The story of the Solicitous Note:




The student’s unchanging story


The student describes the incident in her sworn declaration.  This story does not conflict with Dr. Burton’s story at all but it does conflict with the administration’s numerous stories.



Criminal Justice department Chair Tom Caywood’s inconsistent story of the solicitous note:


Oct 11, 2012 12:14 PM .    Dr. Caywood sent Dr. Burton an email explaining the note as “part of a breach experiment to get peoples eractions.”   [sic]    (exhibit EZZA),           (exhibit EA)


Oct. 11, 2012 (1:50 pm): Dkt 53-24Dkt 54-9, pg3   Dr. Burton emailed Dr. Caywood “May I request that we are informed of such experiments in the future. It certainly interrupted my schedule having to attend to a student who was visibly upset. I wish I knew about it before and could have put her mind at ease right away.”


Oct. 11, 2012 (2:32 pm): Dkt 53-24.   Dkt 54-9, pg3. Dr. Caywood’s response: “I don't think we need to do that. That in and of itself could bias the results of the experiment. If a student is having a problem with a faculty member he or she needs to come see me and let me sort it out.” (exhibit EZZZZB)  This shows that Dr. Caywood believed the note to be part of an actual experiment and that the results extended outside the classroom.  If he believed the event to be merely a lecture about how to conduct an experiment he would not have been concerned about biasing the results of the “experiment.”  Experiments with human subjects require IRB approval.  Both Dr. Gibson and Dr. Caywood knew of this requirement. 

 This shows that Caywood believed the incident to be an actual experiment, otherwise he wouldn’t be concerned about results.   He contradicts himself when he tells Zupec that he had authorized the experiment.  He also contradicts himself when he claims that the incident was just a lecture about experiments.  These contradictions show pretext.


Oct 11, 4:27 PM  Dkt 54-9, pg4.   Dr. Burton sent Dean Throop an email update. (exhibit EZX)  She informed Dean Throop that Dr. Caywood told her that the incident was just an “experiment.”   In this update Burton point out that Dr. Caywood doesn’t see the need for future “experiments” to be shared with other faculty.  She made the case that Dr. Caywood may be practicing sexual discrimination. 


Oct 11, 2012 7:16 PM –Dkt 53-24. Dkt 36-5 pg5.    Caywood writes Throop that it was not an IRB issue as no “research” was being conducted.  He said it didn’t require IRB approval.  [UW-P 000565  This conflicts with his statement of 2:32 pm on the same day.


On Oct 11, 8:19 PM  Dkt 53-26, pg 2.   Dkt 53-27.    Dkt 54-9, pg1. Dkt 36-5 pg3.     Dr. Caywood asked for the student’s name so he could interview her.  He gave Burton a definition of a breach experiment that he copied from Wikipedia. “In the field of social psychology, a breaching experiment is an experiment that seeks to examine people’s reactions to violations of commonly accepted social rules or norms.”   He further explained that: “This sounds exactly what he (Dr. Gibson) did – pass a note to a student which is a violation of a commonly accepted norm.  Particularly inappropriate behavior since we all received the warning from the Dean about student contact.” [sic] (exhibit EZW)    Dr. Gibson was not teaching in the department of social psychology, he taught in the Criminal Justice department.  Breach experiments are not even a topic that should be taught in a CJ class nor is it in the textbook.  (exhibit EB)


Oct. 11, 2012 (9:31 pm): Dkt 53-26, pg 2. Dkt 36-5 pg3.  Dkt 40-4.  Dkt 40-7.   Dr. Burton asked Dr. Caywood if she was part of the experiment.  That question has never been answered.  (exhibit EZW, also exhibit EZZZY)


On Oct 12, 8:03 AM   Dkt 53-28.   Dr. Burton sent the student a reassuring email explaining what was being done about the incident. (exhibit EZV)  She wrote that Gibson got permission to run a breach experiment from Dr. Caywood.  Obviously this is the information that had been given to her at the time, not that it was a lecture about breach experiments.  The defense changed the reasoning later.   


Oct. 16, 2012 (10:20 am):  Dkt 40-11.  Dkt 40-18. Dkt 42-74    Dr. Caywood sent out a department email with attachment on “how we should deal with student complaints.” (exhibit EZO) (exhibit EZO-1).   His procedure is contrary to UW-Platteville guidelines the law.  He generated this procedure as a direct result of the student complaint of Oct. 11 and shows that he disapproved of the way Burton handled the event.   Rule 26 Disclosure - 28.         Memorandum from Dr. Caywood, dated October 16, 2012, Dkt 53-6    This does not conform to policy or law and it limits options for students with any kind of complaint to just one reporting point, the CJ chair Dr. Caywood. 



