Tale of Woe: The death of the VQR's Kevin Morrissey
On John Casteen’s last official day in office as the president of the University of Virginia, a tragic story, one fit for the pages of the award-winning literary journal that he nurtured, began to unfold.
That Friday, July 30, the managing editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, 52-year-old Kevin Morrissey, took his own life. Since then, UVA has shrouded VQR behind a wall of silence, changing the office locks, launching an audit, and even routing all incoming telephone calls to the University's public relations office.
A Hook investigation reveals that behind the staid, Thomas Jefferson-designed exterior of VQR's headquarters swirl allegations of financial recklessness, conflicts of interest, and a bizarre pattern of management-by-email that drove a staffer to quit. Some say there was also a pattern of bullying that may have pushed a fragile man into tragic oblivion.
What’s more, according to a former VQR employee, University officials have known about some of the personnel problems for at least five years.
An ambitious editor
A group called the Workplace Bullying Institute minces no words about the situation, suggesting that Morrissey's boss, VQR editor Theodore H. "Ted" Genoways was a bully and that UVA was "unresponsive." But if Genoways has been cast as the problem, he also appears to be a key source of VQR's success.
Hired in 2003 at the tender age of 31, Genoways arrived with high hopes and high praise including President John Casteen's enthusiasm for his "energetic intelligence and visionary thinking."
He transformed VQR–- long known for publishing poetry and short stories on black & white pages–- with punchy, magazine-style theme issues and loads of full-color photography. Along with the new look came an expanded mission including hard-hitting non-fiction such as Toni Morrison's account of the long road to racial integration and an on-the-ground exposés on the capture of Saddam Hussein. Just three years after Genoways arrived, Casteen's enthusiasm seemed justified as the journal won two National Magazine Awards, bringing new prominence to VQR, and to its young editor.
For Maria Morrissey, however, the older sister of the late Kevin Morrissey, the success also brought heartache. Based on information she gathered from VQR staffers, University officials, police, and her brother’s own notes, Maria Morrissey portrays Genoways as someone who created a work environment so hostile it became unbearable.
"Our family is convinced," she says, "by all that we have learned since Kevin's death that, were it not for Genoways' relentless bullying, Kevin would be alive today."
Genoways, now receiving his own pummeling on blogs and comment boards, has mostly avoided responding to the charge.
"I don’t want to jeopardize a resolution," says Genoways, explaining why he's referring all questions to his lawyer. However, he did comment for a recent article on Morrissey’s suicide in the Chronicle of Higher Education, claiming that UVA had already "reviewed all the allegations being made against me and found them to be without grounds."
"That’s not true," counters Maria Morrissey, contending that UVA officials told her after the article appeared that that was false. Citing the confidentiality inherent in personnel matters, UVA spokesperson Carol Wood declines to clarify the dispute other than to note that "not everything" in the Chronicle story was true.
What is clear is that Genoways issued a statement on the matter far ahead of his employer. On August 1, two days after Morrissey’s death, Genoways broadcast an email informing friends and colleagues of the sad news and defending himself against the accusations. Considering the way that Genoways learned of his managing editor’s death, he might be excused for panicking.
'Please tell everyone I'm sorry'
After getting the devastating news about her brother that fateful Friday morning, sister Maria Morrissey learned something else: that Genoways had sent her brother an email accusing him of jeopardizing the life of a writer an hour before he shot himself. She says she confronted Genoways that afternoon by telephone.
"I introduced myself and asked him if he sent such an email to Kevin," says Maria Morrissey. "It was only after Ted had admitted to sending the email and justified his anger that I told him that Kevin had taken his own life. 'So it appears'," Morrissey says she told the award-winning editor, "'he felt the full weight of your accusation'."
Two days later, Genoways began his explanatory email by saying that, according to Morrissey’s family, his managing editor had "set out beside him–a suicide note blaming me." Maria Morrissey, however, says the note her brother left behind said no such thing.
"I said nothing to Ted on the phone that Friday about Kevin's note, as I hadn't seen it yet," she says. "Kevin had too much integrity to blame anyone for his death. Kevin’s note simply said, 'Please tell everyone I’m sorry. I know they wouldn’t understand, but I simply can’t bear it any longer.’ That’s it."
Later that evening, members of the Morrissey family say they received calls from UVA’s chief operating officer Leonard Sandridge, who offered the University’s full support and said he would remain available throughout the night.
'The toast of the publishing world'
"I will never forget the firm, enthusiastic handshake [Morrissey] gave me when they called out the award for General Excellence at the National Magazine Award ceremony in 2006," wrote Genoways in his explanatory email. "We were the toast of the publishing world that night. We received a phone call on our way out to tell us that the Washington Post would be declaring us the industry's big winner for the year."
Indeed, 2006 was a very good year for VQR. Under Morrissey and Genoways, the magazine had been nominated for six "Ellies," the highest accolades in the magazine world. At the May 9 awards banquet at [New York's] Lincoln Center, VQR took the General Excellence Award for magazines with circulations under 100,000. Perhaps more surprisingly, it took home the Fiction Award, edging out such heavyweights as The Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, Esquire, and Harper's.
As Slate put it, "It was as if a scrappy farm team had demolished the Yankees in an exhibition game."
On the big night, however, Genoways noticed that Morrissey had slipped away to his hotel room instead of celebrating and that "his mood darkened in the years that followed." Genoways described how Morrissey, whom he had once considered a close friend, grew increasingly distant. Even his family members concede that he had distanced himself from them in recent years.
"I never had any illusions," Genoways wrote, "about who Kevin was. He was prickly, mercurial, often brooding. As Kevin struggled through these issues," Genoways continued, "particularly in the last year, his work suffered, and his demeanor, to my mind, was often unacceptable for the workplace."
Genoways went on to accuse Morrissey’s siblings of "repeatedly calling and e-mailing" him since Morrissey’s death, personally threatening to end his career, and implying that he was responsible for their brother’s death.
"They tell me that the majority of the staff agrees with them," wrote Genoways, who expressed resignation over the fact that his staff might hate him, adding "And perhaps they do."
However, while Genoways admitted that office conflicts likely fueled Morrissey’s depression, he said he could not accept blame for his death. Genoways then asked the email's recipients for help completing VQR's fall issue.
A call to 911
"He was occasionally grumpy, no doubt," said Sheila McMillen, VQR’s associate editor and circulation manager, during an August 6 memorial service, "but he was an honorable man–- decent, generous, kind, and reliable as sunrise."
Without a college degree, Morrissey had become the managing editor of one of the country’s leading literary journals. He lived alone, loved his work, enjoyed cooking, and considered his co-workers his friends. But they say he also suffered from depression, for which he was currently taking medication, nearly all his life.
VQR associate editor Molly Minturn told mourners at the ceremony held at Newcomb Hall that Morrissey had a sense of humor–- even about the future of the publishing industry, which has been hammered in recent years by technological advances that have begun pushing the printed page toward obsolescence.
However, Morrissey, she said, expressed excitement about e-books, an excitement Minturn did not share.
"We often argued about this," she said.
However, Minturn said Morrissey appeared to concede when he forwarded her a link to a New Yorker story about a burlesque show where dancers, dressed like librarians, slowly remove their clothes and suggestively rub their bodies with books.
"Could this be done with e-books?" wrote Morrissey.
Although friends and family say Morrissey could laugh hard enough to make his whole body shake, they were aware of the depression that could send him to particularly dark places.
"But he always got out of those," recalled Morrissey’s friend and former lover, writer Gwenyth Swain, the person to whom he had addressed his farewell note. "I had such hope he would again."
Unfortunately, Morrissey made other plans.
At 11:24am that Friday, the Charlottesville/Albemarle Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call from a man who said he wanted to report a shooting downtown near the old C&O coal tower. Police responded immediately, and when Charlottesville detective Lisa Reeves arrived just beyond the eastern terminus of Water Street she found a middle-aged white male with a fatal head wound. Beside him was everything police needed: a handgun, a driver’s license, and a will with contact numbers for family and University officials. The short typed note to Swain was attached.
The sole beneficiary of Morrissey’s will, Swain told a story that moved many mourners to tears.
"His life was going into such upheaval that week," said Swain, "but he thought to send a card and a gift to my son for his birthday that arrived on Saturday."
On Monday, August 2, the day after her son’s birthday, Charlottesville police called to give Swain the news while her son, she said, was on the floor beside her playing with Morrissey's present. "It was my son’s favorite gift," said Swain.
"He was very thoughtful and always planned things out thoroughly," one friend said at the memorial. "Kevin never did anything by accident."
Despite having enthusiastically endorsed Genoways’ hiring and having long allowed VQR to report directly to his office, former President Casteen did not attend the August 6 memorial. While attempts to reach Casteen were unsuccessful, UVA spokesperson Wood says Casteen was out of town that day. Meanwhile, incoming president Teresa A. Sullivan was busy giving her first press conference. And while the University covered the Morrissey family’s traveling expenses, lodging, and even catered the service in Newcomb Hall’s piano room, no University official spoke.
In a slideshow that played throughout the ceremony, photos showed Morrissey as a young man– he was a high school track star– as well as myriad images with other VQR staffers in the office and around town. There were no photos of Genoways.
Stranger still, Genoways, who had befriended Morrissey while the two worked together at the Minnesota Historical Society Press, and who would bring Morrissey to Virginia in 2004, was absent as well. In fact, during the two-hour funeral, Genoways' name was never mentioned.
And while all current staff and several past VQR staffers and interns were there, the most controversial new VQR employee–- a 24-year-old woman–- was not.
A pattern of bullying?
According to sources close to VQR– and based on several emails that seem to document certain incidents–- Genoways had a tendency to berate the person he hired as his right-hand man. But Genoways, who holds an untenured, general faculty post in the English Department, didn't reserve his temper just for Morrissey.
"He also did this once to Jahan Ramazani, chair of the English Department, who had dropped by to tell Genoways that the English Department would not grant the tenure-track position he wanted," says a source who allegedly heard the argument. "The door was closed," says the source, "and he was roaring."
The Hook attempted to contact Ramazani to confirm this, but he had not responded by press time.
Last February, a Temple University professor and former literary journal editor, Don Lee, got a dose of Genoways' wrath. On behalf of a student, Lee contacted Genoways to urge VQR's consideration of a story the student had submitted a month earlier; but the following day, Lee informed Genoways that the student’s story had just been accepted elsewhere.
"What the f***, Don?," Genoways scolded Lee. "I forwarded this message with instructions to read the story right away to one of our interns, the chair of our fiction board, and to one of our associate editors. You added hours of unnecessary work to an already overburdened staff." Genoways informed Lee that he and his student were "tarnishing" their reputations.
"This behavior would piss me off no matter who perpetrated it, but I can't believe it coming from you, Don. You were at this racket forever. You know better."
Lee declines to comment on the exchange.
Away on a Guggenheim
As VQR grew from a slim black and white journal to a thicker, full-color magazine, it wasn't just the printing bill that increased.
"We were overwhelmed by expenses," says a former employee. "Ted was hired, I think, because Casteen wanted someone who could better promote the magazine and make it more prominent. But it was costing a small fortune."
Following VQR’s success at the National Magazine Awards in 2006, UVA’s Board of Visitors approved a $117,000 operating budget increase. By 2009, the magazine, published four times a year, had two more such Awards and an annual operating budget of nearly $600,000, with about half the money from the state and the rest from various endowments and funds.
According to VQR's website, circulation is 7,000, but sources indicate that subscriptions have fallen precipitously since the website was updated and that subscription revenue barely dents the overall budget. The Hook has filed a request for financial records.
In the Chronicle article, journalist Elliott Woods, a former VQR intern and recent contributor, defends Genoways by calling him the "creative genius responsible for the magazine's success " and the "fulcrum of the discussions" about the "future of VQR and, honestly, the future of journalism."
However, Genoways also appears to have served as something of a financial fulcrum for Woods. In a June 22 email obtained by the Hook, Genoways asks staff to pay Wood $6,000 for an Afghanistan story and an advance on travel expenses, hefty pay by VQR's historic standards.
According to a former VQR employee, the previous editor, Staige Blackford, typically limited compensation to just $10-$15 a page, no matter what the writer's status, with travel expenses not covered, and advances unheard of.
"We never lacked in the number of manuscripts we received," says the former employee. "People were submitting to Staige because they wanted to be in the magazine."
It turns out that Genoways offers publication assistance in more than just a magazine. Two years ago, in his role as VQR editor, he organized a series of poetry books to be published by the University of Georgia Press and described on the VQR website as "some of the freshest, most accomplished poetry being written today."
Surprisingly, among the first six titles was a book by the president's son, John Casteen IV and a book each by two members of VQR's own advisory boards. There was even a volume penned by Genoways himself. All these books have won praise from reviewers, with Genoways' own title garnering Pulitzer Prize-winner Natasha Trethewey's favor as a "beautiful book."
And yet with Genoways himself noting that book publication is practically a prerequisite on the creative writing career ladder and with four of the six titles emerging from VQR family, he has faced allegations of self-promotion and presidential nepotism.
"My book had to be sent out to two anonymous outside readers and then approved by the press’s advisory board," he maintains in a blog comment. That VQR paid a $2,000 per title subsidy (from a special $2,500 per year "discretionary fund" in his case), Genoways argues, shows there's no conflict of interest in getting his or the president's son's poetry published.
Genoways himself earns a compensation package, including benefits, that now stands at $170,000, which is far more than UVA's average pay for an associate professor and more than double what UVA typically pays an assistant professor, the lowest rung on the tenure track. In fact, in the English department, one of the most prominent faculty members, the former Poet Laureate of the United States, Rita Dove, earns about the same as Genoways.
Morrissey was earning around $80,000, and there was even a full-time online editor earning around $70,000 by the name of Waldo Jaquith, well known in Charlottesville as an avid blogger and political dabbler.
"We celebrate one another’s birthdays, have dinner at each other’s houses, and go out socially regularly," Jaquith writes on his blog, noting that one employee’s young daughter knew Morrissey as "Uncle Kevin.”
Such an insular office would hit a major hurdle as communication breakdowns intensified as Genoways began spending large amounts of time outside the office over the past year, say sources. Besides attending publishing conferences, Genoways precipitously shrank his face time in June when he began a $35,000 Guggenheim fellowship. In his absence, according to UVA spokesperson Carol Wood, he put Morrissey firmly in charge. Or so it seemed.
An intern ascendant
In one of the most unusual aspects of Genoways's management, he reportedly asked his staffers to read all his incoming emails and forward anything deemed pressing. His frequent absences drove this policy, he allegedly explained.
At least one staffer–- concerned that reading someone else's emails might violate University policy– refused to participate. And in the early days, the bizarre policy merely created embarrassing moments; however, the scheme appears to have eventually played a role in Morrissey's fateful decision.
