AMMONS, Defendant. : : : : : : : : :

C.A. No. 11C-

Jury Trial Demanded

COMPLAINT (Defamation) 1. This is a civil action for compensatory and punitive damages for common law defamation. Defendant Ammons in bad faith and out of ill will, intentionally, recklessly, willfully and wantonly created almost two dozen false and pretextual statements and widely published these defamatory falsehoods without privilege in an attempt to destroy plaintiff’s professional reputation and violate his academic freedom in the classroom as a respected criminal law professor. THE PARTIES 2. Plaintiff Lawrence J. Connell is a member of the Delaware Bar, a citizen and resident of Delaware and a 26 year tenured faculty member at the Delaware campus of the Widener University School of Law (the “Law School”). 3. Defendant Linda L. Ammons is a citizen and resident of Delaware and at all times relevant hereto was the Dean of the Law School.


4. Plaintiff was admitted to the Delaware Bar in 1979. He is currently and always has been an attorney member in good standing of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware. 5. Upon graduation from law school, plaintiff clerked for the Supreme Court of Delaware in Georgetown from 1978 to 1979. He practiced law in Sussex County with the Law Office of James C. Sabo until 1984, when he joined the faculty of the Law School as an instructor. 6. In 1986 plaintiff was appointed to a tenure track position as an assistant professor at the Law School and secured tenured status in or about 1992. With tenured status his employment was permanent absent just cause to terminate him. 7. Plaintiff’s career consisted of supervising students enrolled in various Law School clinical programs, including the Delaware Postconviction Relief Clinic, the Delaware Civil Clinic, and the Clinical Externship Program. Plaintiff also has taught courses in criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, interviewing, counseling and negotiation. 8. While supervising the Postconviction Relief Clinic, plaintiff volunteered to represent James Riley, an African-American male sentenced to death after being convicted of murder by an all-white jury from which the prosecutor wrongfully had excluded all African-Americans. After more than a decade of plaintiff’s volunteer legal efforts on his behalf, Mr. Riley eventually was awarded a new trial on the ground of racial discrimination in his jury selection. 9. Defendant Ammons knew of plaintiff’s efforts to achieve racial justice for his client James Riley. 10. The Law School has a reputation as a liberal law school. There are only two known


conservative faculty members out of over 60 faculty members, one being plaintiff. 11. Defendant Ammons is of the liberal political and legal persuasion. 12. Plaintiff is of the conservative political and legal persuasion. 13. Plaintiff is Caucasian and a male. 14. Ammons is an African-American female. 15. Ammons is proud and thin skinned. 16. Plaintiff’s conservative political and legal persuasion was well known within the Law School community and by Ammons. 17. Ammons was offended by plaintiff’s conservative political and legal viewpoints in a law school which she wanted to be totally of the liberal persuasion. 18. After she became Dean of the Law School in 2006, Ammons set out to find and create pretextual reasons to destroy plaintiff’s professional reputation and to violate his academic freedom in the classroom. 19. As part of a nationwide teaching methodology often used for criminal procedure and substantive criminal law, plaintiff in the classroom has used the Dean of the Law School as an example while teaching criminal law principles to grab the attention of his students and to help them remember the legal principles involved. He has done this when the Dean was Caucasian and when the Dean was African-American. 20. Professors from other law schools have testified as expert witnesses for plaintiff that this teaching methodology is within the pedagogical mainstream of U.S. law schools. 21. For example, in trying to teach students the law of attempts and murder, plaintiff would use an example where, in retaliation for Ammons’ threat to fire him for stealing her


parking space at the school, plaintiff would rush to her office to shoot her and discover, to his surprise, that he had shot instead of the actual Dean a manakin with a pumpkin head. 22. In 2010 Ammons learned plaintiff had used various examples involving her in teaching his classes. 23. Ammons was infuriated and angered that she had been used in such teaching examples. She felt her dignity was impugned and that she had been called “a pumpkin head.” 24. She set out to retaliate against plaintiff for using her in his classroom teaching examples and also for his conservative political and legal views. 25. Ammons set out to destroy plaintiff’s professional reputation and to deny his academic freedom in the classroom by creating pretextual factual assertions about his character and job performance. 26. One such false assertion which she decided to use was a false claim that since plaintiff had used violent examples in teaching criminal law, such as criminals shooting other persons, he himself must be a violent person. 27. She falsely claimed that plaintiff wanted to shoot her with a weapon. A. First Defamatory Acts 28. In December 2010 Ammons knowingly and recklessly had plaintiff falsely charged in writing with being a racist, a sexist and a threat to the physical safety of persons on the Law School campus. 29. Ammons published these written false statements without privilege within the Law School community. 30. On December 10, 2010 plaintiff was confronted with these written false statements


which left him speechless and stunned. Unnecessarily, the head of campus security, in plain clothes, was in the room during this confrontation. 31. Unnecessarily, the head of campus security was told at that time of each of these written false statements. 32. Unnecessarily staff in the office of the registrar also were told of these written false statements. B. Second Defamatory Acts 33. Ten days later on December 20, 2011, Ammons purposefully humiliated plaintiff and had him physically banned from campus as a threat to the physical safety of herself and others in the campus community. She also denied him access to his office. 34. She informed staff that he was not permitted on campus because he was a threat to the physical safety of persons in the campus community. 35. The news that plaintiff had been thrown off campus spread like wildfire, destroying his profession reputation because this action was symbolic speech which communicated a clear message that plaintiff, a 26 year employee of the Law School, had committed some grave misdeed and he was a threat to the physical safety of persons in the Law School community. C. Third Defamatory Act 36. Ammons also told James Harris the president of Widener University that plaintiff was a threat to her physical safety and the physical safety of other persons in the Law School community. 37. As a means of self defense, in an effort to protect his reputation from permanent damage, plaintiff had to secure legal assistance and he was compelled to publicly reply to the


tenured law school faculty and in media forums concerning the false charges which Ammons had caused to be placed against him and to explain his absence from the Law School community. 38. As a person who successfully had spent ten years voluntarily fighting for the life of a condemned African-American on death row, he denied he ever could be a racist and that the claims by Ammons that he was a threat to anyone and a sexist also were false. D. Fourth Defamatory Acts 39. On February 24, 2011 Ammons knowingly initiated false and reckless formal written charges against plaintiff with tenured faculty of the law school to dismiss him for cause. The untrue charges are attached as Ex. A. 40. These knowingly false and reckless written statements include but are not limited to the following. 41. Ammons stated as a fact, which she believed to be true, that plaintiff uses a well known offensive racially derogatory term to refer to African-Americans to demean them by calling them “black folks.” 42. The falsity of claiming that this is a well known offensive racially derogatory term for African-Americans is established by the following widely known general facts found on a respected academic freedom website - 43. President Barack Obama himself uses the term "folks" to describe all sorts of people, including African-Americans. (Entering "President Obama folks" into Google amply demonstrates this.) 44. The first African-American to earn a doctorate at Harvard, W. E. B. Du Bois, used the term in his classic work The Souls of Black Folk as well as The Gift of Black Folk and Black


Folk, Then and Now. 45. In the past 45 days, the term "black folks" has been used by columnist Arlene Jones in the Austin Weekly News, columnist Charing Ball in The Atlanta Post, scholar Boyce Watkins at the website, and many others. 46. The widespread use of the term is strong evidence that it is not, as far as most people are concerned, a negatively loaded term. In fact, it usually signifies some sense of familiarity or friendliness. 47. As stated by the Foundation For Individual Rights in Education, this is "a ubiquitous term that has no necessary relationship to discriminatory or harassing behavior." 48. The fact Ammons saw fit to include the term three times in her false statements declaring as a fact that plaintiff is a racial harasser is proof of defendant’s defamatory purpose, ill will, malice and reckless behavior. 49. Plaintiff also was falsely accused of referring to women as “bitch”and “honey.” 50. The untruth of all of Ammons’ statements was later pointed out to defendant in two sworn affidavits which plaintiff submitted to Ammons. 51. But she did not print or circulate any retraction for any of her false statements regarding plaintiff. 52. Each of the statements in these written charges was widely published and disseminated both within and without the Law School community in bad faith, out of ill will, intentionally, recklessly, willfully, wantonly and without privilege. 53. Each of the factual assertions made by Ammons in this four page document is knowingly false, reckless and pretextual for Ammons’ true motive, which was to destroy


plaintiff’s professional reputation and deny his academic freedom in the classroom. 54. At this time Ammons dropped and abandoned her previous false statement that plaintiff was a threat to the physical safety of students, faculty or administrators. 55. But she still denied plaintiff access to campus and thus reiterated her prior symbolic speech about his dangerousness. 56. She published no retraction in this regard and her actions and plaintiff’s continued absence from his office and from campus still communicated the same message that plaintiff was a threat to the general public. 57. In this writing, now Ammons falsely claimed plaintiff was a racist and a sexist and refused to cooperate with her in her vendetta against him. 58. Under his contract plaintiff was entitled to various substantive procedural protections before he could be terminated for cause. These included the right to the assistance of legal counsel, the right of his attorney to cross examine his accusers, testimony against him had to be made under oath, his judges would be the full tenured faculty, and a majority vote would be required to fire him. 59. After Ammons filed these false charges against plaintiff, under the procedural protections of his contract, the full tenured faculty appointed an Informal Review Committee to review Ammon’s charges. 60. Plaintiff submitted to that Committee a 39 page affidavit which is attached as Ex. B. 61. On March 7, 2011 that Committee refused to join in Ammon’s vendetta and dismissed the charges against plaintiff without prejudice as set forth in Exhibit C attached. 62. On March 14th Ammons wrote to the Committee and declared that she would not let