4-12-13 – In (Audio A6-CDII Track 41) (Transcript for CD 1 and CD 2) Caywood said “So, was the whole thing handled poorly?  Yes.  I think, I think, it was handled, you know, I did not handle it very well.  You know, I misunderstood what was going on.  I did not see it as sexual harassment and, you know, when we had the meeting with the Dean and HR it was brought to my attention that that’s what this is.


8-21-15 – In his deposition Dr. Caywood said that he did not consider the possibility that Dr. Gibson was being untruthful when he described the breach experiment.  (Caywood Deposition pg 31) 


Dr. Caywood stated, under oath, that he believed that Dr. Gibson acted appropriately when he gave a female student a handwritten note that asked her to call him on his cell phone after class. (Caywood Deposition pg 39) 




 11-6-15   In his declaration Caywood claimed that Dr.   Gibson   explained the note was   part   of   a   lecture   on   breach experiments and  the  note  was intended  as an  example  of  how  to  elicit  a  response.   (Caywood Decl.Dkt 36, ¶ 28.)   (Dkt 45 – para 50)






Dean Throop has described the incident in various ways


Oct 11, 2012 8:39 pm -Dkt 53-24. Dkt 36-5 pg4.    Caywood writes throop saying that he is trying to find out the name of the student so he can determine exactly what happened.   Throop responds “This is very serious, Tom.”  [UW-P 000564]  


Oct 11, 2012 5:44 PM –   Dkt 53-24Dkt 36-5 pg5.  Throop sent an email to Caywood writing “Such a note could be rightly interpreted as sexual harassment regardless of intent.  This behavior must cease immediately.”  [UW-P 000565 - 566]


Oct 11, 2012 8:13 PM - Dkt 53-24Dkt 36-5 pg4.    [UW-P 000564]    Throop wrote to Caywood “This is a profoundly serious issue.”  She wrote “It could well be a significant HR and Title IX issue.”


Oct 12, 2012 05:06 AM –Dkt 53-26, pg 1.   Dean Throop replied to Dr. Burton’s email saying ” I have been in touch with Human Resources, the Provost, and the Chancellor about this (I was on the phone with Jeanne Durr until after 10 p.m. last night). I am meeting with Tom, Lorne, and Jeanne Durr on Tuesday. What you describe is completely unacceptable and I am taking all measures that I can to cure this situation. This is a profoundly serious problem. Please reassure the student that it will be resolved as quickly as possible. Again, I am very concerned about what is being described and I will make sure that proper action is taken. There is no need, at this juncture, to reveal the student's identity.” (exhibit EDThis shows that Burton was excluded from the discussion about what happened.  She was not allowed to advocate for the student. 


On Oct 12, Dr. Burton sent Dr. Caywood an email asking for his discretion as it seemed there was concern of a law suit and suggested that he talk to the Dean about it (exhibit EB).    Dean Throop informed Burton that she had been talking to HR, the Provost and the Chancellor about the incident and that she would meet with Dr. Gibson soon  (exhibit EC).  She said “What you describe is completely unacceptable and I am taking all measures that I can to cure this situation. This is a profoundly serious problem. Please reassure the student that it will be resolved as quickly as possible.”  (exhibit EZZZZC)


Approx Dec 2013 - Throop’s notes say: “When I discussed the matter with Caywood and Gibson, Caywood attempted to explain it away to me as a classroom exercise; Gibson attempted to instruct me on the use of “breach experiments” and claimed that the note was a breach experiment.  It of course is NOT a proper breach experiment and was interpreted by the student as sexual harassment.” (Dkt 101-20)


10/28/2015 -   In Throop’s deposition she said that Burton came to her “with a complaint of a biased student. It was not a sexual advance.”  Dkt 42 pg 114-115

 Why did her position change?  Could it be that an attorney told her she needed to change her story?



HR director Jeanne Durr’s politically safe story.