An already awkward atmosphere escalated last fall when Genoways inserted another factor into the office dynamic: a young woman whose previous experience seemed as geared to money as it was to publishing. Before long, she'd be convening meetings with staff about the future of their jobs.
The woman was a 2007 UVA graduate, Alana Levinson-LaBrosse, who studied under the prestigious Echols Scholarship program and then earned a masters in English education at UVA's Curry School. After making a seven-figure donation to Curry, she was asked to join the Curry foundation's board of directors as its youngest member.
Doors were also opening at VQR.
"Alana just showed up at the office one morning last November," says a source, who points out that her title as assistant editor and development manager soon appeared on the magazine's masthead. "Genoways told the staff she was going to be an intern, but she had business cards and was traveling on VQR's dime."
While some might consider hiring a donor as a development official to be a potential conflict, Levinson-LaBrosse was no ordinary donor. In addition to the $1.5 million she gave UVA's Young Writer's Program, her father (also holding two UVA degrees) is a Silicon Valley science business titan, who committed $20 million to UVA a decade ago.
The relationship between the boss and the young fundraiser raised eyebrows, particularly after Levinson-LaBrosse accompanied Genoways on business trips, says a source. Although the source asserts no evidence suggesting any improper behavior between Genoways and Levinson-LaBrosse, the source claims that office morale sank when Levinson-LaBrosse became the only staffer in regular contact with Genoways.
"Her desk was in his office, and they would often be in there with the door closed," says the source. "They would discuss VQR business without involving Kevin."
Another source claims the hiring of Levinson-LaBrosse occurred without the usual staff input. More seriously, says the source, it occurred without the usual advertisement and competition to ensure compliance with equal-opportunity law. Attempts to contact Levinson-LaBrosse resulted only in contact with an old family friend, a lawyer, who referred the question to UVA, which has declined to clarify the hire.
"Having a 24-year-old camped out in the private office of a manager would be dealt with just about instantly at any private company," author John Bruce complains on his blog. "Not so with Genoways at UVA, apparently."
However, according to various sources, Genoways had ample reasons to bring in a person with access to capital. Under his tenure, VQR had burned through most of its own rainy day fund. According to sources close to former editor Blackford, during his 28-year tenure, he had simply banked what he didn't spend each year, creating a pool of money that stood, when he announced his retirement seven years ago, at approximately $800,000.
In June 2003, just a week before his planned retirement, the 72-year-old Blackford died after the Volvo station driven by his wife was struck by a Jeep on Emmet Street.
Through his lawyer, Genoways– asserting that president's office accountants suggested a use-it-or-lose-it approach– concedes that he has drawn the fund down to $305,000. With the money that helped catapult VQR to such heights running out, Genoways had a good reason to feel anxious about a change at the top of the University.
"If excellence is no insurance, history no buffer," Genoways wrote in a May 2009 essay on the future of university journals, "then our security lasts only as long as our current president."
One month later, President Casteen would formally announce his retirement. And through his lawyer, Genoways concedes that he felt some anxiety when the president's office notified him in May of this year that VQR would have to find a new home.
A close office unwinding
What happened with Morrissey began unfolding during a July 14 staff meeting. Genoways wasn't there, but Jaquith (who declines to comment on the incident) made a wisecrack that may have offended Levinson-LaBrosse.
In a July 19 email obtained by the Hook, Genoways, who had put Morrissey in charge of the magazine during his Guggenheim leave, accused him of “unacceptable workplace behavior” and ordered him out of the office.
“If you are already at VQR office,” Genoways wrote in the emailed edict, “leave immediately and do not return to the office until July 26.”
Genoways, who didn't specify what the unacceptable behavior was, also ordered Morrissey not to attend any meetings, perform any editorial tasks, or represent VQR in any way, or discuss the email. (Still, Genoways said he expected Morrissey to work normal hours from home.) Worst for someone who had considered his colleagues his family, Genoways told Morrissey not to talk to his co-workers.
"These are all classic tactics employed by bullies," writes Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute, in an article on the VQR situation. "They are not completely unlike torture."
Morrissey responded by pleading ignorance to any exile-worthy transgression. And, as instructed, he left the office.
During the week-long office ban July 19-23, sources say that he embarked on frequent communications with officials in UVA's human resources, ombudsman's, and president’s offices. His cell phone records, his sister says, show 18 such pleas for help.
On his blog, Jaquith explains that simply quitting wasn't much of an option for a well-paid editor who had recently purchased a downtown condominium. More crucially, Jaquith emphasizes the emotional connection shared by staff.
"For any of us to quit our job," Jaquith wrote, "we would also be giving up on spending forty hours a week with dear friends, friends who we would have been abandoning to a difficult working environment."
Sources say the entire staff of VQR, minus Genoways, pleaded with officials at a meeting held in the president’s office for assistance over their work environment. A source close to VQR says that an HR official told them that VQR "had always been handled differently because it’s the president’s baby."
According to a handwritten note found among Morrissey’s belongings, HR manager Angelee Godbold assured Morrissey that the stay-at-home edict violated UVA policy and that she would try to get him back in his office. His persistence was beginning to pay off.
On Monday morning, July 26, President Casteen’s chief of staff, Nancy Rivers, with Genoways in the room, met separately with Morrissey and Jaquith. A source says Jaquith asked Genoways to explain why he instituted the week-long ban. Unsatisfied with Genoways' answer, which included accusing Jaquith of "behaving in a unprofessional manner" toward Levinson-LaBrosse, Jaquith tendered his resignation on the spot.
On Tuesday, July 27, sources say that Genoways was called to the President's office, reprimanded for his treatment of his employees, and told not to retaliate. It turns out this wasn’t the first time that the President’s Office had to deal with abuse complaints in the VQR office.
"I can understand why Kevin did what he did," says Candace Pugh, a former VQR employee who worked for the magazine for 32 years before, she says, she was "forced out" by Genoways in 2005. "That man should not be in charge of other people. He’s a danger," she insists.
Pugh says she contacted officials in the President’s office and made a harassment complaint against Genoways, who allegedly ordered her out of the office she had occupied for three decades and routinely reprimanded her for not doing her job.
"I was at the end of my rope," says Pugh.
In an attempt to deal with the problem, the President’s office handed the responsibility of supervising VQR employees to Morrissey, says Pugh. However, she claims the harassment continued. In the end, after Pugh hired a lawyer, the University offered a one-year severance package under the condition that no lawsuit would be filed.
"Ted wanted his own staff, and wanted me out of there," says Pugh. "I finally decided it wasn’t worth it anymore. And the President’s office just stood by and let it happen."
UVA spokesperson Wood, asserting personnel confidentiality, points to the varied work between HR officials and staff as evidence that UVA was attempting to deal with personnel situations. "In the wake of Mr. Morrissey's death," Wood writes in an email, "the University continues to work with all members of VQR staff to address and resolve these issues."
The final week
The last week of Morrissey’s life, HR officials informed VQR staff that they would invite in a mediator. Days before Morrissey’s death, one staff member allegedly informed an HR official that staff "feared that Kevin was suicidal." And, according to someone close to Morrissey, during a lunch with an official from the president’s office on the Tuesday before he died, the exiled managing editor broke down and cried. According to another source, UVA's Director of faculty and staff employee relations, Alan Cohn, told a staff member that he realized the situation called for "immediate intervention," but added that, "it may take some time."
On Wednesday, July 28, two days before Morrissey’s suicide, sources say that the president's chief of staff Rivers finally informed VQR staff that "it would stop." Apparently, she also pleaded with Jaquith to remain on board, but to no avail, as Jaquith had by then accepted a job at the Miller Center. (In the wake of Morrissey's death, however, he agreed to help complete the fall issue.)
Sources say the staff, convinced that something was finally going to be done, expressed relief. Everyone except Morrissey. According to a source, he seemed glum, and when asked what the matter was, the response was simple: "When Ted retaliates for all this, it will come down on me."
As Morrissey feared, he and another staff member, despite the University’s assurances, received angry emails from Genoways on Friday.
The email to associate editor Molly Minturn, sources say, so upset her that she took it directly to the president’s office and HR. Reportedly visibly shaken, she was unofficially diagnosed with "post-traumatic stress syndrome" by HR counselors, who suggested she go on medical leave. And that was before she heard the news about Morrissey.
The email sent to Morrissey may have been upsetting as well. Three days after Morrissey had asked Genoways if he wanted to respond to an email by a Mexican journalist covering that nation's deadly drug wars, Genoways accused Morrissey, by not forwarding the email to Genoways sooner, of endangering the journalist's life.
"I found that email open on Kevin's iphone," says Maria Morrissey. "It was sent from Ted at 9:47am. Kevin wrote his suicide note about an hour later."
"Do you know what book he was reading?" asks Maria Morrissey. "We found it in on his desk in his apartment, covered with notes. He was reading a book called Working with the Self Absorbed: How to Handle Narcissistic Personalities on the Job."
'A gifted, charismatic editor'
"There is no doubt that Ted is a gifted, charismatic editor," says Greg Britton, who worked with Genoways at the Minnesota Historical Society Press. "But that is not the same as being a good manager. Universities sometimes overlook that when they hire star scholars. They assume that if someone excels at one thing, they will be good at the other."
UVA psychiatrist and suicide lecturer Bruce Cohen points out that suicide is a behavior, not a diagnosis, and that 90 percent of victims possess a psychiatric condition– most often depression. But Cohen adds that genetic background, limited family support, and workplace stress can definitely contribute.
"Often it's a confluence of those factors," says Cohen. "It's important to look at the whole picture."
“While it’s premature to make final judgments on what happened here,” says Professor David Yamada, Director of the New Workplace Institute at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, “the basic scenario of workplace bullying, in an academic setting, targeting of a vulnerable individual, an employer ignoring pleas to intervene, with suicide as a consequence, is not over the top."
Yamada points to the case of Jodie Zebell, a 31-year old health care worker who took her own life in 2008 after allegedly enduring months of workplace bullying. Her case was heard earlier this year when a Wisconsin state legislative committee deliberated a new law banning such treatment.
According to a 2007 Zogby poll, 37 percent of those surveyed said they had suffered on-the-job bullying. As Time magazine recently pointed out, workers who are abused due to specifics of race, nationality, religion, and sex are protected by certain laws but that few laws protect against "plain old viciousness.”
However, a bill moving its way through the New York state legislature seeks to address that. In May, the state senate passed the New York Healthy Workplace Bill, which would allow workers to sue over “physical, psychological or economic harm due to abusive treatment on the job.” If passed, worker’s rights advocates like Yamada say it could lead to more legislation across the country. And Yamada contends that bullying in an academic setting, where people are adept at intellectual analysis, manipulation, and argumentation, can be particularly vicious.
"Of course, exquisitely rationalized actions and explanations occur in many organizations," says Yamada, "but in dysfunctional academic settings, they often rise to an art form."
A reporter's August 16 knock at the door of the VQR office, designed by Jefferson as a dining hall, finds all the surviving employees hard at work on the latest issue. Two employees, however, are missing: Genoways and Levinson-LaBrosse. Ensconced at a table in the center of the main room is UVA spokesperson Carol Wood. She offers a sandwich to a visiting journalist but declines to comment on Genoways employment status, other than to say he remains on his Guggenheim Fellowship leave. As for Levinson-LaBrosse, Wood says she's on vacation.
Wood wrote the official UVA press release on Morrissey’s death, which includes no mention of or comment from Genoways. Asked why that was, and why he hadn’t attended the memorial service, Wood refers all questions back to Genoways, who, as already mentioned, is now speaking through a lawyer.
"He’s concerned about the allegations and the insinuations floating around," says the lawyer, Lloyd Snook. "We haven’t seen the suicide note that apparently says nasty things about Ted," says Snook, apparently unaware that such a note didn't exist.
Snook says there's "a natural impulse to want to blame someone or something when something like this happens," and that Genoways has been wondering if there were any things he should have done differently. "But it’s clear that Kevin had been clinically depressed," Snook emphasizes, "for many, many years."
Unprompted, Snook mentions the financial audit that UVA has begun at VQR. "That will settle a lot of things," says Snook. "You know, financial issues were Kevin’s responsibility."
When the Hook asked Wood if Morrissey might have done anything improper concerning finances at VQR, she was emphatic.
"I want to make it very clear that any implication that Kevin was involved in any kind of improper conduct concerning VQR finances is totally untrue," says Wood, noting that the audit is a standard procedure when the employee in charge of money isn't available to transfer the data.
In 2006, with VQR riding high on its success at the National Magazine Awards, Genoways took time out to be the subject of a Hook HotSeat feature.
"The awards are a tremendous honor," Genoways told the Hook. "That's as high as it goes in the magazine world, our Pulitzers. Or as actress Meg Ryan said at the after-party, I guess every industry has its Oscars."
Maria Morrissey, however, suggests that the University's quest for success should include a new priority.
"I hope some good can come out of this," she says. "That’s my new cause– that there’s some major policy change concerning workplace bullying at UVA."
–with additional reporting by Hawes Spencer
–We reported that Ted Genoways was “called to the President’s office, reprimanded for his treatment of his employees, and told not to retaliate” on Monday, July 26. That meeting actually took place on Tuesday, July 27.
–We reported that Mr. Morrissey was earning around $70,000, and that full-time online editor Waldo Jaquith was earning around $80,000, suggesting that Jaquith was making more than his supervisor. Actually, it was Morrissey who was making over $80,000 with benefits and Jaquith who was making close to $70,000 with benefits.
–We reported that Waldo Jaquith (who declined to comment on the incident) made a “wisecrack” that may have offended Levinson-LaBrosse during a July 14 meeting, leading to the unsanctioned office ban that Genoways ordered. However, a reliable source now says that Levinson-LaBrosse was upset, and said so, not because of the wisecrack, per se, but because Jaquith asserted that Morrissey should be present at a meeting with the Vice President for Research’s office at which the VQR staff would be assigned new positions.
–We incorrectly gave the location of Lincoln Center. It is in New York, not Washington.
VQR managing editor takes his own life
Sullivan announces 'thorough’ investigation of VQR operations
Morrissey’s plight: As Sullivan probes, new VQR details emerge
Genoways takes charge, VQR staffers pull names
@after-- Please reread the part of the article pertaining to Ms Levinson-LaBrosse, whom you bizarrely keep referring to as "the intern."
1) She was brought in as an intern, but shortly thereafter was unilaterally given the title Assistant Editor and Development Director. And then "Before long, she’d be convening meetings with staff about the future of their jobs."
2) The article states: "office morale sank when Levinson-LaBrosse became the only staffer in regular contact with Genoways." And Ã¢â?¬Å?They would discuss VQR business without involving Kevin.” And also "the hiring of Levinson-LaBrosse occurred without the usual staff input. More seriously, says the source, it occurred without the usual advertisement and competition to ensure compliance with equal-opportunity law."