the matter rest, as set forth in Exhibit D attached. E. Fifth Defamatory Act 63. That same day Ammons issued a press release to the media which is attached as Exhibit E. Therein, considering extrinsic facts, the innuendo and context of her statements, she falsely claimed that plaintiff had been justifiably accused of professional misconduct by students and those charges had merit to them and were not frivolous. 64. However, any such complaints were time barred under the written procedures of the Law School, a fact defendant deliberately concealed. 65. Three days after the decision of the Informal Review Committee, on March 10th Ammons caused to be published and filed new false charges, that plaintiff was a racist and a sexist, with an entirely different University administrative body which she controlled which was separate from the independent tenured faculty. 66. The judges in this administrative body consisted only of administrators and a faculty member of Ammons choosing. 67. Plaintiff no longer had a right to legal counsel before this body. He lost his right to cross examine his accusers under oath and other procedural protections he previously had by contract as a tenured faculty member. 68. The new charges filed against plaintiff again falsely claimed that he was a racist and a sexist. 69. Ammons directed that these false charges be filed despite the fact that governing Law School regulations stated that they were time barred by a 180 day statute of limitations., a fact she continued to conceal.


70. In this second proceeding plaintiff submitted the following written evidence on March 25, 2011: 71. His first and second affidavits. Ex F and B attached. 72. The expert witness affidavits of two distinguished law professors from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and the George Washington University School of Law. Exs G (Kerr) and H (Salmanson) attached. 73. The affidavits of four students including an African American, an Egyptian, and a female. Elbardissi (Ex. I); Scott (Ex. J); Ramsay (Ex. K) Shehata (Ex. L), attached 74. Twenty-nine (29) emails from students. Exhibit M attached. 75. On April 5, 2011 he submitted another affidavit of a female student. Exhibit O (Hall) attached. F. Sixth Defamatory Act 76. Nevertheless, despite personal knowledge from all these sworn affidavits as to the true facts, except Ex. O, on Sunday March 27, 2011 Ammons caused to be published in the News Journal, the newspaper of general circulation in the State of Delaware, a five paragraph false, reckless and defamatory letter to the editor, which considering extrinsic facts, the context and innuendo surrounding the letter, falsely and recklessly accused plaintiff of being the subject of numerous truthful complaints of misconduct by his students, of having a faculty committee rule against him in faculty proceedings, and falsely stating that plaintiff’s academic freedom was not being violated by Ammons. Ex. N attached. 77. Despite plaintiff’s efforts to mitigate his damages, Ammons has succeeded in her plan to destroy plaintiff’s professional and legal reputation. Any statement that a law professor


and attorney is a racist and a sexist forever destroys his professional reputation and character. 78. Plaintiff’s separate and distinct immediate and long term injuries and conditions, which were the direct and proximate result of defamatory statements, include, but are not limited to, damage to his professional reputation and standing in the local and nationwide academic community, the student body, and the general public at large, emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation, and mental suffering endured by plaintiff and any physical or bodily harm caused by that suffering, as well as special injury, such as monetary losses in the future, including lost wages, pension, and other benefits, such as over one million dollars in medical insurance benefits for plaintiff’s permanently disabled and institutionalized daughter. Count I - Common Law Defamation 79. Plaintiff repeats and realleges paragraphs 1-78 set forth above. 80. Plaintiff is a private figure. 81. Plaintiff has been libeled in written statements. 82. Plaintiff has been slandered in oral statements. 83. These statements have defamed plaintiff in his trade, business or profession. 84. The libels of plaintiff are clear from the written statements themselves or are clear only after referring to extrinsic facts not contained in the writing. 85. The defendant defamed plaintiff and the defamation has been published. 86. The defendant was negligent in failing to determine the truth of the defamatory matter. 87. The defendant intentionally or recklessly failed to determine the truth of the defamatory matter.


88. The defendant knew that the defamatory matter published was false and untrue. 89. The defendant acted with utter disregard for whether the defamatory matter published was false and untrue. 90. The defendant acted with actual malice, and ill will and knowledge that her statements were false or were made in reckless disregard of whether or not they were false. 91. The chief motive of the defendant was actual malice and ill will. 92. The statements made by the defendant in the faculty employment context constitute publication within the law of defamation. They were not privileged in any employment context since they were made with actual malice and out of ill will, there was no duty to furnish the information to the recipient, and they circulated to persons other than plaintiff and injured his professional reputation. 93. They also were made with knowledge of their falsity and recklessly disregarded whether they were true or false. 94. The statements were made primarily to further interests other than those protected by any qualified privilege and the chief motive for making such statements was the ill will and malice of the defendant. 95. The statements found in a press releases or in a letter to the editor, for example, also were outside of the performance of defendant’s official duties or functions which could give rise to any privilege in an employment context. There was no duty whatsoever for defendant to issue a press release about plaintiff or to write a letter to the editor about plaintiff. 96. Defendant’s abuse of any privilege found in the employment context under the law of defamation is further evidenced by the fact that she is operating a higher educational


institution. The website for her employer Widener University in its “Mission & Goals” statement claims that she is committed to academic freedom “in matters pertaining to pedagogy,” in matters of classroom instruction which she instead has attacked. 97. As established by two expert witness affidavits of which the defendant was fully aware, plaintiff’s classroom teaching methodology is well within the mainstream of that found in prominent American law schools. But this did not prevent defendant from falsely asserting as fact that plaintiff uses racist and sexist classroom pedagogy. 98. Moreover, in her bulletins and handbooks the defendant claims that she is committed to “free expression” in the classroom. But she is not committed to the free expression of plaintiff in his classroom. 99. Plaintiff had to take and use reasonable efforts to minimize the effect of the defamation by defendant on the student body, among the faculty and staff at his place of employment and in the general academic community nationwide of which he was a member in good professional standing. 100. The symbolic speech of the defendant in throwing plaintiff off campus, in writing and orally declaring him to be a physical threat to her own and to student life and limb, and in causing rumors and other comment to circulate in the Law School community, which destroyed his professional reputation, all compelled plaintiff to defend his reputation publicly before the tenured faculty and in the media in an effort to salvage and rehabilitate his professional reputation in mitigation of the damages he was suffering. 101. The defendant could reasonably foresee that the nature of the false charges she lodged against plaintiff would strongly compel him to repeat them in an effort to defend himself


and to mitigate his damages in the face of the vendetta being waged against him by the defendant. 102. The actions of defendant were willful or wanton and merit an award of punitive damages. 103. Plaintiff’s right to be free from defamation has been denied under the common law of the State of Delaware. Wherefore, plaintiff prays that the Court: (a) (b) ( c) Enter judgment against the defendant. Enter a judgment against the defendant for compensatory and punitive damages. Enter a judgment against the defendant for costs and pre and post judgment interest. (d) Require such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper under the circumstances.

THE NEUBERGER FIRM, P.A. /s/ Thomas S. Neuberger THOMAS S. NEUBERGER, ESQ. (#243) STEPHEN J. NEUBERGER, ESQ. (#4440) RAEANN WARNER (#4931) Two East Seventh Street, Suite 302 Wilmington, Delaware 19801 (302) 655-0582

Dated: April 8, 2011

Attorneys for Plaintiff





FIRST AFFIDAVIT OF LAWRENCE J. CONNELL State of Delaware County of New Castle : : :


I, Lawrence J. Connell, having been duly sworn, hereby depose and state as follows: 1. A. 2. This affidavit is based upon my personal knowledge. I am competent to testify. Employment Background. I am an Associate Professor of Law at the Widener University School of Law in

Wilmington, Delaware. 3. I have been employed by Widener since the fall semester of 1984, when I was

hired as an instructor to teach Legal Methods to first-year students. In 1986 I was appointed an Assistant Professor of Law and named Director of the Postconviction Relief Clinic. From 1986 to 1988 I also served as the Acting Director of the Delaware Civil Clinic, as well as the Interim Legal Director of Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, Inc. After being promoted to Associate Professor of Law, I was granted in 1992 what was then known as Track 2 tenure, which was a form of tenure that emphasized teaching rather than the Track 1 emphasis on scholarship. Track 2 tenure was developed primarily to provide employment security for clinical professors. Only two other professors, to my knowledge, were granted Track 2 tenure before the tenure rules were once again changed to a single form of tenure that eliminated the previous distinctions. 4. In or about 1997, I was appointed a co-Director, with Professor Francis Catania, Page 1 of 39

of the law school’s externship program. In August 2010 Vice Dean Patrick Kelly informed me that Dean Linda Ammons had decided to remove me from that position effective January 1, 2011. I had no conversation with Ammons about her decision. Kelly further informed me that Professor Sydney Howe-Barksdale, an untenured, non-tenure track administrator was to be my successor. 5. I began teaching Criminal Law in 1986. Widener is unique among law schools in

that its clinical professors have always been required to teach doctrinal classes in addition to their clinical responsibilities. Criminal Law is a required class at Widener for first-year students, and my class size has varied from about 60 students to more than 120, though in recent years generally much closer to the smaller number, rather than the larger. B. 6. Statistics on the Size of My Classes. The complainants are two (2) of 67 students who were enrolled in my spring

semester 2010 Criminal Law class. Six months after the Criminal Law classes ended, the complainants teamed up with two (2) students (known to me only as Witnesses ‘B’ and ‘C’) from my fall semester 2010 Criminal Procedure Section B, to complain to the administration about my ‘racist’ and ‘sexist’ behavior. Sixty-seven ( 67) students were enrolled in my Criminal Procedure Section B class. I also taught in the fall semester a Criminal Procedure Section A class in which 56 students were enrolled. To my knowledge, no students in Section A complained to the administration about my being either a ‘racist’ or a ‘sexist.’ Moreover, none of the approximate 60 externs that I supervised at any time in 2010 expressed to the administration similar views. 7. In short, based on the word of 4 out of 250 students enrolled in my courses in

