“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
I believe Chancellor Dennis Shields is corrupt and has abused his position of power at UW-Platteville. I believe he is lacking in character. I believe he is a disgrace to his office.
I believe Chancellor Dennis Shields has seriously mishandled my wife’s grievances; has denied and ignored multiple requests from my wife for investigations into her allegations of serious violations of policy and law; has repeatedly chosen to do the wrong things. I believe that, rather than holding policy violators accountable for their misdeeds, he has tried to cover up corruption. I believe Chancellor Dennis Shields encouraged people to make false charges against my wife. He acted quickly on their baseless allegations to threaten my wife’s employment three times but ignored Sabina’s requests for investigations.
I think Chancellor Dennis Shields needs to go; students and employees are not safe while he is in charge.
My wife, Dr. Sabina Burton, helped a student report a sexual harassment complaint in October, 2012. Her department chair didn’t seem to approve of the fact that Sabina handled the incident properly so he began to retaliate against her.
I believe Chancellor Shields pressured then-Dean Throop, who pressured Dr. Caywood to keep things “on the departmental level.” Caywood created and disseminated a new “policy” requiring complaints to come to only him (contrary to University policy).
HR Director Jeanne Durr told Sabina “you didn’t do anything wrong.” She also told Sabina that Caywood “could totally ignore everything that you send him from now til you both retire.” She punctuated this by telling Sabina “he (Caywood) can continue to ignore you forever.” Sabina requested mediation with Caywood but he refused to mediate. Sabina filed a grievance against Dr. Caywood and it went quite well for her. Caywood admitted to handling the sexual harassment incident poorly and the grievance committee found big problems with the way things were handled by people I’m not married to. We hoped and expected that Chancellor Shields would resolve the issue but we were disappointed.
Chancellor Dennis Shields missed his deadline for delivering a decision on a grievance committee’s findings. Policy afforded him 30 days to deliver a decision but he let the deadline come and go without action. We were on pins and needles waiting for him to do something to resolve Sabina’s very hostile working conditions but he just ignored the grievance committee’s findings and left my wife hanging. My wife asked the Regents to review the matter, in accordance with policy, but they told her that the matter was still being handled on the university level even though Shields had missed his deadline to act.
Chancellor Dennis Shields didn’t seem to like the Grievance Committee findings, which was favorable for Sabina, so he ordered the grievance committee to re-do their findings without good reason. The grievance committee delivered their second findings three months after the grievance hearing without ever talking to my wife again. The new findings were biased against my wife. Chancellor Shields delivered a decision that was also biased. He publicly blamed my wife equally with the department chair but didn’t say what he thought she did wrong. Shields’ findings didn’t address, comment on or resolve my wife’s grievance demands. The facts that had come out in the hearing were ignored in the second findings and in the Chancellor’s decision. Chancellor Shields’ failure to properly address the issue created a severely hostile working environment for my wife. Caywood admitted that he acted “poorly” and the grievance committee agreed with him. So, why didn’t Shields just slap Caywood on the wrist and tell him to stop harassing Sabina? Poor Leadership? Skeletons that Caywood knew about? He could have resolved this issue so easily at that point. I don’t get it.
Caywood claimed he was “removed” from the chair position but Dean Throop insists that he “stepped down.” He must have done something the administration wanted to reward because he was given chair salary even though he was not acting as the department chair. I guess the administration felt they couldn’t afford to leave Caywood in place as chair for fear he would make things worse and that keeping him happy was more valuable than using student tuition money for students. I think this was misappropriation of funds. Chancellor Dennis Shields publicly applauded then-Dean Throop for her decision to violate policy by removing Dr. Caywood and replacing him with Dr. Mike Dalecki as interim chair. By her own admission, then-Dean Throop should have called for an election. My wife was eligible to be chair but Throop disqualified her, in violation of policy, because Sabina hadn’t been able to handle Caywood’s (her boss’s) retaliation on the departmental level. It is difficult, maybe impossible, to handle a supervisor’s retaliation without elevating the matter to a higher level but that is what Throop required of Sabina. Did I mention that my wife’s father was the chair of the chemistry department of the University of Munich, a school of 66,000 students? Did I mention that she graduated third in her class from that university? Did I mention my wife speaks German, English, Italian, French and studied Latin for 9 years? Did I mention my wife has five master’s degrees and a PhD in Criminal Justice? I think she is qualified to be chair of the CJ department at Platteville. Her inability to get her boss to stop abusing her should not disqualify her.