THIS is the crux of the matter. Ms Levinson-Labrousse may well be a lovely, smart, competent person. She may have been a good Development Director for VQR. People are criticizing Mr Genoways' abysmal management style, a style that was apparently designed to create discord and keep staff tense and worried about their jobs. He appears to have treated his new employee with a great deal more respect and consideration than he did the other staff members. And his subsequent actions most likely served to rub their faces in it.
@Anissa-- you are a good friend to the Genoways. I hope they appreciate your support. But no one here has criticized the Genoways family. He's probably a good neighbor, dad and husband, etc etc. But that doesn't mean he can't be a bad manager who was sometimes cruel to his staff. Where there's smoke, there's fire. Apparently smoke has been pouring out of the VQR office for some time now.
Since the topic has turned to what the alleged inappropriate workplace behavior that Mr. Genoways accused Mr. Morrissey of was, I feel compelled to remind folks of the correction that was made on 8/20:
"We reported that Waldo Jaquith (who declined to comment on the incident) made a Ã¢â?¬Å?wisecrack” that may have offended Levinson-LaBrosse during a July 14 meeting, leading to the unsanctioned office ban that Genoways ordered. However, a reliable source now says that Levinson-LaBrosse was upset, and said so, not because of the wisecrack, per se, but because Jaquith asserted that Morrissey should be present at a meeting with the Vice President for Research’s office at which the VQR staff would be assigned new positions."
Now, that is hardly a complete picture of events, as we don't have Ms.Levinson-LaBrosse side of the story, but the Hook can confirm that the alleged inappropriate workplace behavior that Mr. Genoways was talking about took place at that meeting.
"Evwimo August 28th, 2010 | 4:34 pm
Consider the legal doctrine of Ã¢â?¬Å?respondeat superior” on UVA’s involvement: what they knew, when they knew it, and what they did or did not do which contributed to this tragedy. UVA will almost certainly improve their workplace rules and employee training program."
It is not at all certain, or clear, that the University will do anything at all, or anything substantive. Past patterns of inaction, include denial of the seriousness of the issues or problem, and/or re-framing the problem or the issue as a private institutional matter not reportable or accountable to the public, and/or blaming the problem on some source the University says it cannot control.
For, example, despite repeated violations of its own policies forbidding discrimination - not giving benefits to gay and lesbian families of employees, as it does to families of other employees - the University employs all three tactics : the University does not believe that discrimination against lesbian, gay, and transgender employees and their families is a problem serious enough to study (there has been no forum, hearing, study or report on the topic); the University hasn't published any data that it does have about actual or perceived burden of discrimination and workplace inequity on lgbt employees, hasn't published any data on complaints of discrimination and how they were handled, etc; the University says that State law compels them to discriminate, or, that, since State law doesn't recognize lgbt people as protected from discrimination, that means that the University can do what it pleases, since State law lets them do it, and they can call it 'all in a good day's work' rather than calling it discrimination.
So, watch for any or all of these 'classic' tactics with regard to the many and diverse workplace issues raised by this incredible story. Oh, also watch for another 'classic' tactic: distract and elude.
But, it is certainly that case, as many in the blog have indicated: organizational dysfunction if involved and culpable (morally culpable, if not legally culpable).
What might anyone do to ensure transparency, effective attention, and correction action:
The Hook, and other media:
pursue local legislators, Toscano and Bell, to get them on the record WHAT bills they will introduce in the legislature regarding workplace bullying and accommodation of mental illness in the workplace - all workplaces! pursue the roots of this story in organizational function, and dysfunction; and pursue organizational response to its conclusions
Other commentators who are great researchers about conflicts of interest in a small town, Ã¢â?¬Ë?plantation’ state, etc:
dig and publicize the background notes on why Delegate Toscano, Delegate Bell, the Governor, the Attorney General, will, or will not, support protective legislation! (dig deep: there is dirt in those contributions and conflicts of interest!); dig and publicize the systems of formal and informal privilege that allow policies to be avoided, best practices to be compromised, and the innocent and un-privileged to be harmed
Those who have suffered bullying:
with honesty, and to the extent that you can share your story, write your legislators about protective legislation; and consider supporting such groups as NAMI that support collective action on behalf of persons with mental illness; and find out why organizations don't want to hear you, or put barriers in your way to be heard, and find supporters to help you challenges that inhumanity and injustice, so that others after you won't be so harmed
UVA employees, and other employees in other places:
while we know that Virginia is not friendly - in law, or culture - to labor unions, isn’t this situation yet another reason to support strong employee organizations, which UVA does not have! so, one motto might be to Get a Union.
do any of the above;
please remember that bullying is everywhere; and bullying is fierce in our schools, especially against marginalized youth; many youth each year drop out of school, get into trouble at school, Ã¢â?¬Ë?medicate’ their suffering with alcohol or drugs, and some go so far to kill themselves (a recent youth suicide in Richmond area was because of bullying). Make sure that your local school truly PREVENTS BULLYING.
"I do not know what their agenda is at this point, but the objective truth does not appear to be it."
How can you know that? You do not know the family of Kevin Morrissey or the other staff members of the VQR. You're buying into the Genoways' version of events and calling others untruthful -- I think that is reactionary, not thoughtful.
Writes Anissa: "I do not know what their [referring to VQR staff and the Morrissey family] agenda is at this point, but the objective truth does not appear to be it."
I think I'm close enough to this situation, and familiar enough with the facts, to respond to that, although I directly speak for no one but myself. The agenda of the VQR staff has been to advance two arguments: 1) that Ted Genoways created a hostile work environment and, in particular, bullied Kevin Morrissey; and 2) that the University of Virginia contributed to this unacceptable situation by not supervising Genoways and, when the office environment grew dramatically worse in the weeks leading up to Morrissey's death, not adequately intervening.
Genoways and his attorney have spread quite a bit of poor information on this site alone, including the charge that Morrissey named Genoways in his note and blamed him for his suicide. This simply isn't true; the VQR staff, to my knowledge, has never made that accusation. Neither have they accused Alana Levinson-Labrosse of having an affair with Genoways. These are all strawmen, as are the charges that anyone is trying to "vilify" Genoways or destroy VQR.
I think that the investigation announced by President Sullivan will largely vindicate the version of events presented by the Hook. And I would ask that before anyone suggests that the VQR staff is not interested in "the objective truth," that she at least have some relevant facts available to cite in her defense. So far she has none.
in reference to the article in the Daily Progress - does anyone know if it's true that UVa recently renewed Ted Genoway's contract for five years as his lawyer states or is this something else his lawyer is floating?
I'm glad someone has addressed the matter of John Casteen's extreme culpability in thisdisaster. Genoways could not have run hog-wild without the former president facilitating his behavior by exerting zero control and demanding no accountability. Good luck to VQR's new editor with the radically reduced endowment he or she will inherit. Use it or lose it.
@ zombie hands - I will not enter a point by point rebuttal of your unfounded assertions of the character of the other members of the Genoways family. To disparage someone you know nothing about is dishonest or nasty, or both. It is an inappropriate comment that can only be seen as an attempt to hurt someone.
In general, I am getting pretty tired of reading this blog, because from what I can tell, most of you know nothing about the case or the people involved. And really are just looking for a fight ... even though all you know is a distorted perspective of the story.
I know a lot more about Ted and his family and the happenings of the VQR than most of you. Because I do not agree with what you say, or what you have been told to believe, does not make me wrong. Frankly, when the other side of the story is allowed to come out many of you will look like fools for so blindly following the spin.
@ Gary - you did not work for Ted either! You are basing your beliefs on the set of "facts" that have thus far surfaced. It does not make them correct. The majority of these "facts" have surfaced from the other potentially disgruntled VQR employees and the family of the deceased. Is it not possible that they have an agenda? Everyone has an agenda. As do I. Mine, is pretty clear, to provide a glimpse into the other side of the argument. I wish I could say more, but I do not want to break the trust of my friends. But, just like I have an agenda, it is reasonable to believe that others involved have an agenda. I do not know what their agenda is at this point, but the objective truth does not appear to be it.
Once again, my caution ... think before you write. Are you proud of the implications you throw around so easily? The Internet is a wonderful tool, but it can also allow people to say things to others or about others that they would never dream of saying to their face. My guess is that many people are hiding behind anonymity because they know they would never say these things to someone's face. Mean what you say and stand behind it. If you have facts that support what you say, there should be no fear of reprisal. But, be thoughtful, not just reactionary.
Congrats Dave and Hawes for a fascinating story that should win some awards. Because of your work, this story got picked up by national media and probably accelerated the University's decision to announce yesterday that they were undertaking a thorough investigation of VQR environment. It's a pity that the Daily Progress covered the story this morning and only referred to your piece as coverage in "local blogs and websites" instead of having the integrity to refer to the cover story of a competing paper. This is what outstanding journalism is about.
Your statement that you've not seen the ogre in Ted Genoways makes sense. You didn't work for him! Your perspective is identical to the buddy of the battering spouse saying "he wouldn't hurt a fly" Tell the woman in the ER getting her wounds treated. Just because you didn't see it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
How minimizing to put "workplace bullying" in quotes. Check the legal bloggers on the topic. They have recognized our national campaign to enact legislation to address aggressors like Ted for years. Wake up from your rural stupor. Even NIOSH considers bullying a form of workplace violence. Wake up. Read the science. The international movement is led by scientists and has a 20 year history. Genoways can be the catalyst for a Virginia lawmaker to to introduce our bill in 2011 in Kevin's memory. Visit http://healthyworkplacebullying.org
About Maria Morrissey ...
No one put out a press release seeking to capitalize on Kevin's death. That's morbid. However, the Chronicle of Higher Ed story follows one month later the story about bullying in the academe. As a former professor and now colleague of Ken Westhues (the expert on academic bullying who should conduct the investigation), I can tell you that higher educ is rife with psychological violence. Bullying is drawing more attention than ever since we brought it to the U.S. 13 years ago. Whatever happens to UVa, it deserves. Unresponsive employers need to be held accountable.
About Levinson-LaBrosse ...
Poor little rich girl. A case at CUNY was similar and it made it to federal district court before settling for $1.4 million. There an Institute head (also not directly faculty) promoted his young girlfriend script typist to executive producer of a CUNY-produced show over the show's founder and producer who had a PhD.
A Prototypical Bullying Case, Let Me Count the Ways ...
Genoways, avowed genius. Deservedly proud of accomplishments (how narcissistic? has personal fellowship). Had executive sponsor to deflect accountability. Can act like he wants without supervision or fear of reprisal. Spent like a drunken sailor as much for self-aggrandizement as for quality of obscure publication. Attorney blames another for spending. Betrays former friend when new object of affection comes his way. As poet has probably not had any training on management skills set. Quirky, outspoken, brash style allowed to never be tempered by benevolence or people skills. Uses isolation -- physical (banishment to home) and psychological -- as punishment. (No reasonable adult would ever command another to not deal with co-workers accustomed to working closely on all projects.) Why have a lawyer in the absence of lawsuit? Hide behind an attorney while professing innocence. If you did nothing wrong and did not contribute, come out and proudly defend what you did.
About UVa and an anti-bullying initiative ...
In April, 2009 the campus sponsored a talk by a motivational speaker with no background in workplace bullying, as an academic, or as a researcher-practitioner in the field. A smooth talking, band-aid approach. You see the result of failing to systemically address bullying. Let UVa be made an example of an employer unwilling to do the right thing. Maybe the state institution's bungling and Kevin Morrissey's sacrifice can be the catalysts for a Virginia state law.
Director, Workplace Bullying Institue
"About Levinson-LaBrosse ”Š
Poor little rich girl. A case at CUNY was similar and it made it to federal district court before settling for $1.4 million. There an Institute head (also not directly faculty) promoted his young girlfriend script typist to executive producer of a CUNY-produced show over the show’s founder and producer who had a PhD."
Gary - you can't put "poor little rich girl" in a thread and expect yourself or your organization to be taken seriously anymore. You've resorted to personal comments and attacks. You've made unnecessary, irrelevant accusations that don't bear on the actual important parts of the case.
Sorry, but you're just another partisan, not somebody with an opinion of objective value.
I agree with WM.
Anissa- so what does his wife think about his "assistant" moving in his office and them taking "business trips" together. I can only imagine a submissive woman would tolerate it.
Submissive woman + workplace bully = team?
Perhaps Kiki-the-expert-on-all-things DID apply for the job, or works there himself.
The way I see it, many people on here are making valid points whether they chose to use their real names or not.
Considering this article deals with claims of workplace harassment and several posters claim to have experienced it themselves, I can see why they would not wish to use their names esp. if they live and/or work in Charlottesville as this is a small town esp. in terms of employers.
Also, there may be hesitation to use one's real name because this is an internet chat board which is accessible to literally anyone in the work with 'net access. It's not too hard to find someone nowadays who has been harassed or even cyperstalked because someone took issue with what they said or has been a victim of idenity theft.
yes, but if uva charges a quarter of a million to grant a BA+MA, it has to at least pretend those degrees have market value. one of the ways it does this is by demanding degrees for a lot of positions that would seem not to need them. clerisy not aristocracy. this is a class society. all societies are class societies. if i weren't rich and pretty i'd starve.
better reread your Veblen, guy. think VQR or Vogue's next editorial hire will be me and my GED, or a an out of work PhD. unemployment is 13% in publishing, BLS. i think you are all prejudging genoways and maligning the intern. i think you are mostly as bullying here as you say genoways was there.
@aftermanyasummer - are you the "intern"?
By "perceived interference" I mean that I suppose TG perceived KM's actions as interference. "Pure bully bossiness" is not meant to be an answer to my question, but a description of some of the accusations I have read so far.
Let me rephrase my whole post: I don't think KM was a weakling cowed into submission; from all reports he was experienced, competent and had considerable power and influence within VQR. I want to know what they clashed over and why, and what KM wanted that he felt he could not obtain.
It isn't necessarily clear that they did want different things, but it would make more sense to me if they did, and I don't mean to imply that KM didn't want some fundraising. But I would like to hear, if anyone knows, some indication of what KM was thinking about with regards to VQR, and how his thinking might have been at odds with TG's thinking.
I want a more complicated picture than weak nice guy caved in to domineering boss, because I find that hard to believe. Never mind the slurs on TG, that's a spectacularly lousy way to think of KM. I suspect there were some substantial and irreconcilable differences between them and I wonder what they were.
Consider the legal doctrine of "respondeat superior" on UVA's involvement: what they knew, when they knew it, and what they did or did not do which contributed to this tragedy. UVA will almost certainly improve their workplace rules and employee training program.
Eddie V: I can assure you there has been no patting myself on the back. I've had nothing but feelings of kinship and grief since learning of Kevin and his situation.