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2010, Ammons and Kelly have declared me to be not only unfit to teach, but also a threat to the community’s safety. C. 8. My Teaching Methodology. Criminal law involves the study of why we punish certain individuals (criminals)

at all, as well as why we place them in rigid legal categories (crimes) that largely determine the punishment they will receive. By definition, the study of criminal law requires discussion of violent, degrading human behavior that may offend normal sensibilities. 9. My approach to teaching criminal law has been to use a casebook that is rich with

examples, problems and scholarly commentary about criminal law. Rather than focus on teaching common law crimes and their elements, I use the Kaplan and Weisberg casebook that employs the Model Penal Code as its common thread. I believe that if students can learn to use a single, relatively coherent statutory code, they will be prepared to use whatever statutory codes have been adopted in the states in which they will practice. Moreover, most state codes are modeled in varying degrees upon the Model Penal Code, and employ its mens rea or mental state provisions. 10. Thus, our criminal law classes entail considerable discussion about the nature

and relationship of an actor’s mental state to his culpability. As a practical matter, the great bulk of cases and examples in which these relationships can be explored involve violent, assaultive conduct that often results in death. They involve reprehensible behavior and deplorable results. My approach, therefore, is to try and lighten the atmosphere by using absurd hypothetical problems to illustrate application of the rules. The hypotheticals often involve me, the students, and other law school actors familiar to the students. The law school actors have included, among

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others, Dean Ammons and her white male predecessors as well. The hypos engage the students, and the familiar characters enable them to remember the underlying rules and application. 11. To ensure that students are not lulled into believing that the analysis of cases in

the book and my absurd hypos is simply an intellectual exercise, I also talk about cases in which I was involved both before I came to Widener and after, in the Postconviction Relief Clinic, as well. I also talk occasionally about cases that my third-year externs have encountered. A point I try to emphasize is that “cases” involve real people – victims, defendants, and their families -who have suffered and have caused suffering. Using cases from the Clinic and from the externs has the additional benefit, I believe, of enabling students to envision themselves as soon-to-be actors in the system. 12. For nearly a quarter century of criminal law classes, students and I have been

colleagues in crime in hypothetically planning and carrying out many a successful, as well as botched, robbery and shooting at the Wawa on Naaman’s Road (complicity, conspiracy, attempt, felony-murder, intentional murder, grossly reckless murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide). In some hypos I have been the victim of students who have pushed or punched me, or tried to plunge a Bowie knife into my chest. I generally manage to repel these make-believe assaults with my trusty .357 magnum. (self-defense, proportionality of force). 13. More often, however, I am the perpetrator of various heinous crimes. For

example, each year my plan to kill their Contracts professor by placing a bomb in the class following mine is foiled when Dick Tracy discovers and disables the bomb before it explodes. (attempted murder) I have also made hypothetical appearances outside the window of my students’ Property class and discharged my imaginary M-16 into their classroom just to see looks

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on their terrified faces. Occasionally a student is hypothetically struck and killed by one of my stray bullets, but most often the bullets never graze anyone in the room (murder, attempted murder, reckless endangering).


I reply as follows to the four page Statement of Reasons to dismiss me for cause

lodged against me by Dean Ammons dated February 24, 2011. 15. In paragraph number 2 of the Background, Ammons provides that the

“[s]pecific allegations [against me] included, but were not limited to, the following:” a. “a person who is shooting at black folks [is] less dangerous than a person who is

shooting randomly.” Answer: The allegation is denied. I never made such a statement. The person making the allegation is biased with their own private agenda but lacking knowledge of that person’s identity, I am unable to provide additional specificity as to bias. 16. In perhaps the second class of January 2010, the class discussed the case of

Apprendi v. New Jersey. The defendant Apprendi entered a guilty plea to a weapons offense after shooting into the home of a black family that had moved into a previously all-white neighborhood. After he was arrested, Apprendi made a statement – which he later retracted – that while he did not know the owners of the home personally, “because they are black . . . he does not want them in the neighborhood.” The statutory sentence for the weapons offense ranged from 5 to 10 years. A separate statute allowed a judge to “extend” the sentence to 10 to 20 years if the defendant were found to have committed the weapons offense “with a purpose to

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intimidate on account of race.” The trial judge sentenced Apprendi to 12 years, outside the range specified for the weapons offense, but within the range of the sentencing enhancement statute. 17. Apprendi argued that any finding of fact to justify his enhanced sentence must

be determined by a jury and not by a sentencing judge. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that Apprendi’s sentence violated the Due Process Clause. 18. Because the Apprendi case came at the end of the first chapter on the purposes

and limits of punishment, I raised the question of whether there were any retributive or utilitarian purposes for enhancing Apprendi’s punishment, assuming he had intended to shoot into the house because its occupants were black. I asked the class, in effect (this occurred more than a year ago), the following hypothetical: “What if Apprendi were a psychopath who had shot into the home because the people who lived there had red hair and Apprendi simply hated people with red hair? Would he be less deserving of punishment than the real Apprendi (referring to the retributive arguments)? Would he be any less dangerous than the real Apprendi (referring to the utilitarian arguments)?” 19. What followed was some discussion of whether the real Apprendi or the

hypothetical psychopathic Apprendi should be punished more severely and the reasons why. I closed the discussion by acknowledging that there may be some legitimate utilitarian reasons (e.g., deterrence of racial motivated crimes) to sentence Apprendi more harshly, other utilitarian reasons, such as the need for incapacitation, the real and the hypothetical Apprendi are at least equally dangerous. 20. I did, however, question whether Apprendi’s actions were, for retributive

purposes, any worse than the hypothetical shooter’s. I noted that one of the objections to such

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“hate crime” sentencing enhancements is that they come dangerously close to violating one of the fundamental principles of the criminal law: that we do not punish for bad thoughts alone. On the other hand, if motive for committing a crime is a fair consideration for punishment, there remains the risk in cases like Apprendi’s that the public may see such “hate crime” enhancements as creating a preferred class of victims based on race. I added that, from the viewpoint of their respective victims, as well as the degree of trauma or harm they may have suffered, there was no reason to believe that Apprendi and the hypothetical shooter should be treated any differently from one another. 21. From that discussion, the complainants opine in their initial letter that I am

“unsympathetic to the victims of racially motivated crimes,” a conclusion that appears to have tainted their view of me from first week of the semester. 22. Paragraph 2 again alleges -

b. “You mean to tell me, if you see two black men walking, you are not going to cross the street;” Answer: This allegation is denied. This is an inaccurate, misleading statement, taken completely out of the context of a conversation I had with several students, presumably including at least one of the complainants, after a class. 23. During the class we had discussed the notorious case of Bernhard Goetz, who

was ultimately acquitted of attempted murder charges in the subway shooting of “four youths,” as the New York Court of Appeals put it, two of whom had demanded money from Goetz. In their initial letter to Ammons, the complainants objected to my telling the class that the “four youths” were black male teenagers and that Goetz was white. In one of only four specific

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allegations raised in their initial letter, the complainants wrote: “The case book did not mention anything about the races of the defendants and or (sic) victims. In class Professor Connell said that the 4 men were black and that the defendant was white.” (emphasis in original) 24. The complainants are correct that the casebook did not mention the race of the

parties, but that I did. Nevertheless, a casebook note immediately following the Goetz opinion informed students that a jury eventually acquitted Goetz on all charges, including attempted murder, except for an illegal gun possession charge. Given the fact that Goetz shot at least one of the teens in the back when he appeared to present no threat to Goetz, one might ask how a jury conceivably could have acquitted Goetz. The answer required not only an exploration of his Goetz’s mental state at the time of the shootings, but the jurors’ as well. 25. That inevitably involved a discussion of the role of race in the outcome. Many

folks at the time viewed Goetz as a hero who, in being prosecuted for attempted murder, was being victimized a second time by a tone-deaf prosecutor’s office. Others, however, viewed Goetz as an unrepentant racist vigilante. In accepting Goetz’s claim of self-defense, perhaps the jury viewed Goetz as having responded reasonably to the threat he faced. Or perhaps they believed that Goetz responded in an excessive manner, but feared that convicting him would discourage law-abiding citizens from defending themselves. Or maybe Goetz and the jurors were all simply unrepentant racists. 26. In any case, an examination of why a jury exculpated Goetz on all charges

cannot avoid a discussing of the perspective of Goetz, a white man who encountered a group of black males demanding money from him. 27. An inescapable truth of violent crime in American cities is that it is