 Oct 16, 2012 -  Dkt 42-88 pg 1&2,  Jeanne Durr wrote notes about the meeting that Dr. Burton, the only person who really knew the student’s side of the story, was not asked to attend.  Why wasn’t Burton asked to attend?  So they could get their (protect the university) story straight?   UW-P 000097    In this document Durr makes several incorrect and vague statements:


  1. She says the student “found” a note in class and “believed” it to be from Gibson. 
  2. She said that Burton spoke to the Dean about it.  This is incorrect.  Burton asked the Dean where to report it in an email on Oct 10 and had no conversations with Throop about it until well after she reported it verbally to Caywood on Oct 11.
  3. She states as though fact that “The issue that raised concerns for the female student was a breach experiment.”  She should have said something like “Gibson reports that the issue…
  4. After defining a breach experiment she wrote “This is what Lorne Gibson did in one class.”  She should have written “this is what Lorne Gibson claims that he did in one class.”  Note:  Caywood reported that there were two sections of the same class in which Gibson gave notes to students.
  5. She wrote “A student received a hand printed note on a scrap of paper”  This is probably the way Gibson reported the incident but the student said under oath “Dr. Gibson walked up beside me and slipped a note under my books, in plain view of the other students in my group. “  (Dkt 51)  Why didn’t Throop and Durr ask for more specifics about how the note was delivered?  Why did they accept such a vague account from Gibson?
  6. Again she makes reference as though it was a breach experiment instead of reporting that Gibson claims it was.
  7. She writes that other situations arose and the note was not discussed and students debriefed as though it was fact.   But it was Gibson’s rendition of events and a very convenient cover story.
  8. She reports a “provocative statement” on Gibson’s class schedule and Breaching Experiment Exercise Planning Checklist but does not identify the statement. 
  9. Throop was concerned whether the “experiments” were approved by Human Subjects Committee, which of course they were not, but nothing was done to discipline Gibson.  He said “sorry” to Throop and Durr and Caywood and sent a “beyond reprehensible” explanation to the students but never apologized to Burton.  He provided a copy of the “apology to the class” that Throop, Durr and Caywood all accepted as a valid explanation yet a grievance committee called it “beyond reprehensible.” [UW-P 002846]  


October 17, 2012 1:43:47 PM –  Dkt 53-5.   Dkt 53-30.    Durr sends Caywood an email cc to Burton and Throop.  She wrote “Under the circumstances Sabina acted quite appropriately. We are following up appropriately and believe that the interests of both the student and the faculty member at issue are being properly protected. I do not want there to be any perception that we are retaliating against one of our employees for advocating for, or protecting the interests of our students.”(exhibit EZL)   [UW-P 000070]  Burton didn’t do anything wrong.

Durr wrote: “Our faculty and staff are under an obligation to refer issues that provide them with pause for concern.”     This shows that Durr believed Caywood was pushing to punish Burton for reporting the incident. 


Dec. 3, 2012 (10-10:30 am): (not recorded)  Burton met with HR Director Jeanne Durr to address the hostile work environment created by Dr. Caywood and the student complaint issue. Durr wrote in her notes that Burton complained that “Tom Caywood was retaliating against me because I had reported that a female student was uncomfortable with last October’s breach experiment.” [UW-P 000068] She got right the part about Dr. Burton’s complaint but again she wrongly refers to Gibson’s actions as a “breach experiment.”   



Burton’s unchanging story of the solicitous note.


Oct. 17, 2012 (12:09 pm):   Dkt 42-94,  Dkt 53-29, pg 2.  Dr. Burton responded to Dr. Caywood’s inquiry in detail. (exhibit EZI).


Burton’s story has never changed but the university’s position has changed significantly.


On Oct 16, 2012, 3:36 PM  Dr. Burton wrote a draft response that she intended to send to Dr. Caywood with an in depth assessment of her perspective of the student complaint and subsequent events.  She was professional and the tone of her email was respectful though she explained that she felt that Caywood was unhappy with the way she handled the student complaint. (never sent - EZR) Burton never sent the memo to Caywood because Dean Throop asked her not to send a response.   Burton’s draft memo, which was sent to her husband, does shed light on the situation and should be reviewed in an investigator of this matter.


Dr. Burton wrote a response to Caywood and showed it to Jeanne Durr in a meeting on about 11-27-12.  She said Burton should not send it to him so she did not. (exhibit 647). SB000834] 



Court documents describe a different reality.


Dkt 45 – Defendants’ Findings of “Facts:”


Para 41 Defense changed the notes actual wording from “Call me tonight !!  642-0020” to “call me tonight 642-4160.”   


Para 44 – the defense changed the note’s actual wording from “Call me tonight !!  642-0020” to “call me! 642-4160.”  


Gibson’s personal cell phone number was 642-0020. 


This easily proof-read mistake was just one of many, many, errors in the defendants’ findings of lies document. 