I'm with Loudmouth. Waldo, there's been nothing gentlemanly, or for that matter silent, about your "silence" this entire sordid episode. Were you silent in your interview for the Today show that's running tomorrow? Or your numerous inflammatory and one-sided comments in the press and on blogs? And whoever could it have been that stole and forwarded Genoways' private emails to the press? Maybe it was the mystery person who stole your laptop.
This is all straight out of Kafka.
Jake, the public school systems have enough problems already without hiring a bully as a teacher.
PS Ah, Mr. Smith I just realized that you meant the final email to Mr. Morrissey from Mr. Genoways. Again, context is everything. Do you or I absolutely know that the writer's life was in no danger at all? My point: what do we know? What are we inferring?
If Ted Genoways has been explicitly reinstated or continued as editor-in-chief pending the outcome of investigations, I suspect the University's figurative hands are tied. Ted G. hired himself one of the best lawyers in town before doing anything else. Presumably that lawyer has read Ted G.'s contract and is familiar with the laws governing it. So I'd guess the university has been asked, politely but firmly, how they would feel about a multi-million dollar breach of contract lawsuit if one's client is not immediately restored to his office and prerogatives. VQR isn't the football team--the university can't buy out a contract secure in the knowledge that deep-pocketed boosters will foot the bill.
Sue says "I heard yesterday that a professional bullying expert has been advising UVA for months now." Anyone got a name for this "expert"?
I appreciate your response, No Ax. Calling well-documented behavior "egregious" is not, I don't think, "character assassination by proxy." Waldo Jaquith should be judged on what he was quoted as saying; judge the "Today" show on their journalism. The two are separate. (And I agree, the "Today" show's journalism was terrible.)
I fully acknowledge that many, many people have made the claims you reference, but it's worth repeating again that the staff has not.
You ask, "How can we possibly know based on the lack of documentation from both sides of the conflict?" This is a reasonable question. And no, you can't know for sure. And I hope that I've never asserted that people should, in fact, know for sure.
Here's what you can do: judge the credibility of those making claims.
For instance, is the person making the claim in a position to know what s/he is talking about? Does s/he speak in terms of facts? Does s/he make arguments rather than call names? Does s/he speak to the specific issues at hand? Does s/he speculate on people's motives rather than people's actions?
You ask, "What if Mr. Morrissey was in fact a very problematic employee from the boss's (not colleagues') perspective?" This is certainly possible. However, I will tell you -- and I believe that this can be documented -- that in the last two weeks of Morrissey's life, he was never given one specific reason for why his behavior was deemed unacceptable -- not by Genoways, not by the president's office, and not by Human Resources. If, in fact, Morrissey was a "problematic employee," then it makes sense that some evidence could be presented for the problems he was causing.
The facts as I understand them better suit the conclusion that he was not a "problematic employee" but that Genoways was a problematic manager. If a different set of facts exists, and those facts demand an entirely different conclusion, then I expect that Genoways will be exonerated. That would be only fair.
1) Genoways' behavior was explicitly called "egregious" by a staff member in the context of a Today story in which he knew the quote would be used to launch an attack on Genoways as an office bully who may have caused depression severe enough to provoke suicide. It would be evident to anyone who knows national media, that the suicide, and the Today reporter's inferences about Genoways' contribution to it, would be the hook for the story. It's character assassination by proxy. It was known that the same Today reporter had been criticized by Mr. Genoways a while back for tabloid reporting and that the reporter most definitely had an ax to grind.
2) I haven't said that you "opined" on Mr. Genoways' character, but certainly 40% of the blog entries here have no problems characterizing him in severely pejorative terms. The very well-researched but still speculative Hook article, and this blog, have been an invitation to indulge in scapegoating, even if you yourself have not contributed to it. Did Genoways himself indulge in scapegoating Morrissey? How can we possibly know based on the lack of documentation from both sides of the conflict? What if Mr. Morrissey was in fact a very problematic employee from the boss's (not colleagues') perspective? Mr. Morrissey, for all we know, WAS the genius of VQR, and Mr. Genoways was superflous--I have no opinion on that, obviously. Nevertheless there is one boss, and his interests are different than the employees'. It's not a purely egalitarian effort. The two contingents often do not share consensus on such matters.
Writes No Ax to Grind: "Are we, as mere observers of this industry, asserting that someone who has been around the block about 100 times like Lawrence Weschler was gulled by a psychopath?"
Actually, no. VQR staff members are not asserting that Weschler was "gulled," nor are they asserting that Genoways is a "psychopath." You just made both of those things up. Also, no one is "scapegoating Genoways for a crime he didn't commit." I fail to recall VQR staff members ever accusing Genoways of committing a crime. I think you made that up, too.
This is not about Genoways as a person; this is not about whether he is a nice guy or whether he treats the "talent" well. Those are all the strawmen erected by people who have no real connection to the events in question and no real response to the allegations that have actually been made.
It's more than a little frustrating to have you -- who will not offer a name or a fact or evidence that you possess any knowledge of the people and events at stake here -- to accuse others of "hysteria."
It would be interesting to know how Ted Genoways' defenders rationalize his atrocious emails. I suggest the media that received yesterday's open letter in support of Mr. Genoways from 31 VQR contributors should ask each one of them directly -- and also probe how, in the face of these emails and other unflattering evidence to the contrary, they arrived at their collective assessment that Mr. Genoways not only is a master at "expert management," but possesses "excellent interpersonal and communication skills" to boot.
The VQR contributors who signed the open letter are:
Daniel Alarc³n - David Baker - Tom Bissell - David Caplan - Jesse Dukes - Ed Folsom - Roberto (Bear) Guerra - Ruxandra Guidi - Helon Habila - Jennifer Haigh - Clara Jeffery - Dimiter Kenarov - Adam Kirsch - Jori Lewis - Rodrigo Llano - William Logan - Jessica Benko - Christopher Merrill - David J. Morris - Jason Motlagh - Annie Murphy - Lygia Navarro - Patrick Phillips - Matthew Power - Delphine Schrank - Alan Shapiro - Neil Shea - Natasha Trethewey - Brian Turner - Lawrence Weschler - Elliott D. Woods
Putting the murderous Machiavel to shame, M?
So, we've heard at least three times in this story and blog of instances where University officials obviously or apparently attempted to dissuade employees from making formal complaints, or taking other formal actions. Yet, the University officials, and University-paid consultants, as well as outside experts, are quoted stating how important it is for employees to have formal procedures available, accessible, and approachable. Who, and Where are the trustworthy auditors of the systems to support, and protect, employees? Can the failed system audit itself? Can hired consultants do that?
Your right Nancy. It is next to impossible.
I am just waiting for the "self appointed" pioneer to make a very serious legal mistake and we are very close. Those that need to know are watching carefully.
As folks continue to detour into the 'made for tv movie' worlds, it bears repeating that there is a common ground for everyone to work:
Organizational dysfuntion has an important explanatory power in this sad story, able to help explain behaviors of both Mr Morrissey and Mr Genoways.
Poor management practices might be expected from managers who receive no training and coaching on management best practices, who are not accountable to supervision, audit, and correction, and who are allowed to be Ã¢â?¬Ë?rock stars’ with taxpayers money. Tragic consequences might be expected when employees are abandoned, and feel threatened, by the organization that has promised (in its policies, and in its public announcements ) to be open, listening, and responsive.
The conduct of the audits - or really, multiple audits (financial, organizational behavior, adherence to employment and other policies, transgressions of ethical practices ) - appropriate sharing of information from those audits - and implementation of changes throughout the University community, will be the tests of true concern for both Mr Genoways, and Mr Morrissey.
And, since some have reported how common, and approved, bullying practices, and non-accommodation of persons with mental illness, may be in non-academic workplaces, why not try this:
pursue local legislators, Toscano and Bell, to get them on the record WHAT bills they will introduce in the legislature regarding workplace bullying and accommodation of mental illness in the workplace - all workplaces!
Mr Snook and Ms Morrissey:
find this way to stand together, to demand publicly such protective bills
Other commentators who are great researchers about conflicts of interest in a small town, 'plantation' state, etc:
publicize the background notes on why Toscano, Bell, Governor, Attorney General, will, or will not, support such legislation
Those who have suffered bullying:
with honesty, and to the extent that you can share your story, write your legislators now, since they are starting to prepare their bills, and contact groups such as NAMI that support collective action on behalf of persons with mental illness
UVA employees, and other employees in other places:
while we know that Virginia is not friendly - in law, or culture - to labor unions, isn't this situation yet another reason to support labor unions that are strong and transparent (and its the members jobs to keep it that way, just as its the voters jobs to keep the politicians honest)
do any of the above
To all of the writers who worked with Ted and admire him as an editor: you know only one side of him and you dismiss the major editing done to your essays by the staff--all of whom, by the way, he chose and hired. Several years ago, Ted tried to get tenure in the English Department by claiming he had an offer of tenure from another university. The English Department requested proof of this offer and Ted had none. No tenure for him! Jahan Ramazani, the Chairman of the Department, came across to the VQR office to tell Ted in person--when he could easily have sent a letter or e-mail (as Ted did when he fired Greg Orr as Poetry Editor). According to staff members, Genoways exploded in anger and screaming at Ramazani. And then recently--several years later--Mrs. Genoways assaulted Ramazani, poked him in the chest and yelled, "Your department didn't give Ted tenure. You don't know who you are dealing with" Quite a duo. Irrational people with long memories and together quite scary!
Mrs. Morrissey, your comment on that VQR website certainly lowers the tone of things.
No offense to Waldo, but what national literary magazine would allow the IT-guy to be the public voice of the magazine even if only on the web? They couldn't have found someone to blog who knew or wrote literature, for example? And what journal with any dignity would Tweet?--Ashton Kuchner and Brittney Spears tweet.
Re the email Genoways sent telling Mr Morrissey to stay away from the office-- cold cold cold. There's a notable difference in tone between his email and the reply he received from Morrissey. At least the reply sounded like it was written by a human.
What sort of "manager" bans someone from their place of employment for an entire week (a week!) via email without discussing it first in any way? If this email was meant to demean and demoralize-- and it certainly reads that way-- then it succeeded. Good god.
Umm, Waldo couldn't get in to U.Va. as a student. I assume that he doesn't have a graduate degree. I don't know what his background is in terms of the literary side of editing. Why would he be chosen as editor?
Gentlemanly? um right. I'm sure he's not stirring any pots, that his offensive comment was an gently uncharacteristic slip of the lip without any hint of bullying over a new employee. Angelic most likely. Savior. Resigned but came back to save the day. Only thing that can save VQR. Not at all polarizing.
Sounds like an awfully familiar pattern of hero worship. Of course he should be the next editor in chief. Of course he should be, his transparently humble "this is so awkward but..." musings, aside. Of course.
But really, he's going to leave as soon as the next issue comes out.
Oh please stay, please stay.
I'm wondering if "Kudos for Waldo" is....Waldo? (Personally, I don't think posting articles on your website with the caveat that "I'm uncomfortable talking about this" while leaving a message board open and occasionally commenting anyway constitutes "silence," but...whatever. I frankly don't care if Waldo comments on the story; I just find his approach disingenuous and a wee bit self-congratulatory....on his own website, that is.)
what is your take on Ted publishing his OWN work using, at least in part, taxpayer money? Your comment on the volumes published completely ignores this; in fact, you seem to be arguing a strawman. No one that I recall reading on here expressed concern over any of the volumes published other than those written by Ted and Casteen IV.
"Second, the books published by VQR were by very well established, highly published (nationally) authors."
Was Ted, or even Casteen IV, a very well established or highly published (nationally) author?
Anissa -- I have never claimed to "know the whole story." I have never found it "impossible to believe" that "there could be many rocks unturned." I have never argued that I "know all the facts." I have never denied the possibility "that new facts emerge in cases everyday." And neither have I suggested that silence implies guilt.
If you think I'm wrong about that, you're welcome to quote back to me the comment where I've written something different.
All I said is that the VQR staff have an argument to make. You're welcome to rebut that argument, but it's not adequate to simply say that they don't subscribe to the "objective truth" and that I believe a long list of things I don't actually believe. Whatever the case, this argument isn't personal. If you are convinced that Ted Genoways is a fine man, husband, and father, I won't dare to object. This is about Ted Genoways in his capacity as manager; that's all. Those are the only facts that are relevant.
Oops -- I mean February 2010 minutes.
Also, the initial appointment in 2003 is as editor of the VQR. No mention of general faculty status in the English department, but who knows what the appointment letter actually says. And it matters.
As many have said, and as one blogger specifically said:
"I guess I’m most disappointed with the recent actions of UVA in this case. They have this written evidence of gross mis-management ..."
Evidenced by this ongoing story, and dense blogging, the University has seriously disappointed many important stakeholders: including local employees and the community, and alumni from far and wide.
We'll see what the University audit(s) report. Will the University tell the taxpayers what they have found out, or will the University snuggle up to deception and fail to ask all the questions that they need to ask, and report everything that the public needs to know? The public includes students and their parents, employees, and taxpayers.
Will President Sullivan proceed differently from what would be expcted from former President Casteen (who, sadly, appear implicated in the "gross mis-management")?
Will the University's structures and organizations change to eliminate tolerance of hostile workplace? We see, that at the recent-home of President Sullivan - University of Michigan - that their statement of Campus Commitment, and other policies, and provisions, address issues of hostile workplace, and some specifically mention bullying. We also see that employees of many varieties at UMich are protected by collective labor agreements and contracts, including Police Officers, Engineers, Skilled and Technical workers, Theatrical and Art workers, and Medical House Staff (MD, DO, DDS), and Graduate Student workers (in fact, that organization is one of the oldest graduate student unions in the country!)
So, we shall see if President Sullivan - who has enjoyed working within environments committed to preventing hostile workplaces, and committed to representing employees with respect and equity - will bring this same commitment to UVA.
What do you think?
If the boss knew about Mr. Morrisey's contact with HR and it angered him maybe it was just his way of getting back. After all everything we know we learned by third grade.
Chuck's just uncomfortable with a forum in which people exercise analytical rigor. As you said, most of the points have been reasonable and constructive. Charles would just prefer that people remain "collegial" and say what a "shame" and "tragedy" these events have been, which is certainly true but not very honest, insightful, or useful.
GREAT article about a tragic situation.
@JJ Malloy - what's "it's" role? You just answered your own question - so I won't. Fail.
@The dead swan - make me a deal, and make it straight. Bingo!
it adds clique-ish prestige, for those who care about highly political semi literary writing
sometimes it publishes faculty, helping them with their tenure committee
on occasion, professors assign articles from it to make student feel the world suffering out there
and sometimes it hires echols scholars and gives them a chance and some valuable work experience.
maybe we 'should ju'st 'simplify the rule 'so an apo'strophe always precede's an s. might 'save 'some ca'sh otherwi'se blown on lit journal's.