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disproportionately committed by young black men. The unfortunate reality of urban crime explains why some people, of all races, fear young black men. While that fear may lead to unfortunate and erroneous stereotyping, it nonetheless exists. It is a fair question to ask whether Goetz experienced that fear and acted on it, or whether he never felt in imminent danger whatsoever. The fact that a jury acquitted Goetz requires examination of the jurors’ mindsets as well. 28. To illustrate the pervasiveness of that fear, I mentioned (and I do not recall if I

mentioned it both during the classroom discussion of Goetz, or only in the discussion after class) recalling a statement that was attributed to Rev. Jesse Jackson about the problem of urban black crime. I recalled Jackson reportedly saying that if he were approached by a group of young black men on a city street, he would cross the street in order to avoid contact with them. The point being that even Jesse Jackson felt some degree of apprehension around groups of young black men he did not know. 29. I recall staying after class that day to talk with several students. Because the

Goetz case was the last in the self-defense lesson, we had what I thought was a wide-ranging discussion about self-defense principles generally and about the Goetz case specifically that lasted more than half an hour. 30. In discussing how the Goetz jury could conceivably have acquitted him, I recall

telling the students how the crime rate in New York City at the time was nearly double that of any other American city. I noted that many New Yorkers felt besieged by out of control crime rate, and that young black men were a highly visible part of that problem. I expressed the view that the race of the “youths” most certainly affected Goetz’s view of his situation. Whether or

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not one agreed that his response was reasonable and proportionate was a different question. 31. One of the students – presumably one of the complainants – persisted in saying

how she did not understand how the race of the teens on the subway could have made any difference. She said that, in a situation like Goetz’s, the race of the teens would not concern her, but rather their dress or behavior would. I agreed that dress and behavior would be important indicators, but the perception of race cannot simply be ignored. 32. Recalling that the student, or one of the others in the group, had mentioned she

was from Camden, I mentioned Rev. Jesse Jackson’s observation and asked, “So if you were approached by a group of black male teens on a street in Camden, you would not cross the street? You wouldn’t feel like Jesse Jackson? You wouldn’t feel uncomfortable in any way?” The student responded, “No, I wouldn’t.” 33. Paragraph 2 again alleges -

c. “Reference to African Americans as ‘black folks;’” Answer: Admitted. I often refer to groups of people as “folks,” a perfectly legitimate word in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. I address guests in my home as “folks.” I address the students in my classes as “folks.” For example, if this matter goes forward I will attach to this affidavit emails to this effect.. 34. Paragraph 2 again alleges -

c. “Victim hypothetical using a female student coupled with the words ‘Die Bitch;’” Answer: This allegation is denied. I have never addressed the word to, nor used the word in connection with, any student. The person making the allegation is biased with their own private agenda, but lacking knowledge of the person’s identity, I am unable to provide additional

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specificity as to bias. 35. While I have never addressed the word “bitch” to any student, the word has

been used pedagogically in class. This is another example of how my accusers have pulled my words out of context, reinterpreted them, and ascribed them back to me, complete with new and nefarious motivations. Like most first-year criminal law courses, we study the topic of voluntary manslaughter and the controversial “adultery” provocation. We discuss the rule’s origins in male homicidal violence against women, and the gender bias the rule continues to promote. We discuss how provocation as a mitigating principle was perceived by some courts to be a partial excuse, while other courts viewed it as a partial justification. 36. When applied to the “adultery” provocation specifically, these distinctions are

troubling. If one perceives adultery as a partial excuse for an otherwise intentional killing, the outcome depends on the killer’s state of mind and whether he actually lost the capacity for selfcontrol. In contrast, if one perceives adultery as a partial justification, the outcome turns on one’s belief about the role of the victim in connection with her death. Adultery as a partial justification implies that the victim was at least partially responsible for her own death. In plain English, the partial justification theory for manslaughter can be characterized as “the bitch deserved it.” 37. In class I have criticized, not endorsed, the concept of adultery as a partial

justification because it trivializes and demeans the value of the life of women. 38. It is also possible, but I have no recollection of it, that I used the word “bitch” in

the context of discussing self-defense and women who have been victims of abuse by their partners. I told the spring 2010 Criminal Law class about a case in which I was co-counsel that involved a woman named Susan who shot and killed her unarmed partner because she feared he

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was about to kill her. Susan’s partner had sexually abused her daughter, in addition to his abuse of Susan, and Susan fled the state in an attempt to start a new life. The partner tracked down Susan, beat her and brought her back to Delaware at gunpoint, threatening to kill her “like a goddam dog” if she ever tried to leave again. 39. Susan was charged with first-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to voluntary

manslaughter based on the erroneous legal advice of counsel. At first, Susan claimed selfdefense, that she reasonably feared for her life. She abandoned her self-defense claim and pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of voluntary manslaughter when her attorney convinced her that self-defense was an affirmative defense that she would be unable to prove by a preponderance of the evidence. Susan received the maximum sentence on the manslaughter charge. 40. We filed a motion to set aside her guilty plea based on the ineffective assistance

of counsel. Contrary to what her counsel had told her, self-defense was not an affirmative defense. To avoid conviction on the murder charge, Susan needed only to present evidence of self-defense sufficient to create in the minds of the jury a reasonable doubt. In a hearing on the motion, the mother of the victim testified to the history of violence in her son’s relationship with Susan. When asked if she considered the beatings her son gave Susan to be excessive, she replied, “Not any more than she deserved.” 41. The circumstances in Susan’s case were sordid. It is possible that I used the

word “bitch” in either this discussion about Susan’s case or in the discussion of a series of battered women self-defense cases in the textbook. If I had used that term – and I simply have no recollection whether I did - it would have been in reference to the hateful and wrongful attitude

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the male abusers had toward their female victims, and most certainly would not have been used with the intention of demeaning women in general or any student in particular. 42. Paragraph 2 again alleges -

e. “Hypotheticals in which Professor Connell ‘decided to shoot Dean Ammons and then blew her fucking head off;’” Answer: I admit using Dean Ammons’ name in hypotheticals for classes about the topic of attempted crimes. The remainder of the allegation is denied. 43. In their initial letter, the complainants wrote, “4. During the second half of the

semester after almost every single class, Professor Connell would name Dean Ammons as the victim in a hypo where he is the perpetrator who shots (sic) her.” They make no mention of my saying anything about “[blowing] her fucking head off.” 44. Their first mention of my saying anything about “[blowing Ammons’] fucking

head off” was in their November 19 meeting with Ammons and Kelly, a date that would have been at least seven months after the event allegedly occurred. In his report of his interview with the complainants, Kelly wrote, “5. The students indicated that at least ten times [Connell] used hypos in which the Dean was shot and he was the shooter. In one example, he posed the hypo that the Dean was dealing drugs out of her office. In relating another hypo he said “I decided to shoot Dean Ammons and then ‘blew her Fucking head off.’” (emphasis in Kelly’s report) 45. I never once used Ammons’ name in any hypothetical where she ever was shot.

The only hypos in which I used Ammons’ name occurred in two classes on the topic of attempted crimes. By definition an attempted crime is an incomplete crime. Thus, their claim that Ammons was “shot” and that I “was the perpetrator who shots (sic) her” is simply false.

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Moreover, their claim that I made such statements “[d]uring the second half of the semester after almost every single class” is sheer fabrication. 46. It has been nearly a year since I taught those attempts classes, but the following

is my best recollection of the Ammons’ hypos: At the start of our discussion of attempts, I posed three hypos that introduced the three main topics we would cover in that class and in the subsequent class (I believe there were only two). In each hypo I was the perpetrator and Ammons was the intended victim. 47. Scenario 1: Assume that Dean Ammons threatens to fire me (the irony of which

does not escape me!). I am angry and decide to teach her a lesson. I go out and buy a revolver and ammunition. I load the revolver and place it in my car the morning I am coming to class at school. I drive to school. I get out of my car with the revolver, but instead of coming to class, I walk up to Dean Ammons’ office. I open the door to her office, walk in and see her seated at her desk. I raise the weapon, aim it in the direction of Dean Ammons and fire. I miss, hitting a spot on the wall four inches above her head. Does it matter why I missed? Does it matter, for example, if my intention was not to kill Dean Ammons, but merely to scare her? This is the mens rea issue. What state of mind must I possess in order to be guilty of attempted murder? 48. Scenario 2: Same facts as 1, except that as I get out of the car and pick up the

revolver, Dick Tracy rushes in, wrestles me to the ground, and arrests me for the attempted murder of Dean Ammons. This the actus reus problem. How far along toward commission of the completed crime must I progress before I can be punished for attempted murder? Buying the weapon and ammo? Driving to school? Walking into the Dean’s Office with the revolver? Aiming the gun? Firing the gun?

