
Again, I must wonder what Mr. Shur is attempting to accomplish. First, he claims that "no request" was made (May 19th), and now he says that a request was made (Oct.22nd). He also first claims that I never spoke with Gresholdt, and now I did, but it wasnít in the context he was trying to convey. Both contexts of Mr. Shurís proposal are met in that May 25th letter- request for accommodation and request for an investigation into my allegations against CAAR. This is just more evidence that Mr. Shur is not being completely honest with the ARDC, so I hope that the ARDC will dismiss his rationalizations in answer to this charge.
I will now address his next claim. He asserts that he took his misstatement about "the use of the universityís computer lab" from Dean Kitterleís letter. I fear that he is attempting to make Dean Kitterle a scapegoat here. In Mr. Shurís May 19th letter, he clearly states that he performed his own "independent investigation" into my allegations:
(see page four of Mr. Shurís May 19, 1998 letter where he speaks of his Feb. 7, 1996 letter)
"Prior to writing the letter, I undertook an independent investigation
of the facts. My conclusions were much the same as those of Dr. Kitterle."
Therefore, Mr. Shur must be held solely and wholly accountable for his statements relating to his investigation. As Iíve shown, even a quick glance at the NIU undergraduate catalog shows quite clearly that Dean Kitterleís and Mr. Shurís statements are completely false. Who would make such a broad statement about the requisites of an academic course without first checking the catalog for a description? Further, who would make such statements without first reviewing the class syllabus and lab assignments? Since it is obvious that such a skilled attorney as Mr. Shur is not so inept, I must wonder about his intentions by making such a statement.
Now we come to the matter of Mr. Shurís statements about my academic career. He, again, cites Dean Kitterleís letter as his source. However, what he conspicuously fails to mention (and attach along with his other documentation to the ARDC and the Senatorís office) is my rebuttal to nearly every aspect of Dean Kitterleís letter. Iíve attached a copy of it for your benefit as
Exhibit 2. Note: it was Ccíd directly to Mr. Shur, and hand-delivered by me, personally, to his office.
As you can see (as did Mr. Shur), these statements made by Dean Kitterle are misleading at best in regard to my academic standing of the time. I have a crate that contains my class assignments, tests, etc., and there is more than enough evidence to show that these are false statements. Add to this the fact that at least two computer experts that work for NIU have stated publicly that the "zoom function", as mentioned in the Kitterle letter, could not be found on SUN Microsystems computers at NIU, and it becomes even clearer that the Kitterle letter has no merit. Mr. Shur has had ample opportunity to review my rebuttal to Dean Kitterle, so I am baffled as to why he would cite Kitterleís letter as his defense to making misstatements to the Senatorís office. This series of misstatements, along with the evidence I have (as stated above), provides adequate assurance that Mr. Shur is/was not acting honestly when making statements and submitting documents to the ARDC and the Senatorís office.
As to Mr. Shurís assertions regarding my "academic dismissal", I can assure the ARDC that I have never received the documents that Mr. Shur refers to as evidence that my academic standing was corrected. Since I made the appropriate "change of address" with the Post Office before I moved, I know that I would have received such documents.
In fact, I contacted Mr. Shur last summer (June 1997) to ask for more documents to support the universityís decisions regarding my allegations. He refused. Therefore, I was not misleading anyone with this allegation. It should also be noted that the transcript of May 4, 1998 that Mr. Shur cites in his "Group Exhibit 1" also has no statement of "good standing." It was the inconclusive nature of this very document that created suspicion about Mr. Shurís claim.
Although I must now reconsider the charge against Mr. Shur for misstating my status as a student at NIU, I have shown that my claim was made in good faith. Mr. Shur made no attempt to alert me to this discrepancy previous to his Oct. 22nd letter. Mr. Shur has also failed to provide me with other documentation to substantiate his claims. These documents include the so-called investigations he says were done by CAAR, the Affirmative Action office, the ADA coordinator, the Geography department, etc. (he stated. in his May 19th, 1998 letter, that these offices or persons undertook such investigations).