The one thing Sullivan apparently is not auditing, is her own U VA Office of the President, which ignored repeated complaints from the VQR staff. If Genoways should be fired so be it, but the person who failed to fire Genoways back when it could have made a difference should also be fired.
@after. I think you misunderstand.
You've speculated that Morrissey killed himself to kill the VQR and kill Genoways's career. (You wrote, "did he love the VQR or want by ending his life to end VQRs success and gennoways editorship?") That's shameful and indicates that perhaps you have you own intense connection(s) with the publication or the editor that leaves you to assume everything and everyone orbits around them.
News flash: it doesn't. And despite the infusion of money from the rainy day fund and in the form of salary, the VQR has been on an absolutely unsustainable business path.
I predict the VQR goes on an indefinite "pause" with uncertain ramifications for those few still on its payroll.
"The one thing Sullivan apparently is not auditing, is her own U VA Office of the President"
I'm confident that she got a good look at the books for the president's office before she took office, hence the need for VQR to find a new home.
Whatever happened to the warning, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen?"
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No Ax to Grind: no, I meant the email at the link posted by Dave McNair: http://www.scribd.com/doc/36486709/Untitled
If he really wanted something to be private and confidential between him and one of the six or seven state employees he supervised I suggest that Mr Genoways might have had a chat with his old friend. I'll stand by my statement that it was unprofessional to send that email, as well as the one I haven't read which implied that Mr. Morrissey might be responsible for the death of a VQR contributor. I'd say Mr. Genoways has some "issues" and "challenges" (in the euphemisms current) of his own. You can be a complete outsider to all this and read the text of the emails and accurately deduce that much.
I presume that even in high pressure environments there might be a difference in the general behavior of folks working for a giant multi-billion dollar corporation and those working in a small collegial university office.
One of the reason people take pay cuts to work in universities is the general experience that the work environment is more humane.
Wasn't Kevin Morrissey part of the VQR staff when VQR won all those awards? Didn't Ted G. write about the great feeling it was to shake his hand on that night?
If the answer to my questions is "yes", how can "No Axe to Grind" seriously contend or even speculate that Mr. Morrissey "can’t work in high-status fields in which a crafted product is the goal"?
It sounds like Mr. Morrissey not only COULD work in these fields, but in fact EXCELLED at it. And he won some very prestigious awards for his publication as a result of his excellent work.
As others have noted, the proof is in the pudding. One employee quit, one has committed suicide, many others are having their names removed from the masthead. The writers and contributors can write as many open letters as they want, but actions speak louder than words, don't they?
(I apologize to the hook for using more than one 'name' in my comments. I log in from multiple pcs so my name is read from different cookies.)
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V.O.T. It may be that the possibility of a civil lawsuit could cause Mr. Genoways to remain silent in a public debate in which:
a) his email account was maliciously hacked and/or, against his explicit instruction the same private correspondence used against him and
b) in order to "clear his name" as you say, he would in effect be launching an attack on Kevin Morrissey's character at a time when so many people close to the situation including himself may be suffering from grief and shock, and at a time when the University president is just trying to wrap her head around the complicated histories here.
It's not good timing for a public account. So we need to be patient, don't you agree?
UFA who wrote:
"I believe Kevin Morrissey may have been depressed, but it was due to the Bullying!"
It wasn't a case of "may have been," but rather "had been for many years, long before he joined VQR." The family has been clear about this from the beginning, as have, I gather, Morrissey's friends and colleagues. Depression is a serious illness. And while Morrissey's depression was undoubtedly exacerbated by Genoways' treatment of him, it wasn't the cause.
I worked with Kevin Morrissey for many years in two different workplaces. He struggled with his own demons, but he was the most scrupulously honest person I have ever known. Period. He was also extremely intelligent, creative, and kind. To suggest that he wasn’t qualified to do his job because he lacked a degree is laughable. To suggest that his sad death involved his own financial impropriety is craven.
@aftermanyasummer-- I think degrees are not so much the issue as experience in the field. Everyone else at the VQR had a track record of working in publishing. And it seems that Ms. Levinson-Labrosse did not have the equivalent experience.
Thank you, art. That was the point I was trying to make. FWIW, I have worked in both fields and in my experience at least, experience and a proven track record certainly does count over degrees.
It's not unreasonable to ask these questions nor does it mean that there is a personal vendetta at work. Indeed, if 'after' truly feels that this woman is qualified, then what's the problem with wanting answers to these questions?
after, maybe if your "intrusion" was in any way well-thought-out, you wouldn't be getting so much pushback. after all, you wrote "Genoways and his intern seem like the only staffers with any real qualifications to run an academic literary ragÃ¢â?¬â??literary and scholarly background, publications, and financial savvy."
you have yet to explain how Levinson-Labrosse, to whom you refer as "the intern" but who apparently had two titles at the journal, neither of which was "intern," had "real qualifications" to run an academic journal and what her scholarly background was that qualified her, what publications she had that qualified her, and what her financial savvy consisted of (besides having a lot of money herself). you elevate her to Genoways' level in terms of qualifications without providing any evidence for that elevation, beyond pointing out that she has an M.A. but omitting to acknowledge that it's in English Ed, a field that, believe me, is NOT an asset for someone wanting to get into literary editing.
so, to recap, why exactly are you surprised that your arguments are not bowling us over?
And let's not forget this gem, "most of the commenters here seem to just hate her because she’s pretty, young, rich, and a woman."
People here are so funny to drag the "intern" into all this.
Frankly, it's not even slightly different than what Genoways is being accused of.
Oh wait, it is different...he did it face-to-face...you cowards are sliming her anonomously on a comment board.
I don't know any of these people, but I for sure don't want to know any of you.
@nsj-Actually, the 'intern' was mentioned in the article so that's why she is being discussed.
BTW, I don't see you using your real name here, either.
'please give the intern a break.'-If by give her a break you mean not asking questions about her hiring, then no, I won't.
I want to make it clear again that I don't know this woman. I have nothing personal against her. I (and others) are asking legitimate questions.
No one on here is making personal insults or catty suggestions. Pointing that she has only worked there since Nov. 2009 is not 'slandering' her-it's a fact.
you cite ad hoc ergo propter hoc? might not be a good place for that, considering the after-therefore-because -of is the driving fallacy behind most comments linking the death with gennoways' behavior, alleged.
you did fundraising, you did publishing, you worked for uva, you worked for literary magazines. perhaps you should apply.
paris hilton would be an excellent fundraiser...she IS an excellent fundraiser. a sad truth perhaps in that a lot of wealthy uva donors are attractive and wealthy and fancyish upperclass, and those people seem sadly to be more comfortable amongst and giving to people who are somewhat like them. send george clooney or barack obama into a room of wealthy philanthropists, and they'll walk out with a pocket full of checks. send a uva grad to talk to uva grads. send someone who herself made a massive donation, and she has instant credibility. send some down at heels jmu grad whose background is working at snl and waiting tables at ruby tuesday's and wearing a frumpy pantsuit and maybe you'll win big, but which would you bet on?
nepotism and avoiding hiring EOC stuff? at UVA? are you joking? do you have ANY idea how many husband-wife teams there are on staff here? i can walk down the hall and count a half dozen.
nine months is three quarters worth of fundraising. we're not talking about someone licking envelopes and witing for ten dollar checks to arrive based on sending out free kitty cat stickers. we're talking about asks and direct solicitation over lunches and at receptions.
after-I see your game. Rather than address the arguments, you want to discuss ME and perhaps start a flamewar. Sorry, but ain't gonna happen.
For the record, I NEVER said I had ever worked at UVa or for any literary magazines much less VQR. What I DID say is that I worked in publishing, and had worked in fundraising. That's all.
@Im with after-"Perhaps Kiki-the-expert-on-all-things DID apply for the job, or works there himself." If you read the article, you would know that was impossible as the article CLEARLY states that the job was not advertised.
As I understand it, this publication receives some of it's funding from the state. If that is so, I find it hard to believe that someone fresh out of school, or almost fresh out of school, could be hired so quickly and given such a position without going through the proper hiring process. Any organization that takes tax payer money usually has to follow standards/procedures when hiring new employees, and it sounds like this was not done. If someone can shed some more light on this aspect of the story I would appreciate it.
@after-"it was brave of casteen to support it and genoways to try it"
It was particularly brave of Casteen to support it when he knew his son would be among the first writers whose works were published by Genoways in conjunction with VQR
from the article:"Surprisingly, among the first six titles was a book by the president’s son, John Casteen IV and a book each by two members of VQR’s own advisory boards. There was even a volume penned by Genoways himself."
The fact that Genoways used public funds both to publish his own book of poetry and Casteen IV’s is troubling and raises questions of a different nature than those of being a "bully".
@after many a summer:
What are you trying to get across in this forum, ranting on and on about the benefits of the rich 'intern' and of having 'fancy' donors fund raise for UVA? I think your comments are frivolous, probably even meant to be funny in a cynical way, and just really out of place.
Writes "After": "the fundraising was for a magazine with a commercial leaning."
A commercial magazine, by definition, is one designed to appeal to large numbers of readers. Whatever your opinion of the content, there is absolutely no evidence that VQR appeals to large numbers of readers; if this was, in fact, its goal, then Genoways's stewardship has been a remarkable failure.
Yes, it was a good article, though a little short on reporting WHY Casteen's office ignored repeated, concerted efforts apparently by the entire VQR staff to fix the problem of Genoways' "management style." Poor Morrissee found himself with only one last resort to be taken seriously. This is not the first suicide that can be laid at the doorstep of Casteen's Madison Hall. Architect Murray Howard was the curator of historic buildings at U Va, when the finger-thin rod holding up a balcony on Jefferson's lawn gave way during graduation in 1997, injuring 18 and throwing a grandmother to her death. Whose fault was it? Thomas Jefferson. He designed those porches to hang from thin hidden iron rods that over the course of two centuries had rusted through (the ornate columns are mostly just for show). But Casteen had Murray Howard relieved to deflect attention from his own inattention to restoration. Casteen would rather fundraise for new buildings, than fix the old ones: much easie to get a donor if they can put their name on it. Preservation of Jefferson era buildings is very expensive, and Murray had had to create his own fundraising board and scrape and beg for every restoration dollar. After Casteen quietly orchestrated his departure Murray drifted in and out of various jobs, highly qualified, highly regarded, but over 50 and starting out afresh with no clients. Debts mounted. Like Morrisey he was afflicted with depression, and also like Morrisey the depression was aggravated by being hounded, hounded to death--though in Murray Howard's case by creditors, each dunning phone call a kind of accusation of failure. What his death has in common with Morrisey's is the willfully obtuse, absentee Office of the President during Casteen's time, watching a situation degrade, doing nothing about it, heedless of the consequences.
the fundraising was for a magazine with a commercial leaning. not to save the penguins or endow life-chairs in identity studies.
As a family member of someone who worked with Kevin, and for Ted at VQR, I have heard, second hand, about the harsh management style of Ted for many years. He treated many kind, hard working, and caring individuals harshly. Ted is not a killer, he is just a terrible boss, with little compassion, and even less managerial skill. Depression killed Kevin, but the bullying he endured at work certainly contributed to his downward spiral into his disease.
Writes "After": "... and those people seem sadly to be more comfortable amongst and giving to people who are somewhat like them. send george clooney or barack obama into a room of wealthy philanthropists, and they’ll walk out with a pocket full of checks."
This strikes me as a fundamental misunderstanding of how development actually works, especially at a university. It is rarely -- almost never -- walking into a room with rich people and coming away with big gifts. Rather, it involves working with the institution to develop short- and long-term strategies that involve all sorts of donors, from the rich to the one-timers to the ten-bucks-a-year folks, as well as all sorts of targets for those donations -- from individual projects to annual funds. Perhaps most importantly it involves cultivating relationships -- patiently, sincerely, and strategically. Development, in other words, is a business with its own sets of skills. One needs to be qualified to do it well, but being rich isn't one of those qualifications.
That said, I'm not in a position to question Ms. Levinson-Labrosse's qualifications one way or the other, but neither are many others here, I suspect.
@No Ax To Grind:
Ted was given the opportunity explain Kevin's supposed "unprofessional workplace behavior" in a face-to-face meeting with Kevin and Nancy Rivers, chief-of-staff to President Sullivan on Monday, July 26. Ted did not explain his actions then.
Yes, Ted was indeed "tied up" with his Guggenheim work. In fact, he was in Nebraska when the alleged inappropriate behavior occurred. I would love to know where that "report" of the inappropriate behavior came from. What did Kevin do that could cause Ted to write such an email? The remaining staff would still like to know.
And I don't know how many times I can say this, but my questions are not about "crucify[ing] one person for the tragic loss of another." I understand that Kevin's choice to take his own life was his alone. What I want to know is what led Ted to banish Kevin from the office.
Alas! for this gray shadow, once a man--
So glorious in his beauty and thy choice,
Who madest him thy chosen, that he seem'd
To his great heart none other than a God!
Amid the tragic cannot-be-knowns,this absolutely comedic (Fallstaffian) aspect: Genoways has VQR publish his OWN book of poetry-and also that of his direct line boss's, (UVa President Casteen) son. This is crass self interest that some might call corruption.
"english is tricky jack"
Nice accusation of a reader's ignorance to cover for your own garbled construction. You are indeed shameful.
I wish there was even a slight chance of VQR surviving all this, but I can't see how that can happen. Maybe short term, they manage an issue or two with whatever they've already selected and started working with, but longterm, I can't see how the staff or university sustain such a gut punch.
Is there any reason to feel differently? Does anyone have some hope?
Let's give President Sullivan a chance to prove herself. She's been on the job for less than a month.
Quoth Steve-- "The email he sent to Morrissey is exactly the kind of unemotional, HR-speak a supervisor should send a subordinate in that situation."
WHAT situation? Under what situation is sending an employee home for a week without an explanation acceptable? Under what situation is it preferable for a manager to not speak directly with a long-standing employee? Under what situation is it acceptable to act first without asking the employee for their side of the story? Under what situation is it acceptable to then not explain your actions, as promised, in the subsequent face-to-face meeting with the employee and HR?
Again, what was the situation you speak of?
The email he sent to Morrissey is exactly the kind of unemotional, HR-speak a supervisor should send a subordinate in that situation.
The writer shouldn't get into emotional accusations, etc.
Whether the follow-up was acceptable, or done at all is another question...but the letter was acceptable, as was Morrissey's reponse.
I get the feeling sometimes that a lot of commenters have an idea how they wish the professional world works, but aren't able to seperate that from the reality.
This is a Morrissey family alert: PLEASE don't read this post if you're still feeling deep mourning today. You all are still hurting and I don't want to cause further hurt inadvertently. This post has nothing to do with Kevin Morrissey.