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Scenario 3: Same facts as 1, with only one difference. I walk into the Dean’s

Office. I see her at her desk. I aim the gun. I fire the gun. Instead of hitting a spot on the wall four inches from the Dean’s head, however, I strike what I believe to be Dean Ammons, but it turns out that I’ve shot only a pumpkin that has been ingeniously painted to look like her. This is the impossibility problem. Can I be guilty of attempted murder for shooting at a pumpkin and not at a human being? Does it matter that I believed I had shot the Dean and not a pumpkin? 50. In the following discussion about the mens rea required for attempted crimes,

we discussed the general requirement that the actor must intend to commit the underlying crime. We then talked about how the prosecution might prove that I intended to kill Dean Ammons. May we simply infer my intent to kill from the fact that I was shooting in her direction? That might make more sense if the bullet had struck her, but what about my contention that I did not intend to kill, but simply intended to frighten her? I reminded the students of the burden-shifting due process issues associated with proof of intent that were raised in Francis v. Franklin, a case we studied earlier in the semester. 51. Although I have no present specific recollection of having done so, it is perhaps

possible that I may have said, “What if as I aimed the gun at Dean Ammons and said, ‘I’m going to blow your fucking head off!’ and then fired and missed?” It then would be perfectly clear from my statement what my intent was, but the act alone of shooting and missing is considerably more ambiguous. I allow for this possibility only because I do remember our discussing the inverse relationship between the degree of thought evidence and conduct evidence that a prosecutor might have. For example, if the defendant had confessed to the police and to various

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other witnesses his intent to complete the crime, then less conduct evidence might be necessary to establish the attempt. In the absence of any such thought evidence, however, more conduct evidence may be required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a defendant’s criminal intent (the “substantial step” test adopted by the MPC and many states reflects that principle). 52. I simply do not presently recall the specific language I may have used in that

discussion. I do believe, however, that the complainants have mixed up – intentionally or otherwise - what I said in the Dean Ammons hypo with what was said in the discussion of another case in the textbook, United States v. Watson, which I will address here shortly. 52. Coming back to the Ammons hypos, the main reason I remember anything

about them is because they were not part of my original plan for the class and I spontaneously made them up when my original plan went awry. My original plan was one that I had employed in several semesters before this one. My ingeniously painted pumpkin is generally a vocal student everyone knows who sits toward the back of the class (to make my mistaken perception more believable, of course!) and with whom I have a good rapport. The student who is the pumpkin, as well as the others in the class, seem amused by it and often remember the pumpkin hypo long after the attempts classes are over. 53. My plan went awry that day when I noticed at the beginning of class that the

student I had intended to use in my hypo was absent, I did not feel comfortable selecting another student for that role, so I quickly imagined a different scenario that would raise the mens rea, actus reus and impossibility issues and that could carry through our discussion into the next class. The Ammons hypos were what spontaneously came to mind. 54. Going back to the claim that I threatened to blow the Dean’s fucking head off,

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the more likely scenario is that the complainants have erroneously connected the Ammons hypos to a scenario from a case in the book, United States v. Watson, that we covered earlier in the semester. In Watson the words “Don’t move or I’ll blow your f___ing head off” were used in the case and I actually did say them. 55. In Watson the defendant was convicted of the first-degree murder of a police

officer, which required proof not only that Watson intended to kill the officer, but that he also killed with premeditation and deliberation. The police had stopped Watson because they believed he was driving a stolen car. Watson fled on foot and the police pursued him with guns drawn. Watson ran into an apartment building, where he entered the door of an open apartment. In a matter of minutes, one of the officers entered the apartment, with gun drawn, told Watson he was under arrest, to which Watson asked, “What for?” Watson then struggled with the officer as he attempted to handcuff Watson. 56. At this point, the following dialog, in effect, occurred (this plays out essentially

the same way each semester): Me: What happened next? Student #1: Watson then grabbed the officer, they struggled and Watson shot him. Me: Does everyone agree that’s what happened next? Student #2: No. The officer ordered Watson to cooperate or he’d shoot him. Me: Is that what he said? Students: (No response as various students page through the opinion) Me: (I role play the officer. Crouching in a shooting stance, imaginary gun in hand aimed in the direction of the class, I shake from the adrenalin rush of having chased Watson with gun drawn into the apartment, and, as Watson refuses to cooperate, scream: “Do you want me to blow your f_______ head off?” [Which is the precise quote from the case.]


My purpose for acting this out to the hilt is to convey the communicative effect

not only of words, but also of conduct. This, I suppose, qualifies as one of my “intimidating

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tactics to discourage other points of view particularly from women,” as Kelly puts it in summary of his interview with the complainants. I asked the students to visualize this scene between Watson and the officer playing out, as if they were there and caught it on a camera. 58. I frequently ask students to visualize an encounter, and to stop and analyze each

stage in the encounter, a technique I think that is particularly useful in their criminal procedure class. I want students to realize the truth posed by Justice Harlan that “words are often chosen as much for their emotive effect as their cognitive force.” The officer in Watson intended to send Watson a strong message. Watson, in turn, saw an officer on the verge of losing control and with the immediate capability of carrying out his threat. All of this is critical to understanding what Watson may have been thinking during the period in which he was claimed to have “premeditated” and “deliberated” the officer’s death. Providing the students with a vivid image, I hope, enables them to see the cases in a different light and reminds them that the dry words on a page are not merely an intellectual exercise. 59. Paragraph 2 again alleges -

f. “all criminals are poor and all poor are black folk;” Answer: This allegation is denied. I never made such a statement. The person making the allegation is biased with their own private agenda, but lacking knowledge of the person’s identity, I am unable to provide additional specificity as to bias. 60. Ammons and Kelly have lifted this statement from an anonymous student

evaluation from the fall 2010 Criminal Procedure Section B. Here is the entire quote from the evaluation: Seems that Prof. Connell has a fixed view on certain topics and I don’t think his view correctly illustrates the course info. Once in class Connell said “All criminals are poor Page 18 of 39

and all poor are “Black Folks.”” Basically I got from that “all “Black Folks” are criminals which (sic) TOTALLY incorrect.


The student’s alleged quote of mine contains no reference to time, place or

context. The statement is patently ridiculous and false, and clearly fabricated in such an outlandish way to express the student’s animosity toward me. The use of such a statement made by an obviously biased student whose credibility is incapable of determination – and failing to identify it as such in her Statement of Reasons – raises serious questions about the motives in pursuing this Dismissal for Cause action against me. This charge appears to simply be a pretext for other motivating reasons for my removal. 62. Paragraph 2 again alleges -

g. “racist and sexist comments are not [right] in the classroom;” Answer: The allegation is so vague and ambiguous that I cannot reasonably prepare a response. Without some context, date, time, subject matter, etc. it is impossible to respond to such a non-specific inflammatory and false statement other than to state that I never have made racist and sexist comments in any classroom and this is denied. The person making the allegation is biased with their own private agenda but lacking knowledge of that person’s identity, I am unable to provide additional specificity as to bias. Such a false allegation is per se defamatory under Delaware common law in that it directly reflects upon my professional teaching competence. 63. Paragraph 2 again alleges -

h. “Professor Connell’s ‘excessive use of profanity offensive,’”

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Answer: The allegation is denied, and so vague and ambiguous that I cannot reasonably prepare a response. 64. From the complainant’s depictions, one would imagine I were a drunken sailor

in a bar. How am I expected to respond to this? What is excessive? Every other word? Sentence? Class? Week? Month? 65. I do not use coarse language in class for the purpose of making students

uncomfortable. To quote Justice Harlan, “linguistic expression serves a dual communicative function: it conveys not only ideas capable of relatively precise, detached explication, but otherwise inexpressible emotions as well. In fact, words are often chosen as much for their emotive as their cognitive force . . . .” Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971)(California statute prohibiting the display of offensive messages such as "Fuck the Draft," violate freedom of expression as protected by the First Amendment). Justice Harlan recognized that “one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.” On the rare occasions when I have used coarse language in class, it generally has been done for the purpose of dramatic effect to drive home a point. Occasionally the coarse language is necessitated by the case under discussion, such as Watson, and the point to be drawn. 66. Paragraph 2 again alleges -

I. “He also called a female police officer ‘honey’ . . . . Referring to women as ‘honey’ implies that women are second class citizens;” Answer: This allegation is denied. The person making the allegation is biased with their own private agenda, but lacking knowledge of that person’s identity, I am unable to provide additional specificity as to bias.

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I have no idea to what this even refers. I have no recollection of ever having spoken of “female police officer[s].” What is the context? If I refer to my wife as “honey,” am I implying that she is a “second class citizen?” To turn the table, when the waitress at the Olive Garden refers to me as “honey,” does that imply that I am a “second class citizen?” This allegation is denied and it does not job my memory absent some context, date, time, subject matter, etc. 67.. Last, paragraph 2 again alleges -

j. “Referring to African Americans as ‘Black folk’ implies that they are uneducated, uncultured, and undeserving of respect by the justice system.” Answer: Denied. I have never said or implied that African-Americans are uneducated, uncultured and undeserving of respect by the justice system. The person making the allegation is biased with their own private agenda, but lacking knowledge of the person’s identity, I am unable to provide additional specificity as to bias.