It is also worth noting that I recently sent a FOIA (freedom of information act) request to the NIU General Counselís office- Exhibit 3. To date (nearly 60 days since they received it), I have received nothing that fits the description made by George Shur in his May 19th letter (page two, paragraph two),
"Mr. Wilson did request an accommodation in the form of software and/or
equipment and immediate action was taken to meet his requests."
Since NIU did not deny my request (see their submission of information and my rebuttal)
Exhibit 4 and Exhibit 5, respectively, I have to seriously contest Mr. Shurís claims and add this to my list of allegations against Mr. Shur.
This new allegation contests Mr. Shurís use of the phrase "immediate action." As can be seen from my documentation, my first request for accommodation occurred on June 23rd, 1994. The first instance of the universityís involvement in answering my requests came in a half-hearted attempt to make the fonts larger (still not addressing the many other aspects surrounding viewing a computer screen), and this was done on March 7, 1995- nearly nine ( 9 ) months after my request for accommodation was made. A monitor (only three inches larger than a normal one- not what I requested and certainly not acceptable) was finally added to a SUN computer during my fourth semester (of the five I was expected to attend NIU) at NIU- nearly fifteen (15) months later. Neither of these proffers qualifies as "immediate action to meet [my] needs." Since Mr. Shur is already familiar with this series of events, I must wonder why he would make such an erroneous comment to the Senatorís office unless he was trying to deceive them.
In sum, I believe that Mr. Shur has not adequately answered the charges against him. All but one of the charges against him remain in tact; the exception being the point of "academic dismissal." The charges and issues that still remain include:
1.) From the outset, it is clear that Mr. Shur chose to ignore the information that
may have prevented the present circumstances.
2.) Mr. Shurís irrelevant comments (outlined throughout this rebuttal) should be
stricken from the record.
3.) Mr. Shurís comments about "acting as an administrator" are misleading given
that it was Kathy Swanson who was the administrator sought out by the
Senatorís office. NIUís response was handled by George M. Shur because it
was of a legal nature and needed the opinions of an attorney.
4.) Mr. Shur intentionally violated my FERPA rights by unilaterally releasing my
NIU official records without my prior consent- a consent that he refused to
make any attempt to garner.
5.) Mr. Shur submitted an altered document to the Senatorís office, and there is no
evidence that anyone, save Mr. Shur, could have altered it.
6.) Mr. Shur supplied evidence consistent with the alteration of that document to
the Senatorís office; evidence that is inconsistent with the facts of the case.
7.) Mr. Shur now parses statements relating to that submission, and, despite his use
of this defense, he still contradicts himself on at least two important occasions
regarding NIUís appeals process (meeting with Gresholdt and Bowen to discuss
both accommodation and disciplinary matters).
8.) Mr. Shur makes various other statements in his Oct. 22nd, 1998 letter that
seriously conflict with previous statements made in his May 19th, 1998 letter
to the Senatorís office.
9.) Mr. Shur claimed to have done an "independent investigation" of my
allegations. Yet, he now claims that he only used the documentation of Dean
10.) A FOIA request to NIU has revealed that more statements made by Mr. Shur
to the Senatorís office are false and misleading.
Although minor, there are any number of further misstatements that have been proffered by Mr. Shur to both the ARDC and the Senatorís office. Should you need such evidence, I am more than willing to provide it to the ARDC.
From Mr. Shurís latest submission and my rebuttal, I believe that I have shown that Mr. Shur has not acted in a manner appropriate to an attorney working in the state of Illinois. He continues to misrepresent the facts of my case, he rationalizes actions he canít explain, and he succeeded in undermining my credibility with the Senatorís office with these tactics. It is for these reasons that I submitted my allegations against him to the ARDC. Now that I have rebutted much of what he claims in his most recent letter, I hope that the ARDC will act accordingly to prevent Mr. Shur from continuing in this manner. If you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would also appreciate the opportunity to review any further submissions to the ARDC by George Shur and provide a rebuttal. Thank you for your time and efforts in these matters. They are greatly appreciated.
James G. Wilson
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