Genoways as a manager is no better or worse than most of the people in charge of shows (especially "Today" -- home of the office bully expose!!), magazines, and newspapers. These show runners and editors typically are not MBAs or Psych professors; they're trained in crafts like producing/editing/writing/research. In their role as managers, they struggle with thorny HR problems like passive-agressive employees, mutiny, gossip, and flakiness (these are examples, not personal accusations). Editors get fixated on product and they lose their tempers. They often misbehave. When they get completely unruly, an employee has to bring in a formal complaint and ask for mediation to make his/her case. Or he/she can't work in high-status fields in which a crafted product is the goal. Bottom line in high-status fields: there is too much competition and turnover for anyone who can't produce the goods, exactly as desired by a superior (however arbitrary the standards seem), on a schedule. These are the ground rules for everyone in these businesses. But apparently not in academia.
One thing that is indispensable in an editor or producer: good, productive relationships with writers and the "talent". Many writers here have produced a lot of cant about Genoways as a fascist based on no first-hand observation whatsoever. Carry on all you want -- but he clearly had those productive relationships as the open letter demonstrates. Are we, as mere observers of this industry, asserting that someone who has been around the block about 100 times like Lawrence Weschler was gulled by a psychopath? If so, that's just a stupefying assertion. This blog is a testament to hysteria produced by mourning, not reason.
Please stop scapegoating Genoways for a crime he didn't commit and please stop blaming him for what some are calling the "plantation" mentality; ie all the HR lapses at UVA over the years (sloppy hiring/supervisory practices, poor compensation etc etc).
As a friend and collaborator of Ted Genoways, I've read and watched the various news reports crediting allegations of bullying with horror and surprise. With respect to the VQR staff, who are going through a terrible time, allegations of bullying just don't match up with my experiences of Ted.
I think it's worth noting that Waldo Jaquith (who I think is the only VQR staffer to go on record calling Ted a bully thus far) has apparently backed off the allegations of bullying in an interview with Richmond's Style Weekly. Here's a link:
Jaquith also makes this claim: Ã¢â?¬Å?Every day, there’s at least one situation with one author who has been left in a bad situation by Ted and it’s our job to clean it up,”
At least one VQR contributor has already posted in the comments section to dispute this. It doesn't square with what I've heard from other VQR contributors.
Mr. Bissell and I have one other point of disagreement; in his belief that the comments so far, are mere speculation, he writes,
"However, a disproportionate number of comments have been provided by workplace-bullying experts, who have a vested interest in stepping to the forefront to display their expertise and thereby control the narrative. Virtually all of these "experts" have concluded that Mr. Genoways is a hideous bully."
Mr. Bissell seems to give no weight to the opinion of these experts, but I would contest, at least one of them, Valerie Cade, had first hand knowledge of the situation, as a bullying consultant with UVA for the past year. She is quoted as saying, in a previous Hook article, " It is likely his boss ( Genoways) was a bully " This, although not first hand knowledge, certainly carries credence as more than mere speculation
I'd like to see a class action suit against UVA & UVA Med Ctr for all the people who are now being bullied and for the former employees of UVA who had been bullied! The cyber suicide case of a 15 year old has 9 people who bullied her up on charges. Whats the difference in these 2 cases of suicide? BULLYING SHOULD BE AGAINST THE LAW!!!!!
B. Nordin---I have seen no where in these blogs that Mr Morrissey had a problem with depression before VQR! And even if he was, what gives the right for a manager to bully his employees? How do you know it's not the cause? Are you educated in the depression field?
Oldhoo, hi. Ted Genoways is, no surprise, apparently not a gifted manager. But the letter he sent specifically stated that the causes for the action -- the hearsay about Mr. Morrissey's unprofessional behavior -- would be explained, as is proper, in a face to face meeting. Genoways was apparently also tied up with the Guggenheim grant work, so he was in & out of town and wearing several hats.
I don't want to defend Genoways; this is all about how we can learn how to resist the temptation to crucify one person for the tragic loss of another. Scapegoating, in other words. Again, I feel that people need to show patience and to get all the facts together, in one place; not in these bloggy bit and pieces.
Poor Mr. Morrissey must have been dreading the meeting; I'm sure it was painful to read. Personally, I'd dread getting a letter like that. But when politics get out of hand in a (theoretical) office --and when a (theoretical) manager continues swanning about, more or less doing as he pleases without a single formal complaint filed against him -- this type of truncated, abrupt, and unpleasant communication is the kind of thing that does happen.
was there any diversity in the VQR workplace? were any of the staff persons of color or veterans? reading the article and comments, it's easy to assume, perhaps falsely, that the entire staff was white, upper-middle-class, age 35 to 55, with strictly academic background/experience, and the only diversity was in gender and in sexual orientation. is this so?
in subverting EOC hiring procedures allegedly did they also fail to pay attention to those aspects? i include veterans as a recognized target of discrimination especially in universities, but also because the Journal seemed to be covering so many military conflicts and appeared not to have anyone on staff with military background, to know 5.56 from .223 in their mark-up of texts, e.g.
the workplace behavior seems as though it must have involved staff or contributors, and been reported by them to genoways. did morrissey do something to the intern or to a contributor or one of the other staffers who reported it and is keeping mum about it? what behavior can it have been tnat genoways feared it would be repeated or aggravated if morrissey remained unsupervised in the office?
Steve is right. The letter wasn't pleasant to read, but it is well within professional standards of conduct.
And abc123 is directing our attention to the core of the issue. It will take time, but soon we'll know whether UVA could have or should have done more to intervene in VQR management. Perhaps we'll see some institutional measures to counter other longstanding complaints about UVA's management style; and perhaps there will be plans to deal with the (very human) anger and frustration that builds up in the workplace when there are heavy cutbacks and severe restrictions on pay raises.
It's not the wording of the letter that's unprofessional; it's what it enacted.
Sorry Steve, sorry No Ax--the email is simple ridiculous. Here's what it said: "You're being suspended for something, but I won't tell you what it is and I forbid you to talk to anyone you've worked with about the reason for your absence, and if you do I'll get you, you betcha!"
Mr. Morrissey's response was professional. "I don't know what you're talking about, but I've contacted HR."
After Mr. Genoways' finds out his banned co-worker has done the right thing and contacted HR, he sends him an angry e-mail accusing him of causing somebody's death.
Steve says this is exactly the kind of email a supervisor should send in "this situation."
Steve, do you know what the situation was? I don't. Was it a wisecrack? Oh, horrors.
Here's what the Exile Letter seems to say:
"I heard that you did a bad thing. I won't tell you who told me you did a bad thing, and I won't tell you what the bad thing supposedly is. You're not allowed to ask any of your co-workers what the bad thing might have been. You're not allowed to tell your co-workers what I'm saying in this email, which means you're not allowed to tell them why I'm going to make you stay home all week.
I haven't gathered any information on this supposedly bad thing that you did beyond the one report I have, and I'm not going to gather that information until about a week from now. But on the basis of this report of you doing a bad thing, I'm going to punish you.
Your punishment is that you have to go home right now and stay home all week.
If you break any of the rules I just made up on the spot to punish you for a supposedly bad thing you did that I've had one report regarding, you'll be in even bigger trouble than you are now."
So....yeah. But at least his wording is professionally neutral, or "acceptably worded," as Steve writes! Hooray!
I was looking at the University's organizational chart and I saw that the person conducting the investigation reports to the president. If John Casteen or the president's office were somehow involved in the management of VQR as has been suggested, then how will that affect things? Do they still have the same people there?
"in reference to the article in the Daily Progress - does anyone know if it’s true that UVa recently renewed Ted Genoway’s contract for five years as his lawyer states or is this something else his lawyer is floating?"
It's in the public minutes of the Board of Visitors meeting of May 2010.
@ brendan - you are close to the story, but only half of it. Unless you have been granted an interview with Genoways that i am unaware of, you do not know the whole story. Why is it impossible to believe, that although you may be a good reporter, there could be many rocks unturned? If you truly believe you know all the facts, then why would UVA need an investigation? If you and the employees have declared it a hostile work place, well then, by golly, I guess you are right. Sorry for pointing out that new facts emerge in cases everyday and that silence does not imply guilt.
As I have said many times, I would love to share the facts I know, but I will not jeopardize my friendship with the Genoways or potentially ruin the outcome of any investigations by the university or the police that may be underway.
I am beginning to feel that I am the only really reading what I am writing, others have made up their minds. I suspect my time will be better spent on the swing set with the kids...
Having just received another squeaky whinging passive-aggressive email from someone I more or less supervise, which will result in my caving in to a selfish request to avoid unpleasantness (not to mention the charge of being a bully), I'll speak up here for the reluctant boss stuck in a supervisory position that no one else really wants who is the victim of prima donna behavior by the rest. My guess is that this is much more common in academia than the take charge bullyboy.
To the administrators - is there any way to determine if the same people are posting here with different names - and if so, can this be stopped?
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I would like to share my opinion, these things being subjective, of course, to Mr. Malloy's question as to whether John Casteen IV is a good poet with national publications and credits. I would say yes. Without a doubt, the younger Casteen's writing is very good and he has worked for quite a while on his poetry. I have never met him, but have read his poems and admire them. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, for whatever that is or is not worth. Again without knowing the man, it occurred to me that he might have a hard road ahead of himself having the name Casteen in Charlottesville, simply because he is, for the time being, in the shadow his very public father and so his literary success will be subject to suspicion.
MBM I am not Waldo, and my suggestion that he would make a good VQR Editor-in-Chief (or as I think of it an acting one while they straighten out this mess) was purely disinterested. Waldo so far as I can tell does not use a pseudonym. I do, for reasons ranging from fear of crackpots, to willingness to say the truth only behind a mask. There's a long tradition of that: cf "Publius" aka James Madison/Alexander Hamilton/John Jay. I do think Waldo's position on Genoways' continued tenure is clear from his blog post, despite his effort to keep a dignified silence. I also suspect that Genoways is ignoring earlier instructions to stay away from the VQR offices, under the theory "Its my magazine, and I don't answer to you, I only answer to the Board of Visitors." Which, if true, is another example of the managerial weakness--outright ineptitude--of the U Va Office of the President.
@former NY editor.
I certainly can relate to your idea that bullying is a common management technique. I might add that bullying is often effective in getting rid of employees whom it would be disadvantageous to fire. But personally, I find working with bullies untenable, no matter how creative they are. I am fortunate to have been financially able to quit organizations where cruelty in management was normative. Many workers are not so fortunate. And I have the deepest sympathy for their plights.
As I have stated before, I am friends with the Genoways, so no need to question my loyalties...
Ted has never been removed from being editor of the VQR. Clearly, to those of you who question why, you have bought into the one sided story that has been presented. Genoways and UVA have been mostly silent regarding the accusations and investigation. As I have said before, this is not to be construed as an admission of guilt. Clearly, there are more pieces in play than have been reported to date.
If UVa believed, or had solid evidence of the accusations against Genoways he would have been removed by now, contract or no contract. This is clearly bad publicity for the university, and keeping him at the helm is not the easy way out.
As I stated before, it is inappropriate to believe that you know what happened based on a number of articles that present one side of the story. Hold your venom until the investigation is over.
As a former contributer to Ted Genoway's VQR, I want to thank Dave McNair for this balanced and thoughtful article. We need to understand this tragic situation without the clutter of spin, obfuscation, and the lurid sensationalism displayed in the Chronicle of Higher Education article.
Nancy, I agree with the first situation, in which it may lead to retribution if the poster uses his or her real name.
As for "important clues" for reporters to follow up on, those should be given directly to the reporter, either by e-mail or a phone call--not left in a public forum.
So--if we agree that people who fear retaliation are justified in posting anonymously, how many people here does that apply to? Out of curiosity, does that apply to you?
I wonder if anyone knows of a situation in which a boss has been charged with contributing to the death of an employee, due to bullying ?
I would disagree Mr. Snook. No one would need to shop this story for it to have national interest.
This involves a small publication that soared to national prominemce; a well known editor -Ted Genoway, who has also gained national prominence; and one of the top universities in the nation, which has been in the news all year for major tragedies on it's grounds, and now involving it's own faculty. No, this story will reach the masses without anyone's help. This article is extremely well reserched and written. It will quickly be read nationwide for the above reasons.
A very interesting read. Before re-reading, let me ask: doesn't the author of this fine article has a past association with the VQR? If so, that's worth disclosing to readers.
@Snook, in case you're not hip to commenting on blogs, your post makes you sound ridiculous. As an attorney, you should make your client appear innocent, not guilty, and by taking to the comment thread you also appear desperate. (btw, that's why they have anonymous posts lol) I in no way support Genoways, or his actions, but I hope he finds a better attorney.
Citing unnamed sources does not mean that the information is necessarily false. Your argument would be more substantive if you presented instances in which the material in the article is inaccurate.
Your hyperbole is rather unnecessary and somewhat embarrassing. I hope that your writing does not reflect on the general quality of pieces in the VQR.
cookieJar: thanks for pointing that out. I thought the earlier commet had been deleted. Paranoid in that regard, perhaps, but I still maintain my point. This entire narrative has been wildly unbalanced and unjust from the start.
Nancy Drew, good summary and this is hard to gain full and complete comprehension on the whole thing. The definitions about workplace bullying are very helpful as well. All staff were reportedly not happy with the environment. A policy in place would/might have helped... but there still would have to be a formal complaint as the article suggests (as far as the law is concerned). It would have been nice to see the training and such continue past what was started. Maybe with this series of events, as the President says, we can create the caring community we all want, where we support one another when needed.
Another note: the story also now includes a link to the text of the July 19, 2010 email that Mr. Genoways sent to Mr. Morrissey ordering the office ban, including Mr. Morrissey's response.
Thus @former "what journal with any dignity would Tweet?"
Nice try, but you're just an amateur at trolling. Unless you really are as clueless as your question is:
and as I think there's a 2-URL limit on posts here, the remainder are left as an exercise for the reader.
I am unaware of anyone being paid to do interviews, national or otherwise. Quite the contrary, I am "spending" my own time.
It might be helpful for Mr. Genoways to seek out some assistance in anger and disdain management, esp to subordinates. Seems to me that there might also be a cycle of bullying...this is the way the industry is, so this is to be expected. I've been bullied, so I bully, thinking that such behavior gets better results. I lived through this and excelled. Must be the way that smart people get ahead. Must be the way that tough people or creative people get ahead.
In the press, Mr. Genoway's email after Mr. Morrissey's death suggested that Mr. Morrissey had a history of depression and troubled relationships with bosses. Et tu, Brute?