In piling charges on, the Dean’s Statement of Reasons require me to shadow

box against unspecified charges not presented in writing to the tenured faculty in that she states in paragraph 2 that the allegations against me are “not limited to” items 2.a. through j. found above. Instead, the binder of charges that Kelly delivered to me on December 10, 2010, includes other documentation for the administration’s case against me which has not been put in writing before the faculty. The documentation falls into four distinct categories: (1) a letter of complaint from two students regarding my spring 2010 Criminal Law class, alleging four specific incidents of my “disrespecting racial minorities and women”; (2) additional grounds conveyed orally on

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November 19 and 22, 2010 to Ammons and Kelly by the two complainants, as well as by two other students from my fall 2010 Criminal Procedure Section B; (3) assorted comments from course evaluations written by students whose identities are unknown and incapable of being determined; and (4) a reference to a complaint filed in 1996 against me by a female student regarding comments about the student’s classroom attire I was alleged to have made in a bar, during a private conversation, and outside the presence of the student. I will discuss the four categories in order. A. The Letter of Complaint 69. The initial complaint to Ammons came in the form of a letter from two students

in my spring 2010 Criminal Law class. Although the letter is dated May 21, 2010, the complainants say in their letter that while they had “been working on this letter since May 2010,” they did not complete and deliver it to Ammons until after October 22, 2010. A time stamp on the letter shows that it was received by Kelly in the Dean’s Office on November 18, 2010, nearly seven months after the complainant’s final Criminal Law class. Because the complaint was neither written nor submitted on May 21, 2010, but rather submitted on November 18, 2010, I will call it the “November 18 letter.” 70. The November 18 letter is full of opinions, rather than facts, that have no

bearing on whether I have complied with the standards required for retention of tenure. For example, the complainants “suspect that [Connell] was, at the very least, uncomfortable around minority students and unsympathetic to the plight of victims of racially motivated crimes (among other things).” They further opine that “[Connell] seems to have a reputation for disrespecting racial minorities and women,” citing only the views of one alumna and a “minority student” who

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claimed to have been offended whenever Connell said “Black folk,” it being unclear if the student was offended by use of the word “black” or “folk.” 71. The complainants did, however, provide a list of four “specific comments” they

claim demonstrated my “minimal respect for racial minorities and women.” They provide little, if any, detail about when or in what context the comments were made, leaving me the impossible task of trying to reconstruct events that allegedly occurred a year ago. 72. The following are the four specific allegations, all of which I addressed

previously in this affidavit: “1. [D]uring class Professor Connell said that he finds a person who is shooting at black folks to be less dangerous than a person who is just shooting randomly. This was after we discussed a case about a man who shot into a home because he did not want black people moving into the neighborhood.” I addressed this allegation previously regarding the charges found in paragraph 2.a. above. “2. This case was about a man on trial for shooting at four young men who were trying to rob him on the subway. The court was determining whether he had used too much force because he continued to shoot even after they ran away and had been shot. The case book did not mention anything about the races of the defendants and or (sic) victims. In class Professor Connell said that the 4 men were black and that the defendant was white.” I addressed this allegation previously regarding the charges found in paragraph 2.b. above.

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“3. On the same day as #2, after class four students stayed to have a further discussion about one of the cases with the Professor, . . . .We were discussing the court’s reasoning for the case described above. . . . professor Connell said, “At that time Blacks were terrorizing people.” “You mean to tell me that you see two black men walking, you are not going to cross the street?” I addressed this allegation previously regarding the charges found in paragraph 2.b. above. “4. During the second half of the semester after almost every single class, Professor Connell would name Dean Ammons as the victim in a hypo where he is the perpetrator who shots (sic) her.” I addressed this allegation previously regarding the charges found in paragraph 2.e. above. B. Additional Oral Complaints of November 19 and 22 I. The Complainants’ Interview of November 19 73. On November 19, 2010, Kelly and Ammons interviewed the complainants.

Most of the allegations made in that interview have been previously addressed in my answer to Ammons’ Statement of Reasons. 73. As for others: The complainants told Ammons and Kelly that “[w]hile

discussing a statutory rape case involving a black female as a victim, Professor Connell stated . . . that it was obvious that her parents did not care about her. He then said she was (sic) “dirty little whore.” This allegation is denied. I reiterate as in paragraph 15 above the bias of these witnesses.

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First, no statutory rape case in the Kaplan and Weisberg book identifies the race

of a victim. You need not take my word for this. I’m sure that Professors Ritter and Henderson would attest to this fact since both of them have used the Kaplan and Weisberg casebook for many years. Furthermore, in contrast to the Goetz case, which attained national notoriety, there would be no way of my determining the race of a victim in a common statutory rape case. 75. The “dirty little whore” claim appended to the lie of the black statutory rape

victim is little more than an attempt to further demean me and to impugn my reputation. 76. The complainants never mentioned this incident anywhere in writing, and raised

it only in a meeting with sympathetic administrators which they thought would remain confidential. Moreover, this came only after the complainants met with like-minded students from my fall semester Criminal Procedure Section B who decided to join with the complainants in launching a collective campaign to destroy my good name and eliminate me from the faculty with a barrage of false per se defamatory aspersions and accusations. 77. Kelly also notes from the interview, “A significant concern of theirs was that

several students particularly African-American students avoid his classes if possible because of negative experiences with him or recommendations of others based on their experience. Several . . . do not apply for externships that he supervises because of his attitude.” 78. First, where is the record of all these students’ “negative experiences with

[me]?” What specifically are those “negative experiences?” Second, while I do not generally divide the composition of my classes into racial categories, there in fact were “African-American students” in my fall 2010 Clinical Externship program. One of those is student ____ _____, who in offering to testify on my behalf, volunteered, “I very much stand by you personally and by

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your highly effective teaching methods.” His statement can be submitted if this matter proceeds any further. II. The Witnesses’ Interviews of November 22 79. On November 22 Kelly and Ammons interviewed witness “C,” a student in my

fall 2010 Criminal Procedure Section B class. According to Kelly, student “C” “wondered why [Connell] continually referred to defendants’ race, but not to that of judges or police. Race is not relevant, she said.” 80. I remember a student, most likely “C”, saying precisely that in class on or

about October 26. I believe it was October 26 because the reading assignment for that date included a casebook note about racial profiling. 81. An excerpt from the casebook note exemplifies the tenor of the note: “That such

racial profiling happens is not speculative. In Maryland, from 1995 through 1997, a survey indicated that 70% of drivers stopped on Interstate 95 were African-Americans, although 17.5% of the traffic and speeders on the road were black. David Cole, No Equal Justice 36 (1999).” Dressler & Thomas, Criminal Procedure: Investigating Crime 402 (4th ed. West 2010). 82. Concerned that questioning the standard wisdom about race and investigative

stops was akin to swatting a hornet’s nest, I sent the following email to my students the week before the class: A common theme of our casebook seems to be that our criminal laws historically have been and currently are enforced in a racially discriminatory manner. On page 403, for example, the authors say "That such racial profiling happens is not speculative," and then proceeds to cite a list of articles by law professors to that effect. I wish the casebook authors had been a bit more evenhanded by offering counterviews. To that end I am providing you with links to a couple of articles by an author who persuasively contests those views:

Page 26 of 39 I personally believe it would be unfortunate for folks to leave this course with the impression that the criminal justice system is a corrupt one that is simply rigged against blacks and Hispanics. I am concerned that the casebook tends to reinforce that view.


In the class that followed, I reminded the students that we had already discussed

the cases of Whren v. United States and Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, and the degree of discretion police officers have been given to stop cars. We had already discussed how, given the Supreme Court’s decisions, police could justify pretty much stopping anyone in a car. I reminded the students also of the email I had sent and advised that, if they had not already done so, they should read the references I had sent and make up their own minds about the nature and extent of racial profiling. I added that statistics like those in the casebook were deceiving. 84. This year, I said, the New York Times took up the theme of race-based stops,

reporting that blacks made up 55 percent of all investigative stops in 2009, although they are only 23 percent of the city’s population, while whites accounted for only 10 percent of all stops, although they are 35 percent of the city’s population. The tenor of the NYT article was that New York police routinely engage in illegitimate racial policing. What the New York Times failed to mention, however, was that crime reports to the NYPD in 2009 revealed blacks committed 80 percent of all shootings in the first half of 2009, while blacks and Hispanics together committed 98 percent of all reported shootings in the city. I suggested that perhaps a better measure of whether police stops of blacks were “disproportionate” should entail a comparison of the percentage of blacks stopped to the percentage of blacks reported as perpetrators, rather than to the percentage of blacks in the population. Page 27 of 39