I think, if they had held the election, Sabina would have won and she would have been easily able to handle Caywood’s retaliation because she would have been his boss. She would have pulled the department together and she would have made the CJ department something to be proud of. I believe she could have worked with Caywood and he would have been pleasantly surprised how good a chair she would have been. I believe that there would now be a thriving Cyber-Security program at UW-Platteville and students would be learning very important skills relevant to the age in which we live. However, it seems Chancellor Shields decided to vilify Sabina instead of resolving the issue, and things got worse.
Maybe Chancellor Shields’ decisions were influenced by other pressures Sabina and I had no knowledge of at the time: Aric Dutelle seems to have solicited bribes around that time. Throop said Dr. Caywood committed fraud and that he said he “knows how to get around the law” (according to court records). A petition was circulated asking Chancellor Shields to “Make UW:Platteville a less “Rape Prone” Campus” (archived); Dr. Reza Rezazadeh B.S.M.E., LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D., S.J.D. published a letter to Ray Cross (archived) complaining that Chancellor Shields and his VC, Robert Cramer, abused their power and violated his due process rights. Maybe Shields thought Sabina was part of this somehow? Maybe Caywood lied to Shields. Maybe Throop lied to Shields. Maybe everybody but Sabina lied to Shields. But a good leader looks for the truth. Shields didn’t.
Sabina complained about the unfair manner in which the chair position change was handled but Chancellor Dennis Shields responded that he had decided “not to weigh in.” That seemed to be a darned poor leadership decision to me. Shields decided that he just wouldn’t even comment on this very serious matter. Even after a grievance committee determined that then-Dean Throop had violated policy and law nothing was done to correct the situation.
Chancellor Dennis Shields seemed to think that the problem would just go away. He seemed to think the problem was Sabina. He seemed to expect that Sabina would get a job elsewhere and just leave. He didn’t seem to realize that Sabina is quite stubborn (she is from Bavaria and they are known to be stubborn). I’m pretty stubborn too. We could not, in good conscience, move away without trying to make the school safe for students. Our daughter goes to school there. Sabina never sent one resume looking for employment elsewhere. This is our home. Our two wonderful daughters are here. They have friends here. Our eldest attends college at UW-Platteville and she has been on the Dean’s list or the Chancellor’s list every year so far. Our youngest daughter attends UW-Whitewater. Why should we leave? Other people violated policy and law, not Sabina. They should leave, not us. Chancellor Shields should leave. Sabina should stay to teach the students who deserve the best. She loves the school and the students. She wants the best for the city and people of Platteville and the university. We want the students to be safe. Students can’t be safe in a school where advocates of student rights are targeted for constructive termination, harassed, suspended and investigated for dismissal on bogus and false charges. We want to bring about change to the culture of corruption that exists at UW-Platteville. People who violate policy and law need to be punished instead of rewarded. Most employees seem to know that the administration is corrupt but they seem to all be afraid of a chainsaw administration that chops down anyone who stands against corruption.
Dr. Dalecki abused Sabina. Sabina filed an official grievance against him to address some of the issues. A grievance hearing was promised but was never scheduled. Sabina asked Chancellor Shields for help to stop the abuse but he refused to help and the abuse intensified.
Dean Throop issued a letter of direction (LOD) against my wife that was based on lies. Sabina requested a grievance hearing to address the false allegations in the LOD. Throop wrote a ridiculous letter explaining why Sabina’s due process rights should be violated. A hearing was promised but was never scheduled despite Sabina’s repeated requests for an expedited hearing. She asked Shields for help but she was never given a grievance hearing.
Seemingly illegitimate “policy” found its way onto the university website where it seemed to be part of the employee handbook but it doesn’t show up in a search of the official employee handbook. I think someone just put their own made up “policy” online without getting the proper approvals. Chancellor Shields’ agents seem to have misinterpreted the illegitimate policy to falsely authorize the grievance committee to write their own illegitimate “Grievance Hearing Procedures,” which do not conform to Wisconsin Open Meetings Law. They used these new “procedures” and illegitimate “policy” to deny my wife’s requests for a hearing with vague, confusing and illegitimate reason for violating her due process rights. The new “Grievance Hearing Procedures” were presented to the Faculty Senate as an “informational item” which did not require the Faculty Senate to even read the new “procedures.” The Faculty Senate did not discuss, evaluate, comment on or vote on the new “Grievance Hearing Procedures.” Dr. Balachandran created the “Grievance Hearing Procedures” with help from Attorney Thomas Stafford. My wife questioned the validity of the new “Grievance Hearing Procedures” but her questions were never answered. Sabina pointed this out to Chancellor Shields but he did not investigate or correct the issues of this illegitimate “policy.”