Here's my idea: have the next issue of VQR feature some prose (peer reviewed, of course) by folks who have been bullied. Or a feature on how to recover from being bullied. Or how to recognize one's own tendencies to be unjust, demeaning, minimizing. I did, and found out that my anger and bad boy behavior and arrogance came from a deep and personal place of insecurity and fear. And from a place of deep socialization in a discipline that taught survival of the fittest equals intellectual/creative superiority of the fittest. And that until I saw the effects of my behavior on others, until a mirror was held up and I actually looked into it, I thought that my behavior was justified by my talent and the pressures put upon me (and those I put upon myself.) It's hard work, but I think many of us in academic, creative, or managerial positions of power could use more introspection and more responsibility-taking. And then work to change one's behaviors, if not one's values. I'm happier and more high functioning, and certainly folks around me are not suffering me and suffering as much. And the cautionary tale: that I have also been bullied and it seemed to have alternate responses: fight or flight. Both of these tendencies can be directed inward, as the bully wares on you. Both of these tendencies can be directed outward in agression or passive-agressive behaviors to subordinates (fight) or flight (keep on moving up the ladder). Bless the folks who loved Kevin Morrissey. Folks who love Ted Genoways do him few favors by not at least asking him to hold up a mirror----and get some help. The guilt and questions can eat up survivors and perps alike.
I was contacted a number of days ago by the author of this piece, David McNair, based on my comments on this blog. He mentioned that it was very hard to find people who were supportive of Ted and was wondering if I would like to comment on the record for a follow-up story. I have been thinking very hard about whether my time and effort would be wasted, my words taken out of context, or twisted to imply that I really didn't know the "real" Ted. I have decided that all of these factors are reasonable outcomes, because as time goes on I have no belief that the Hook is interested in telling a balanced story. Let me explain why I believe this...
1. Until very recently I was unaware that Brendan Wolfe (of The Hook) and Molly Minturn (of VQR) were married. Although that connection was posted by a reader and confirmed by Brendan, no one else has mentioned that this was a gross conflict of interest. It was not disclosed in the article or in any of the dozens of follow-up messages written by Brendan on this site. These actions are a clear violation of the SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) Code of Ethics. (www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp)
This would seem to leave only three possible explanations:
a. that Brendan is not a journalist,
b. that Brendan is not a professional, or
c. that Brendan is not ethical.
2. Brendan is not the only undisclosed conflict. Waldo Jaquith has been published in the Hook more than a few times, and his mother, Janis Jaquith is a monthly contributor to the Hook.
It seems to me that The Hook is also acting outside the bounds of ethical journalism for not disclosing these potential conflicts. With the venom aimed at Ted Genoways, the failure to disclose these conflicts, can not be overlooked as a minor omission.
3. There are many people, much more qualified than I, to speak to Ted's professional qualifications and professional character. More than 30 writers have signed a letter of support, which has been submitted to The Chronical of Higher Education. The Chronicle has yet to publish it, perhaps because it contradicts the convenient and popular story of the bullying boss.
Once again I ask the readers of this paper to withhold judgement until the facts are made public. In the meantime, it seems that The Hook needs to place a new, non-conflicted writer or web-commentor on this story.
Not a thing, I just noticed you as the most consistently vocal in this thread, but can't figure out why. I should have phrased that less provocatively, apologies.
The Style article said Genoways e-mail was hacked.
It's been reported a computer was stolen. Who other than staff, by which I mean Genoways and subordinates, family, friends, or other party intimately connected to this affair would have any motive for stealing a specific computer immediately after the tragedy.
Again, sorry for the way I put that, Mr. Wolfe.
This is resonating w/the UVA community b/c not only is it a tragedy, but so MANY in this community have had experiences in the workplace that are SIMILAR to Mr. Morrissey's. It shouldn't be this way here (or anywhere).
UVA, as the largest area employer, is, for many, "golden handcuffs." We expect academia to be full of intelligent, humane, individuals, when really it's just a microcosm of the wider world.
This is national news b/c it's a tragedy of epic proportions, though the stakes that enouraged the bullying--Genoway's ego and ambition, a tiny literary magazine--were so small in comparison to another man's life.
Now that the issue has been aired on Today, can People magazine be far behind? Headline, ala Yeardly Love: "Could He Have Been Saved?"
"hoist with one's own petard" - 66,000 results
"hoist by one's own petard" - 40,000 results
"hoist to one's own petard" - 2 results
Wow, that's some preference.
Angel Eyes: "on a callow young woman with qualifications mostly confined to being generous with her Daddy’s money"
I don't know boo about any of this, but a little googling shows that the "callow young woman" is in her mid-twenties and was an outstanding student at UVa (BA, MA) who cared enough about the Young Writers Workshop program for kids that helped her at UVa when she was a kid that she donated money that was hers (even if derived from her father, she could have spent it on herself) to keep it from folding up shop. She worked on literary magazines as an undergraduate. People shouldn't complain about bullying and then anonymously trash people they don't know based on guesswork.
Maria Morrissey - Creative people aren’t expected to be good managers; deal with it. -WHAT!!! and yes I am yelling...I guess we can't expect the former president's office to be anything better than what it was in this instance. Sounds like Ms. Sullivan has a GREAT DEAL of house cleaning to do...unless of course the person that told Kevin and the staff to "deal with it" was Casteen himself. With his past track record of sticking his head in the sand...it wouldn't surprise me....I do appologize, this statement so stuck out to me and made me ANGRY. I cannot believe someone that was entrusted with this type of academic power/responsibility either told the staff or had someone in his office tell them "creative people aren't expected to be good managers, so deal with it". Shame on you John Casteen for soiling the name of Thomas Jefferson's legacy, the poor guy is SPINNING in this grave. Again I appologize, I'm off the soapbox, just venting.
I wonder if we will ever hear John Casteen's side of the story. That is the one chapter noticeably absent from all the news coverage
it's "with" in shakespeare. shucks.
This is a bit off topic, but the most vicious bully I've ever known (at work) had been an English major at UVA, and he would never fail to leave it out of a conversation that UVA was #2 in the nation in English. Needless to say, we were all so impressed.
"I have lived here since I was 13 years old and I have never once heard someone refer to UVa as Ã¢â?¬Ë?the Plantation.’ Everything that you are trying to hang off of this strange claim makes no sense at all. Are you even local?"
I've heard it said by UVa workers -- housecleaning, catering, staff, and some faculty -- 1974-2010.
"By the way, y’all should note that VQR is funded primarily through their own long-standing endowment. That is what pays those salaries. The University provides office space and electricity and that’s about it. This is not your tax dollars at work."
If that's true, the VQR should have no trouble finding a new home.
I wanted to offer a formal apology to Brendan Wolfe for my inaccurate comment last night. Clearly, he does not work for The Hook, like I had assumed. I called into question his ethics, which was not kind or applicable.
I apoligize for my accusation and my misunderstanding of his connection to the story.
As an aside, I have been very up front about my agenda and loyalties. I think the fact that he is basing his comments on his wife's work experience at VQR, without stating that connection is a bit disingenuous. If his connection to the story was disclosed there would be no question of how he knows the information he has suggested to know. Then readers would be able to make their own, informed decision about the accuracy of the stated information, knowing the bias that is inherent, based on the relationship.
I will not discount what Brendan and Molly believe, since it has been a reality for them. But, I will also continue to believe that there are two sides to every story. That things may not be the way they seem on the surface.
"Steve argues that I have no Ã¢â?¬Å?first-hand knowledge. None.” That isn’t true. I have read a number of e-mails, seen notes that Kevin Morrissey took, and talked to multiple people involved."
I had no clue that you were married to Molly Minturn...obviously, that adds to your credibility (although, it also increases the bias of your perspective, though not really in a bad way).
If you've read those emails, then yes, you know more than everybody here...but it is a "I know something you don't know" defense, and other than speculation, what are we left with?
If I read the emails myself, I'd probably agree with you...but I haven't...and I can't. So it remains rumor and innuendo.
I'm sure you wouldn't be too happy, being accused of something based only on evidence that was only partially publicly available. It's a bad situation for all involved, no doubt about that. A lot of reputations are being destroyed.
As someone blogged at the New York Observer piece, by Tom Bissell:
Audits will tell us more (but, will audits motivate any improvements?)
It is clear, from reading the many stories of workplace discrimination and harrassment at UVA, that something very wrong in that large organization has been wrong for quite a while.
Many in the Charlottesville community routinely refer to UVA as 'the plantation'. What would that image involve: overseer bosses, employed to get results that maintain the privileged lifestyles of the lords and ladies, might have few restraint against their own covetousness, and their own anger, and may care little about those who do the real work. Southerners are raised to be a bit extravagant (we'll admit), but local people who call the University 'the plantation' mean it truly, and not as an extravagant image. It is still 'the plantation' to persons and communities of color, lesbian and gay communities and their families, those who do the grunt work and routine work that allows the University to operate, and others, who are shockingly underrepresented, underemployed, and under the heal of obvious bias, discrimination, and disrespect.
Strange, isn't it, that at the home of the aspirationally democratic Jefferson, that many in the local community regard his creature, the University of Virginia, as 'the plantation'?
Organizational dysfuntion has an important explanatory power in this sad story, able to help explain behaviors of both Mr Morrissey and Mr Genoways.
Poor management practices might be expected from managers who receive no training and coaching on management best practices, who are not accountable to supervision, audit, and correction, and who are allowed to be 'rock stars' with taxpayers money. Tragic consequences might be expected when employees are abandoned, and feel threatened, by the organization that has promised (in its policies, and in its public announcements ) to be open, listening, and responsive.
The conduct of the audits - or really, multiple audits (financial, organizational behavior, adherence to employment and other policies, transgressions of ethical practices ) - appropriate sharing of information from those audits - and implementation of changes throughout the University community, will be the tests of true concern for both Mr Genoways, and Mr Morrissey.
Possibly the best thing Mr. Genoways's supporters in the literary/journalistic world could do would be to rally round (Wodehouse echo intentional) and come up with a suitable venue in commercial publishing where he would fit in and be able to exercise his talents fully with less risk of ending up in a management disaster. There are expectations about appropriate management style that come with the territory in university-based publishing, just as a college football coach can't operate in the same manner as an NFL coach. That just comes with the territory.
Seriously--if you want to help, stop beating the VQR horse and think seriously about what alternatives are out there.
I have lived here since I was 13 years old and I have never once heard someone refer to UVa as 'the Plantation.' Everything that you are trying to hang off of this strange claim makes no sense at all. Are you even local?
I really don't understand the need that most of these people in the comments section here have to turn this into some black and white thing. It is possible to be a really great editor (which Ted was and is) and at the same time be really bad at managing people. Many of the writers who are defending Ted against what Waldo said about 'bad situations' should bear in mind that perhaps at times things went smoothly for them because other staff members seamlessly ensured that this would be the case.
Ted is not a demon and he did not set out to cause Kevin's death. It is ridiculous to try to turn him into some sort of national whipping boy for bad bosses. The efforts that the national media (I don't include The Hook in this; your reporting has been really good) are making to ruin the man's life and reputation are uncalled for. I agree that he needs to be gone from VQR but I hope that he lands on his feet at another publication where perhaps he could have a slightly different set of responsibilities.
I wish that Lloyd Snook would be a little more thoughtful about the things he's said about other people involved in this whole thing, but I want to point out that the man has devoted a large portion of his career to getting people off of death row as a matter of personal principle. A lawyer can make a lot more money doing things other than that. He's not a bad guy.
Waldo didn't just blog for VQR. He was their IT department and on-line editor. He also proofed and fact-checked and wrote material for VQR. Anyone familiar with his background should know perfectly well that he could have been making easily 3 times that salary at any one of dozens of other institutions and companies. He was at VQR because that work was important to him and he gave them his services for a remarkably low price.
By the way, y'all should note that VQR is funded primarily through their own long-standing endowment. That is what pays those salaries. The University provides office space and electricity and that's about it. This is not your tax dollars at work. You aren't entitled to be indignant at how much money any of these people were being paid.
I feel I should add something...we know many of you have used different names, and I should point out that we've never been very strict about discouraging that. So we're not trying to scold you. But for a comment thread of this size, and on such a sensitive subject, we felt it was necessary to maintain some control. Thanks.
@Now for Something Completely Different - disclose your source, makes it more believable.
The Healthy Workplace Bill campaign is being conducted on a state level, not a federal. So, since I live in Texas, I cannot directly campaign for such a bill in Virginia. Nevertheless, I am working on getting such a bill introduced in my own state. Anyone interested in working toward the passage of the Healthy Workplace Bill in their own state can go here: http://www.healthyworkplacebill.org/volunteer.php for more information.
What can be done on a national level is educating people about workplace bullying, which is why I am doing interviews. There is plenty that one can do to educate one's self. For starters, check out http://www.workplacebullying.org/
I lived in Charlottesville for about six months once, and I thought it a phenomenally snooty town.
When I read that Ted Genoways published the poems of So-and-so Carsteen IV I think that's probably business as usual. When I read about a "toxic work environment" culminating in a suicide, I picture a handful of folks in a bubble they couldn't escape if they tried. I imagine Kevin Morrissey going to any of the establishments I knew (The White Spot, that new coffee shop on The Corner, the Mexican place up from it, and the bar with the pool table in the opposite direction, next to the Student Bookstore where I worked, plus the Daily Regress where I also worked, plus on campus at George Garrett's writing workshop which I audited, plus some Tokyo Rose place I think was the name - this was 95 or 96) and trying to strike up a conversation with anyone about anything, and failing miserably.
Full disclosure: I once got an email from Ted Genoways, and I thought he seemed very nice.
I feel compelled to respond to the letter from Genoways' contributors.
First of all, The Hook did indeed "carefully investigate the matter." Despite the use of unnamed sources, I feel confident that David McNair corroborated all eye-witness accounts of events preceding Kevin's death. He also had a thorough paper trail of emails and other documentation to back up his story. Therefore, your statement: "We find it deeply disturbing that the journalistic standards to which we and VQR are committed have not been applied in coverage of these tragic events," rings as both presumptuous and unfairly dismissive.
Secondly, Ted's editorial capabilities are not and never have been called into question, so I fail to see the constant need to defend that. Nor is it accurate to portray Ted as "the person" who brought success to VQR. I'm sure the talented and hard-working staff and interns of VQR would dispute that.
Finally, in response to your remark, "several individuals related to the case have rushed to conclusions, accusing the editor-in-chief, Ted Genoways, of workplace bullying.": This accusation is not a rush to judgement or conclusion. To whit, the entire staff of VQR(less Alana) went together to the President's office earlier this year to complain about the hostile work environment created by Ted. Further, Ted's act of exiling Kevin and Waldo for the office for one week without explanation and demanding that neither speak to other employees is a clear act of workplace bullying, especially given that Kevin was in a leadership role at VQR while Ted was on leave. This action of Ted's caused Waldo to tender his resignation when no suitable explanation was forthcoming. HR has confirmed that Ted violated University policy when he exiled Kevin and Waldo. Moreover, even after the President's office assured the VQR staff that Ted would not retaliate, he sent two very angry emails a mere two days later, one of which caused Molly to be diagnosed with PTSD and given medical leave, the other of which accused Kevin of nearly causing someone's death (which was entirely untrue) and preceded his suicide by a mere two hours. These incidents hardly constitute a "rush to conclusions."