It was at that moment when a student I expect was witness “C” said, with

apparent frustration, she didn’t understand why I was making such a big deal about the race of defendants, that I never talk about the race of the police or the judges, and that race is simply irrelevant. I replied, in effect, that I wished race were irrelevant, but that the issue of racial bias in policing will never go away so long as blacks claim to be “disproportionately” stopped. I was not the one “making a big deal” about race. The issue of racial profiling is simply one that exists for the system to deal with every day. You students, I said, will be the prosecutors and defense attorneys who have to deal with this every day. Of course, innocent blacks bear the brunt of the problem by being subjected to these stops, but until the reality of urban crime changes, the issue of racial profiling will never end. 86. On November 22 Kelly and Ammons also interviewed witness “B,” another

student in my fall 2010 Criminal Procedure Section B. Kelly said witness “B” “indicated that Professor Connell (LC) frequently would not answer her questions and used body language in a dismissive manner.” She further said that “he uses facial expressions and gestures to trivialize questions, and he acts as if questions are not worth his time.” 87. I suspect that witness “B” is the same student who once, when I called on her to

answer a question, responded with a rambling narrative. I do not remember the specific topic or my question. I do remember, however, saying to her at the end of her narrative, “That’s all very interesting, but doesn’t really answer my question. Will you please answer my question?” To which she replied, “Why should I answer your question? You never answer mine!” There was an audible gasp from the class, at which point I had to make a split-second judgment of how to deal with her insubordinate tone. My choice was to smile and laugh, saying, “I tell you what: you

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answer my question first, then I will be glad to try and respond to any question you may then have.” Then she answered my question directly, and I asked, “So, is there a question I can answer now for you?” She demurred. 88. 89. The bias of such a witness against me should be self evident. Three or four students approached me in the classroom after that class and

apologized for the student’s behavior. Again, I just laughed and told them it was not a big deal, not to worry about it. 90. Witness “B” also reported to Kelly that “[h]er roommate who is in the class is

Caucasian. Her roommate would not be personally offended, but can understand that others with a different background could be.” If witness “B” is the same student as I suspect, then I believe her roommate is witness “A.” Witness “A” offered “that Professor Connell (LC) was one of her favorite professors. She thinks highly of him.” In speaking with “A” and “B” together outside of class, they volunteered to me how they are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, but manage to get along well personally. I suspect that if “A” had learned from her roommate, “B”, that she was going to complain to Kelly and Ammons, “A” most likely insisted on speaking with Kelly and Ammons in order to provide some balance. I further suspect that is the reason why Kelly and Ammons spoke to their one student with a viewpoint favorable to me. If this matter proceeds testimony from Witness A will be presented. C. Course Evaluation Comments by Anonymous Students 91. The use of course evaluation comments by a handful students, from among the

nearly 250 students I taught just in 2010, and whose identities are unknown and incapable of being determined, constitutes a highly unreliable, unprofessional and questionable basis for

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dismissal. By definition of the writers’ anonymity, there is no way for anyone to judge their credibility and their biases. They should be given no weight in determination of the existence or non-existence of cause for dismissal. D. The 1996 Complaint 92. Even more irrelevant than the course evaluation comments (if that’s possible)

must be the 1996 complaint alleging me to have made inappropriate comments about a student’s classroom attire when I was in a bar with a group of people not including the complainant and engaged in a private conversation. How an incident that was alleged to have occurred 15 years ago is relevant to an “ongoing pattern of behavior,” as Kelly put it in his letter of December 10, 2010, is beyond my present comprehension. 93. But it should be noted that Ammons’ Statement of Reasons dropped the specific

reference to the 1996 complaint. If needed in the future, my legal counsel has interviewed one current member of the Delaware Bar who was a witness to this incident and she is prepared to testify to disprove each and every allegation therein and to state what really happened.



The great weight of the Dean’s attempt to remove me is the false allegation that

I refused to cooperate in any way in investigating serious charges which had been brought against me. What really happened needs to be recounted to the faculty to remedy the one sided sanitized version of my emergency removal from the campus because I was a supposed threat to the physical safety of all faculty, students and staff.

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In early June 2010 Kelly summoned me by email to discuss an unspecified,

“serious” matter. I was out of town at the time and when I returned replied that I could come in at his convenience. Kelly responded that he was in Europe and that the matter could wait until his return. 96. In early August, Kelly once more summoned me with no additional information

about the topic of our conversation. When I appeared, Kelly told me that an attorney at the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Unit, had complained to Ammons that I had been “uncooperative” back in late 2009 about establishing a formal externship arrangement with his office. Kelly proceeded to question me about my dealings with the attorney, saying that the Dean was “angry” with me because in my not acquiescing to the attorney’s demands, he apparently approached the Drexel law school, which would. The gist of my disagreement with the attorney was that he was seeking students to work at least three days per week and I told him that because our Academic Code permitted a student to acquire no more than 4 credit hours in any one semester, our students could not work that many hours per week in an externship. We went back and forth by telephone and email, and at one point he asked if there anyone other than me who could address what I perceived to be a limitation of our Academic Code. I told him the Code was a matter for modification by the faculty, but that he could talk to the Dean directly about it. 97. At the end of my meeting with Kelly, he told me that Ammons was removing

me from my position as Director of the Clinical Externship Program effective January 1, 2011. When I asked Kelly the reason for my removal, noting that Ammons never heard my version of these events, Kelly replied that the Dean “wanted to go in a different direction” with the

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externship and that I was needed to devote more time to teaching additional sections of criminal law and procedure. I expressed disappointment that the Dean conveyed such a decision affecting me through Kelly, and did not do so personally. 98. A week or so after that meeting Professor Henderson returned from the summer

and stopped by my office to say hello. I invited him in and closed the door. I proceeded to tell him about my meeting with Kelly and the Dean’s decision. I told him I did not believe the reasons Kelly gave me for my dismissal as co-director of the externship program, and felt that this was a step toward their forcing me out. When our conversation ended, Professor Henderson left my room and, I thought, returned to his office. Within seconds after he left my office, I left my office for the bathroom. As I entered the bathroom, I saw Professor Henderson standing outside his office speaking with Professor Culhane. A couple minutes later, I returned to my office to find Kelly standing in the doorway. 99. He stepped out of the doorway and allowed me to enter my office. He then

followed me in, but instead of stopping a few steps inside the doorway, he followed me all the way up to my chair. He stood close, not more than a foot from me, which made me so uncomfortable that I did not sit down. He then said, “I hear you are telling people that we are trying to fire you. That’s not true and you know it. I told you why you were being removed from the externship.” I replied that I was not telling anyone that, but I was telling “people” that’s what I felt was happening to me. I asked him how he would feel if, after more than a decade serving as the director of a program, he was peremptorily dismissed from his position by the Dean and she never told him directly.

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I was shaken when Kelly confronted me. Apart from my wife, Professor

Henderson was the only other person with whom I had shared the information about my removal from the externship program. I did not believe that Henderson would have said anything about it to Culhane. After Kelly left, I checked with Henderson to see if he had told anyone about our conversation. He said he had not said anything to anyone about it. That confirmed my assumption that Kelly had somehow been eavesdropping on our conversation – which to one who teaches the Fourth Amendment is a particularly disturbing thought. 101. In the fall semester 2010, I found myself in the uncomfortable position of

team-teaching the Clinical Externship class with my appointed successor, Professor Sydney Howe-Barksdale. I also taught in the fall two sections of Criminal Procedure, sections A and B. The examination for both sections was administered during the afternoon of Friday, December 10.

I proctored one of the rooms for the section A exam. After collecting all the

exams at the end, I spent about twenty minutes talking with one of my students about her taking the Delaware bar exam. At about 5:00 p.m. I returned from proctoring to the Registrar’s Office, where I saw Kelly walking about in the hallway. When he saw me enter the Registrar’s Office, he approached me and directed me to accompany him because he needed to speak to me. He wouldn’t tell me what it was about. 103. When I asked for a moment to collect from the Registrar my handwritten

exams, Kelly told me curtly to “forget about the exams” and to come with him immediately. I accompanied Kelly to the Dean’s Conference Room, whereupon he directed me to sit down. At the table next to me was a man to whom I was not initially introduced. Kelly opened a binder,

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handed it to me, told me to read the opening letter and proceeded to question me about the contents of the binder. As he spoke, I skimmed the letter: “ . . . Discrimination and Harassment Code . . . . 1996 . . . ongoing pattern of behavior . . . cursing and coarse unprofessional behavior . . . demeaning people and groups . . . racist and sexist statements . . . directed at minorities and women . . . violent, personal scenarios that demean and threaten colleagues, administrative officials and students . . . contrary to professional standards for tenure . . . .” I was attempting to read and listen, while trying to figure out what in the world was happening to me. 104. Before saying anything else, I believe I first turned to the unknown man next

to me and asked him, “And you are?” The man said his name, which I do not remember, and identified himself as the Chief of Campus Security. Kelly resumed questioning me, and I remained shellshocked, alternately stumbling between trying to answer Kelly’s questions and trying to read various pages in the binder to which Kelly directed my attention. After some period of time, perhaps fifteen to twenty-five minutes later, Kelly told me to produce a written response to the materials in the binder by Tuesday, December 14. He said that we would meet again after that to discuss options before I would be allowed to teach again. 105. As I stood to leave, I agreed that I would file a response and said that I was

now going to the Registrar’s Office to pick up my handwritten exams. He told me not to return to the Registrar until the next day, Saturday, because the people in the Registrar’s Office needed time to copy the exams. I tried to clarify that I didn’t mean to pick up the Examsoft exams, but only the handwritten ones. He said he understood, adding that the handwritten ones were the ones that needed to be copied. I asked him what he was talking about, and why my handwritten exams needed to be copied. Kelly responded that it was simply a “precaution” in case I were to