In sworn testimony then-Dean Throop stated that Deb Rice falsely accused my wife of cancelling a class and that Rice later confirmed the report. Deb Rice, also in sworn testimony, denied making this report. Dean Throop accused Sabina of cancelling class and promised discipline for it but Sabina hadn’t cancelled the class. Instead of apologizing for the false accusation then-Dean Throop filed a UWS Ch 6 complaint against Sabina two weeks later, on bogus charges. Chancellor Shields immediately initiated a rushed investigation into then-Dean Throop’s bogus allegations against Sabina. He sat on the investigation report for a year, holding it over Sabina’s head like a sword of Damocles. I think he was waiting for the right opportunity to bring it down and fire her. The university failed to provide Sabina with a copy of the report and even refused to deliver it to her when she requested it. She finally was given the report after her fourth request and asking the Assistant AG to intervene. The report was full of errors and heavily slanted against Sabina and it wasn’t signed.
I believe Chancellor Shields was thinking: he could use these documents to fire Sabina; his plan seems to have been to file formal charges against Sabina without giving her the investigation report; if Sabina failed to request a hearing within 20 days (as would be her right) he would use the documents to quietly get her terminated; if, however, Sabina did request a hearing within 20 days he would pull a few more strings. I think he had planned to get Sabina fired by arranging for Sabina to be ushered into the hearing room alone without representation; they probably wouldn’t allow me to attend; they would give her about five minutes to present her case before the hand-picked hearing committee; they would give lots of time to the prosecutor, with Sabina out of the room, to persuade the committee that She is a rogue menace to the school by presenting the biased investigation report that Sabina had never seen. But it didn’t come to that, probably because Sabina complained and finally received the investigation report. Chancellor Shields, after sitting on the hidden investigation report for a year, dismissed the complaint saying that it had merit but did not say what part of it had merit. Sabina asked him what merit the bogus charges had but he never responded. They were bogus charges without merit. I think Chancellor Shields was trying to provoke Sabina into yelling and screaming at someone or punching someone so he could use that to fire her. Sabina didn’t fall for it. She kept a cool and level head through this whole ordeal and I am so proud of her for that.
My wife filed a lawsuit against the UW System and named Dr. Caywood and Dr. Throop as defendants.
Chancellor Dennis Shields promoted then-Dean Throop to Interim Provost. I think he did this so she would be more marketable to allow her to get a job elsewhere and it worked. She accepted a new position at Frostburg State University in Maryland in Dec 2016. I feel sorry for the faculty and students of Frostburg State.
I believe Chancellor Shields rewarded Deb Rice for filing false claims against my wife. Shields quickly ordered investigations into Deb Rice’s bogus allegations against my wife but ignored and/or denied my wife’s requests for a grievance hearing into Rice’s misdeeds.
After filing a complaint against Sabina Deb Rice was given the first two weeks of the semester off for no apparent reason. The records custodian could not find any record of her request for time off or any signed approval form. I think she was given time off as reward for filing her bogus complaint against my wife.
A grievant is due a hearing within 20 days but my wife was denied hearings for illegitimate reasons. My wife’s requests to address some serious issues were delayed indefinitely and/or denied. Chancellor Shields is ultimately responsible for these violations of due process in my opinion.
My wife made accurate, truthful and documented allegations of serious legal and policy infractions. She was presumed to be incorrect without investigation into her accurate and truthful claims. Chancellor Shields ignored or refused to investigate my wife’s allegations against her tormentors.
Chancellor Shields ordered three investigations against my wife on bogus and false charges. The results of two of the investigations were withheld from my wife in violation of law. None of the investigation reports were signed. Chancellor Dennis Shields’ investigations seem to have been shams. The reports seem to have been forged. I believe Shields ordered the sham investigations to build a false case against my wife and fire her on false and hidden charges and to harass her, to provoke her and to discredit her.
My wife’s requests to be given the investigation reports were denied for invalid reasons. State statutes that require the university to give her the requested documents within 7 days were misinterpreted, probably purposely, and used as reason to deny her requests. The very statutes that guarantee she be given the documents were used as reason to keep the documents from her. If she had not demanded the reports my wife would have never been given them and she would not have even known of the false and hidden charges against her. I believe Chancellor Dennis Shields was trying to railroad my wife. I believe he wanted to fire her and he didn’t care how it got done. He doesn’t seem to care much about truth or following policy and law.
My wife’s personnel records are a mess. There are missing rebuttals and it is missing a letter of congratulations from Chancellor Shields. There are many pages in the record that shouldn’t be. Sabina filed a complaint against Attorney Jennifer Sloan Lattis for unethical behavior. The investigator requested Sabina’s personnel file but he was likely given the messed-up version of the record.
My wife requested that Dr. Caywood, whom she was suing in federal court, be removed from the Departmental Review Board evaluating her due to the obvious conflict of interest. Her request was ignored and her records seem to have been tampered with. Chancellor Shields ignored her complaints about the matter.