The defense’s “findings of facts” document is full of wrong information, lies and inconsistencies.   Many of the defendants’ “facts” rely on statements from the defendants with no evidence to back up their statements.  It is an incredible collection of baloney.


How did Judge Peterson side with the Defense in light of all this?     I think Sabina’s attorney, Tim Hawks, sabotaged the case to shut Sabina up.




 A strange twist:



 Tue – Sep 17, 2013 – Department meeting: Lorne Gibson nominated Rex Reed and Rex nominated Lorne for chair. The vote favored Dr. Lorne Gibson. The guy who handed the solicitous note to a female student was voted in as chair of the CJ department by the faculty and staff of the department.   

See short story “The Criminal Justice Department Chair position.” – A story of incredible failed power grabs that left the CJ department leaderless.



Audio clips tell more of this story:  (AudioShortClips)



 I’m not making this stuff up guys.




 Wis Stat 36.55 Reporting employment harassment and discrimination claims. By September 1 of each even-numbered year, the president shall submit a report to the chief clerk of each house for distribution to the legislature under s. 13.172 (2) that contains a description of each employment harassment or discrimination claim filed against the board or an employee of the board and resolved in favor of the claimant, the amount of any settlement paid to or judgment entered for the claimant and a description of any discipline of board employees resulting from the resolution of the claim.   It seems some people attack victims and victims’ advocates to keep these statistics low.  


A Jan 2018 article seems to indicate that universities do not report sexual harassment to the UW System even though they are required to (Article).    This doesn’t surprise me.   It has been my experience that the main problem with UW Platteville is that they don’t follow the law or System guidelines or even their own policies when they are trying to cover up sexual harassment incidents.  I would not be surprised to learn that none of the universities in the UW System comply with Wis Stat 36.55.    


The UW System has an attorney who seems to take pleasure in harassing anyone who stands up for victim rights (AttorneyJenniferSloanLattis).  Attorney Lattis probably encourages the UW universities to ignore Wis Stat 35.55.   Attorney Lattis seems to have a lot of tricks up her sleeve to allow the universities to cover up their violations of law and policy and keep sexual harassment statistics low.  If I were looking for a person most actively involved in enabling abuse, covering up sexual harassment incidents and getting rid of faculty members who stand up for students’ rights I’d start digging into Attorney Lattis’ practices.  Student advocates have been targeted for so long and so effectively that nobody in senior positions seem to care if students are abused.  People who are willing to do the right thing seem to disappear before they are eligible for promotion.    The employees who remain to be promoted are afraid to advocate for students because they see what is happening to people like Dr. Burton.  They don’t want to be targeted too.   They have a good thing going.  They just let sexual predators harass and rape students and rake in the big paychecks while doing shoddy work.  I don’t know how they can sleep at night.  The administration rewards loyalty first and foremost.  Quality of instruction seems to be unimportant to them.  This environment needs to be turned upside down.  People who violate laws and policies need to be punished instead of rewarded.  People who stand by and watch others violate laws and policies are just as guilty as the perpetrators, no matter how afraid they are.  


There needs to be serious reform in the UW System.  The posters that came out of the Sexual Harassment Task force is used as a sinister tool for weeding out potential victim advocates.   The posters proclaim: “If you see something, say something,” indicating that speaking up about sexual harassment is the way to help victims.   In the current environment people who “say something” find themselves on the administration’s “targeted list.”  The posters would better reflect the current environment if they said: “If you say something, pack your bags.”      



 On March 30, 2017 Chancellor Shields issued a statement of charges against Dr. Sabina Burton in which he stated:  You have publicly misrepresented the facts of a 2012 alleged sexual harassment incident” (sburtonstmtofchrgs-Rebuttal-3-30-17)  But he didn’t say what statement he thought was a “misrepresentation.”   I have repeatedly asked for anyone to point out any misrepresentations, inaccuracies or false statements I have made in my website.    So far nobody has identified any misrepresentation in my website.  Not one.  Chancellor Shields is trying to fire my wife, in part, because he claims she misrepresented the facts of the incident described above but her story, and the student’s, are the only stories that have stayed consistent with the evidence.  Sabina didn’t misrepresent facts of the 2012 sexual harassment incident.  As shown above, Dean Throop, Provost Den Herder and Dr. Caywood contradicted themselves, one another and the evidence.  They misrepresented the facts but Chancellor Shields did not fire them.  In fact, he promoted Dean Throop to Provost.  I guess he was impressed with the way she violated Sabina’s rights.