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destroy the exams. Shocked and disgusted, I asked Kelly if he actually believed that, after twenty-five years at Widener, I would possibly destroy student exams. He responded, “It’s nothing personal. It’s simply a precaution.” The next day I emailed the Registrar to find out when my exams might be ready to pick up. Tammy notified me, and I went to school and retrieved my exams. 106. Over the next few days I reviewed the material in the binder and saw not only

the complainants’ letter of complaint, but also the student evaluations and materials about the 1996 complaint that Kelly included. What I did not see was any evidence that Kelly or Ammons had spoken with any of the other nearly 200 students in my 2010 Criminal Law and Procedure classes. Kelly’s and Ammons’ investigation looked more like an orchestration. 107. It dawned on me that this was not merely a question of what had happened in

my spring 2010 Criminal Law class, but was an all-out attack – seemingly coordinated by Kelly or Ammons or both – on me. I realized that I needed the assistance of counsel in defending myself, so on Monday I contacted Mr. Neuberger’s office for an appointment. I was told he would be in court through Tuesday and that we could not meet until Wednesday, the day after Kelly’s deadline. 108. On Tuesday, December 14, the deadline date, I asked Kelly for an extension of

time to respond so that I might have the opportunity to consult with my attorney. He gave me an extension until Thursday, December 16, to file a written reply, and said that we could meet no later than Friday, December 17. My attorney filed on my behalf a written reply to Kelly on December 16, denying the allegations and declining a further meeting with Kelly on December 17.

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Having been ambushed twice before by Kelly, I was not about to appear for

further interrogation without the assistance of my attorney. It was apparent to me that Kelly was no neutral arbiter of some student’s claim against me. He was an active participant in the creation of an affirmative case against me. His use of anonymous student evaluation comments, as well as the 15-year-old, so-called “harassment” claim, made clear that this was nothing the administration intended to settle amicably with me. 110. My encounter with him on December 10, coupled with his letter and

accompanying materials, insinuated that I was something evil and sinister. This point was only reinforced by his confronting me with the Chief of Security, as if I were a common criminal, and by his preventing my access to my exams. To compound my humiliation and fears, he had already gone on the written record with his letter to characterize my teaching methods as violent and threatening. 111. As an attorney who teaches and has practiced criminal law, I would never

recommend to a client who is under investigation by a prosecutor to speak alone with that prosecutor. I wasn’t about to do that myself. 112. On December 20, Kelly informed me that Ammons had placed me on

administrative leave, but gave no details of what that entailed. On January 12, Kelly directed me once more to “respond substantively in writing to the allegations” and to meet with him to discuss them. Furthering the impression that the administration considered me a threat to the community, he also informed me that I was barred from the campus, without prior permission from him or Ammons. The last thing Kelly informed me was that my failure to adhere to any of these directives would result in the initiation of dismissal for cause proceedings.

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Each time Kelly demanded a written response, I had provided him one by the

deadline date that denied all charges,. When Ammons directed me to meet with her so that she could present me with the formal Statement of Reasons for my dismissal, I came to Widener with my attorney. I had been instructed to go to the security office, which we did, where we were met and escorted to the Dean’s Conference Room by the Chief of Security. Once there, my attorney was barred from the room. Following my meeting with Ammons, Kelly, and George Hassel, the Vice President for Administration of the University, the Chief of Security was waiting to escort us back to our vehicles. Instead, Mr. Hassel instructed the Chief that he would escort us back and told me he was doing so to spare me any further embarrassment. He escorted us back to our vehicles, which were parked near the maintenance building, and observed us leave the campus. 114. I always made it clear in writing to Kelly and the administration that before I

could provide a written response to the notebook of charges against me I needed to see the actual documents provided to the administration. I had only been given expurgated versions of the written charges. Many redactions are found in the documents given to me. This is not simply the removal of the name of the charging party or witnesses against me. Instead, many lines of substantive allegations against me have been removed. 115. Before I committed my self in writing to a response in defense of myself I

insisted that the expurgated redacted substantive material be provided to me under a normal evidentiary rule of completeness so that I could determine what had actually been said about me and perhaps find therein something to use in my defense. However, the train had already left the station to discharge me and Kelly continually refused to provide me with what had actually been

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said in context about me. 116. And so with one hand tied behind my back in defending myself, unable to see

all the material submitted against me in context to seek helpful admissions against the interest of my accusers, I am submitting this affidavit to the faculty. If this matter proceeds further I am in the process of gathering three expert witness affidavits from law professors from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and other institutions as to the propriety of my teaching methods. I also have over two dozen students prepared to testify in my behalf and former students to explain that I have applied my teaching methods to white as well as black administrators in my teaching examples. 117. I submit that all charges against me must be dismissed. Now that context has

been given for any of my classroom remarks, there is no competent sworn evidence in the record on which any reasonable faculty members could conclude that anything racist, sexist or dangerous has even occurred in my classroom.

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School of Law

March 7, 2011 TO: Dean Linda Ammons & Professor Lawrence Connell FROM: Informal Committee of Inquiry RE: Dismissal for Cause Charges against Professor Connell

In our role as the Informal Committee of Inquiry, pursuant to Article V, Section 2, charged at this point in time to undertake efforts to informally resolve the status of the Dismissal For Cause Action commenced February 24, 2011 regarding Professor Lawrence Connell, and in light of the proceedings also now underway pursuant to Section 6 of The Widener University Faculty Member Discrimination and Harassment Code concerning Professor Connell, and in the interest of efficient resolution of these issues, we recommend withdrawal of the Dismissal for Cause Action, but without prejudice, thus preserving the possibility of the action being recommenced in the future upon re-filing. Respectfully, /s/ Alicia Kelly

Alicia Kelly, Associate Professor of Law /s/ Michael J. Goldberg

Michael J. Goldberg, Professor of Law /s/ Nathaniel Nichols

Nathaniel Nichols, Associate Professor of Law


Vice Dean J. Patrick Kelly Professor Jean Eggen, Tenure Committee Chair

Widener University, 4601 Concord Pike, P.O. Box 7474, Wilmington, Delaware, 19803-0474


March 14, 2011

Dear Committee Members: I respectfully do not accept the recommendation of the Informal Committee of Inquiry to withdraw the dismissal for cause charges, but without prejudice. Professor Connell's refusal to participate in the informal procedure under the University's Discrimination and Harassment Code is a serious breach of his obligations. First, no faculty member may refuse to participate in the Code. Second, no faculty member has the right to 'waive' the informal process; only the Complainant does. (This is because some Complainants will not wish to proceed to the formal procedure, preferring to attempt only informal resolution.) Third, there is no automatic right to counsel in any employment proceeding at a private institution. (As you know, the Code grants limited rights to counsel during various proceedings. The omission of a right to counsel simply means that no right has been granted by the Law School or University at the informal stage.) Finally, Professor Connell's refusal to participate in the informal process puts the University in an untenable position: it cannot simply proceed to the formal procedure, waiving the informal procedure, because the Complainants would have a valid claim that the University did not follow its Code procedures; and, it cannot proceed with the informal procedure because Professor Connell refuses to do so without counsel. This is unacceptable. However, in view of the recent filing of a formal complaint against Professor Connell, I am temporarily staying the dismissal for cause proceedings, pending the outcome of the Discrimination and Harassment Code hearing.

Linda L. Ammons, J.D. Associate Provost and Dean



CONTACT: Dan Hanson Director of Public Relations Phone: 610-499-4433 E-mail:

Statement Regarding Widener School of Law Discrimination and Harassment/Dismissal for Cause Procedures Chester, Pa.—The Widener University School of Law is committed to protecting the rights and interests of its students, faculty and staff. In connection with its legal obligations, the Law School is processing complaints lodged by certain students against Professor Lawrence Connell. The merits of those complaints have been, and will continue to be, examined in accordance with published procedures adopted by the Law School and agreed upon, in writing, by each and every faculty member of the Law School. To date, the administration of the Law School has declined to comment on the pending investigation for the protection of both the students and the faculty member involved. The Law School will continue to respect its obligations to Professor Connell and the students involved by not releasing any factual information relating to the pending complaints. However, the university has decided that an explanation of the procedure is necessary. All faculty members are entitled to utilize counsel to assist them should a complaint of discrimination or harassment move from the informal level to the formal process. The purpose of the initial informal process is to attempt, without any record of the proceeding, a resolution of a complaint acceptable to all parties. In the event that the matter proceeds to the next stage, all parties are given unredacted copies of all documents or statements. At the formal stage, all parties are entitled to have counsel assist them. Widener also has a procedure for dismissal for cause which has been adopted by the faculty and is set forth within Promotion Retention and Tenure Guidelines. The informal committee of inquiry is the first step of the process, ultimately resulting in a recommendation to the full tenure committee of the Law School for a formal hearing. At the formal hearing before the tenure committee, the faculty member has substantial procedural rights, including the right to representation by counsel and to confront and cross examine witnesses. Widener appreciates attempts by the press to respect its responsibility to maintain the factual basis of the allegations as confidential, in deference not only to the faculty member involved, but also, to the students who have the right to lodge formal complaints under the Discrimination and Harassment Code. Please be assured that Widener will continue to follow its stated procedures such that the rights of all involved are preserved and protected. ###











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