Chancellor Dennis Shields dropped the first complaint against my wife saying that the charges had merit but didn’t say what merit they had. Why would he drop charges against Sabina if the charges had merit? They didn’t have merit.
Chancellor Dennis Shields dropped the second bogus complaint against my wife (by Deb Rice) saying that it was all just a misunderstanding. He dropped my wife’s valid and serious complaints against Deb Rice at the same time for the same vague and improper reason. My wife’s complaints were valid and substantiated while Deb Rice’s complaints against Sabina were baseless and unsupported. Chancellor Shields seems to think the best way to handle a legitimate grievance is to solicit a bogus counter complaint against the grievant and dismiss them both as mere squabbling, based on an investigation report that is not signed.
Chancellor Dennis Shields has a sort of policy that employees should talk in person rather than by email. It is a sort of policy that is enforced behind closed doors. Sabina seems to be the only person who is held to this policy. Chancellor Dennis Shields believes that “emailing is problematic especially in handling conflict and dispute.” When a victim sends an email about abuse it can upset people; can cause people to support her; can communicate the need for the administration to deal with an abusive supervisor; can expose corruption. It seems that Chancellor Shields, to avoid these things, demands that faculty members not communicate abuse by their supervisor via email. He seems to demand that victims of abusive supervisors settle their dispute by talking to their supervisor; to the person who abuses them; to the person who is physically stronger; to the person who is in a position of power over them; to the person who lied to and about them and defamed them and spread false rumors about them; to the person who may be verbally abusive; to the person who enforces a gag-order against them; to the person who refuses to talk to them; to the person who refused mediation. I believe Chancellor Shields wants to limit email communication to limit evidence of corruption and to allow corrupt people to threaten targeted employees, like my wife, without leaving an email evidence trail. I believe he wants victims to believe their only recourse is to leave.
Chancellor Dennis Shields seems to “forget” to put dates on documents that he should have issued sooner. I think he does this so he can later claim that the document was issued at an earlier date. I think one reason Shields doesn’t like people to use email is because it puts a time-stamp on every communication. I think another reason Chancellor Shields prefers paper letters is because they are more difficult for me to store digitally.
When Sabina applied for tenure the CRST committee’s recommendation was “Took No Action.” No reason was given for the inaction on Sabina’s tenure request. Sabina fought hard to get the administration to process her tenure application and they finally relented and gave her tenure. If she had not fought for her tenure she would have been fired long ago. I believe Chancellor Shields was directly responsible for the CRST’s failure to process Sabina’s tenure request. I believe the inaction was a deliberate attempt to deny her tenure without the liability of denying it. They would claim that it was just an “administrative oversight,” an “office error” and “simply a glitch in process” to avoid liability.
Chancellor Shields suspended Sabina and ordered a third investigation into more bogus allegations against her in Jan 2017. He initiated dismissal proceedings against my wife for defending herself against bogus complaints and false allegations but he has not disciplined Dr. Mike Dalecki for threatening a graduate student. He did not discipline Deb Rice, who admitted to spreading false rumors. Sabina has been banned from even going on campus, where our daughter attends school. She has not threatened anyone.
Shields failed to ensure that communication training was conducted even after it was recommended multiple times and ordered by Chancellor Shields himself. Yet he is trying to fire Sabina for her communications. It seems to me that Shields only ordered the communication training to give the appearance that he was “doing something.” But ordering communication training doesn’t do anything if the training never happens. Maybe Shields was afraid that legitimate communication training would expose some of the dysfunction. Dean Throop wrote that she wanted Dr. Caywood to get training so he could run the CJ department at a “minimally acceptable level.” Maybe Shields wanted the Criminal Justice department to be minimally acceptable too. Firing one of the best instructors is a step in that direction.
Chancellor Dennis Shields has been trying to find employment at another university. I think he is doing so because of the mess he has created at UW Platteville. He was named as a finalist at Wright State University for their President position. I hope he leaves Platteville soon. I would rather see him get fired rather than sluffed off on another unsuspecting university. If he goes, I say good riddance. I would feel very bad though for the employees of any other university that gets stuck with him.
I found a book titled “Understanding and Recognizing Dysfunctional Leadership: The Impact of…” by Annette B. Roter. I think this would be an interesting read that might shed light on the administration of UW Platteville under leadership of Chancellor Shields ( I will Read this book when I have a chance). (Routledge, A Gower Book first published in 2017 by Routledge, 2 Part Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Ave, New York, NY 10017). I am working on writing a book too.
For more information and documented evidence please read through my website at UniversityCorruption.com.