Has anyone of you done any reading on the definition of workplace bullying?
Yes, there is a thorough investigation going on into the management practices and operations at VQR, but this does not preclude the people, i.e. the former VQR staff, from discussing what they themselves witnessed and experienced under Ted's leadership. I think the result of losing one staffer to work-related PTSD, one by resignation, and one by suicide in the space of one week speaks volumes, in and of itself. As does the recent request by the staff that Kevin managed to have their names removed from the masthead, and their wholesale exodus from VQR.
Sorry for my clumsy English on that last sentence. It should have read, "the recent request of the staff formerly managed by Kevin" to have their names removed from the masthead...
To all of the VQR contributors who signed the letter above, I want to say again how much I've enjoyed working on the various pieces you've published in VQR. The VQR staff had a hand in editing just about all of them. It is admirable that you want to support your friend and I understand your urge to do so when you have never been mistreated by him.
However I wonder about this statement:
"Unable to explain his decision and often guided by their own personal agendas, several individuals related to the case have rushed to conclusions, accusing the editor-in-chief, Ted Genoways, of workplace bullying."
Please tell me what my personal agenda was? Please tell me how I have rushed to conclusions after witnessing events in this office for a year that left me confused, isolated, and finally fearing for my coworker's survival?
Please know that I have no personal vendetta against Ted, nor did I ever rush to accuse him of being a bully. I have simply answered questions about what I witnessed and experienced in my time as an employee here. This in an an issue that goes beyond Ted's management style. My frustration lies mostly with the University and its inaction after numerous requests for help. This has nothing to do with Ted's ability as an editor. I know and saw what a supportive editor he was to you all.
I will say again what I said in an earlier post: If Ted, any of you, or perhaps the University can explain why Ted decided to ban and isolate two employees for a week, creating a completely toxic and untenable work environment for everyone here, that might help his case. Otherwise, your letter, though earnest and heartfelt, does not address what is actually under investigation.
In response to seriously: "The email to associate editor Molly Minturn, sources say, so upset her that she took it directly to the president’s office and HR. Reportedly visibly shaken, she was unofficially diagnosed with Ã¢â?¬Å?post-traumatic stress syndrome” by HR counselors, who suggested she go on medical leave. And that was before she heard the news about Morrissey."
I believe the man who advised Minturn of the PTSD syndrome was Alan Cohn, identified earlier in the Hook article. He was someone that Minturn and Morrissey and McMillen had all spoken with several times. I believe he is the man who is quoted as saying "you all need immediate help, but these things take time." He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a Board of Certified Diplomate (BCD) which is a credential given to practitioners with extensive professional experience. Whether that gives him the ability to diagnose PTSD is up to the reader to decide.
Michael vick was a great quarteback but also thought it was ok to fight dogs.
The ony difference I see here is that Micheal Vick restricted his aggressive non professional and immoral behavior to his non working hours.
Why has the new President not made a one on one meeting with Mr. Genoways and his lawyer her first priority. A very simple questions could be asked:
1) What is your side of the story?
2) Did x y and z actually happen:
3) did you say xyand z to this person.
4) are you calling these people all liars.
5) would you prefer to resign or be fired?
Get it over with. Move on. It sounds like he was a bully. So have a meeting and decide whether or not these assertions are true.
If he denies saying these things than have a public hearing with everydody involved. Either way there is no excuse for this to go on another day when the New President can hold a half hour interview with him and get the facts.
The University needs to get its act together and prove it can solve problems. This one is an easy one. If he wants his contract bought out than fight the good fight and let all the dirty laundry come out.
Do something TODAY.
IF one-quarter of the energy evidenced in this and other reporting and blogs, were spent on getting legislation introduced in the Virginia legislature, all the way through to the Governor's signature, protecting everyone from workplace bullying (and false allegations of bullying), and effective enforcement for accommodation of mental illness in the workplace - all workplaces -we will have endowed ourselves, family members, friends, and the future we do not yet know, with something very valuable!
And, other suggestions include:
pursue local legislators, Toscano and Bell, to get them on the record WHAT bills they will introduce in the legislature regarding workplace bullying and accommodation of mental illness in the workplace - all workplaces!
Mr Snook and Ms Morrissey, old staff of VQR, and various and sundry writers composing letter in support of Mr Genoways:
can you find a way to stand together, or state together, a demand for Virginia to support protective legislation?
Other commentators who are great researchers about conflicts of interest in a small town, Ã¢â?¬Ë?plantation’ state, etc:
dig and publicize the background notes on why Delegate Toscano, Delegate Bell, the Governor, the Attorney General, will, or will not, support protective legislation! (dig deep: there is dirt in those contributions and conflicts of interest!)
Those who have suffered bullying:
with honesty, and to the extent that you can share your story, write your legislators about protective legislation; and consider supporting such groups as NAMI that support collective action on behalf of persons with mental illness
UVA employees, and other employees in other places:
while we know that Virginia is not friendly - in law, or culture - to labor unions, isn’t this situation yet another reason to support labor unions that are strong and transparent (and its the members jobs to keep it that way, just as its the voters jobs to keep the politicians honest); so, one motto might be to Get a Union.
do any of the above;
please remember that bullying is everywhere; and bullying is fierce in our schools, especially against marginalized youth; many youth each year drop out of school, get into trouble at school, 'medicate' their suffering with alcohol or drugs, and some go so far to kill themselves (a recent youth suicide in Richmond area was because of bullying). Make sure that your local school truly PREVENTS BULLYING.
"Organizational dysfuntion has an important explanatory power in this sad story, able to help explain behaviors of both Mr Morrissey and Mr Genoways.
Poor management practices might be expected from managers who receive no training and coaching on management best practices, who are not accountable to supervision, audit, and correction, and who are allowed to be Ã¢â?¬Ë?rock stars’ with taxpayers money. Tragic consequences might be expected when employees are abandoned, and feel threatened, by the organization that has promised (in its policies, and in its public announcements ) to be open, listening, and responsive.
The conduct of the audits - or really, multiple audits (financial, organizational behavior, adherence to employment and other policies, transgressions of ethical practices ) - appropriate sharing of information from those audits - and implementation of changes throughout the University community, will be the tests of true concern for both Mr Genoways, and Mr Morrissey."
Also, "Seriously," I haven't exactly been thrilled about this diagnosis being made public. It was not something I wanted to shared with the press. Believe me, it seemed ridiculous to me, too, at the time. It's a literary magazine, not a war zone.
Still, this is what I was told by Mr. Cohn. That is a fact. You can make fun of it (and me) all you want. It doesn't change anything.
After reading Genoway's email to Morrisey, I can say that that sort of "management" doesn't fly in the corporate world either. The first sentence "I have a report . . . " would be a hoot if we weren't talking about a tragedy.
Although I've never worked on the Today show, I can say with confidence that using anonymous tittle tattle to impose disciplinary measures on an employee isn't acceptable in the corporate world where I've spent the last 30+ years either. That email, even at a place like AT & T, where I spent most of my career, would earn the writer a very unpleasant sit-down with his/her boss and HR.
I guess I'm most disappointed with the recent actions of UVA in this case. They have this written evidence of gross mis-management and still have Genoways managing the VQR. Is it REALLY that important to get issue out on time?
The notion that one's own research for a Guggenheim would necessitate postponing a meeting with the manager of your office for a week after he had done something so heinous (by hearsay) that one had to in effect to dismiss him is pretty funny. Of course lots of academics think about "my work" being much more important than their actual job duties.
"Did Genoways himself indulge in scapegoating Morrissey? How can we possibly know based on the lack of documentation from both sides of the conflict"
ain't a damn thing stopping Genoways from telling his side of the story....
If I were accused as he has been I would be on the Today show clearing my name once and for all.
The situation is "unacceptable workplace behavior."
IF that is an accurate statement, THEN that letter was acceptably worded. As was Morrissey's reponse.
I have no knowledge of the situation itself, didn't say I did.
But, if a supervisor needs to tell an employee to leave the office the week, then that letter is how you word that request/order/whatever. You don't get upset or angry, you just say "this needs to happen" in blunt but professional terms.
You guys are reading way too much into what I wrote. I'm only commenting on it because if you ever read or wrote a negative letter from a supervisor, that's how it would look.
In fact, it looks like the template HR would give a supervisor to follow.
You can be upset and angry at the comment if you want, but it doesn't make me any less right.
What happened AFTER this letter was sent is a 100 percent different issue, and was apparently NOT handled correctly.
Has the "your-delay-may-have-jeopardized-the-life-of-a-journalist-in-Mexico" email been posted anywhere yet?
@ lets be civil,
It was not my intention to imply that the relationship between Mr. Genoways and Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse was/is romantic in nature, in fact, the numerous testimonials from his friends/writers make me think it unlikely that it was, perhaps relationship was a poor choice of words. That being said, clearly her position among the staff was a unique one, where, despite Mr. Morrissey being in charge in Mr. Genoways absence, Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse felt comfortable complaining of Morrissey's and Jaquith's conduct to Genoways and he was willing to accept her complaints and severely discipline two vastly more experienced staff members without so much as a word from either of them in explanation?? The problems seem to center around the suggestion that Morrissey attend the meeting with the VP of Research, along with Levinson-LaBrosse, no? Why would this suggestion, which seems perfectly reasonable to an outsider like myself, upset her so? Why would Genoways react the way he did and banish two more senior staff members for such a thing? Had Genoways promised Levinson-LaBrosse exclusive participation in the aforementioned meeting to reassign staff responsibilities (assuming that was the purpose of the meeting)? Was Morrissey's banishment meant to prevent him for representing VQR at said meeting? Did the meeting actually happen, and if so, what was the outcome? Just wondering if anyone knows the answer to these questions, as their answers might shed some light on why Morrissey was being treated the way he clearly was.
Barbara, you make an excellent point and in principle I agree. In this case, as in others the Hook has investigated, people's jobs are on the line if they use their real names, and often what they post provides important clues for reporters to follow up on, that they wouldn't otherwise know about. So for those reasons, I feel anonymous posting can be a service, but should never be taken by the public at face value, unless a real name is attached.
"The meeting described on July 26 did not happen, at least not with Ted present."
That's a pretty significant discrepancy. I hope that the reporter will be able to confirm or correct.
I just read President Sullivan's statement that Barbara Deily will be conducting the expanded investigation of VQR. This is a refreshing surprise as it will not be a white wash. I have attended meetings where Ms. Deily presented and reported and she's very competent and seems to possess a healthy dose of equanimity. To everyone who feels that Ted Genoways is being pilloried, this should come as good news.
first rate reporting and writing from The Hook.
Why didn't anyone scream nepotism in 2003 when Genoways hired a former coworker and buddy who had no college degree and brought him all the way from MN as his righthand man? How many academic literary rags are edited by people who never even took a BA or wrote a book, and how many literary editors make 70k? In many ways, Genoways and his intern seem like the only staffers with any real qualifications to run an academic literary rag--literary and scholarly background, publications, and financial savvy.
How likely is it that UVA would ever hire a literary magazine editor with no college degree; this fellow was working there by the grace of his patron, employed by the breath of princes.
If Genoways didn't support his staff, he could've fired them; if they were uncomfortable with the way the office ran, they could have quit. Employment is not a right, neither is office niceness. Waldo was unhappy somehow, and he quit and didn't make a fuss about it.
An unhappy guy prone to public weeping, estranged from his family, unsteady doing work for which he (on paper at least) was not qualified, evidently too much in debt to quit his job, separated from his girlfriend, and a sufferer from lifelong depression.
Tragic, but not surprising.
my personal experience of trying to find help after a horrible episode with misguided managers at UVa is that the ombudsman has no clothes.
What a lovely mess Casteen left for Sullivan as he rode off into the sunset!
Nice post, Alan Cordle. This is degenerating pretty quickly.
@ Anissa-- no problem. I hope it didn't come across that I was scolding you. Once again, I commend you for being a good friend.
I don't know Brendan or Molly. Waldo and I have many friends in common and have met, though I doubt he could pick me out of a line-up. I've followed his various blogs for a long time and respect what he does. Waldo has a well-deserved good reputation in this area, and is respected and liked by a broad spectrum of people. There are, of course, people who don't like him. I don't agree with some things he's said, but know him to be fair in his reasoning.
On a personal level, none of these allegations come as a huge surprise to me. As a former journal employee (not VQR), and having worked in publishing for a number of years, I know that we never let the "talent" experience any of the dysfunction going on behind the scenes. As far as the writers were concerned, everything was smooth sailing. They were taken care of in every way and never knew the ugly reality. The top people glad-handed the writers and maintained firm control over the contact side of things. Needless to say, they took 100% credit for the work done by the grunts. After I left the journal, they got into a bit of trouble with the VEC for nepotism, discriminating against an employee, and denying that person unemployment. All of this was kept quiet by the UVA department that had oversight over the journal.
So I agree with the posters above that the writers at VQR probably had a completely different take on the situation. Because of the lengthy paper trail involved, and based on the history of complaints against Genoways, reasoning tells me that the staff is most likely telling the truth about what happened. I sincerely doubt that Molly Minturn was coming home every night and lying to her husband about what transpired during the day. Nor do I believe that he hallucinated seeing the emails his wife had received. Just my 2 cents.
Anissa, your credibility is just about zero now. If the editor deletes your woefully uninformed comments above, it would just serve to cover-up your inability to proceed thoughtfully and rationally on this issue, and it would leave the impression that you're a careful thinker, which would be wrong. I vote that the Hook keep your comment above as a "full-disclosure" kind of thing--so we know, the next time you post, how unreliable you are.
As a former HR director for a well-known company in Charlottesville, and a Benefits Consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers for many years prior, I feel compelled to write a bit about the laws that govern personnel issues.
First, @ very old timer, Ted is not able to speak freely about the situations at question because they are personnel issues. To do so, would be illegal and place Ted in violation of federal and state law, and UVa policy. This is standard practice across all industries.
Even though people keep asking for an explanation of the inappropriate behavior, it is not information that can be shared by Ted or the University. To explain the inappropriate behavior would cause either Ted or UVa to breech personnel confidentiality laws, and be in violation of the same policies and laws mentioned above.
"To explain the inappropriate behavior would cause either Ted or UVa to breech personnel confidentiality laws...."
Did these laws prohibit him from explaining the inappropriate behavior to Mr. Morrissey? It's clear that after receiving the email, Mr. Morrissey went to HR and he didn't know what was "unacceptable."
My concern with the email is that it reveals that 1) the supervisor did not first talk with his friend/employee about the incident, if that's what it was; 2) he took drastic action by email without indicating what the complaint was to the accused; 3) he forbad the employee to try to find out what he was accused of, on pain of disciplinary action, by talking to his friends in the office.
All that is right there in the email. I still find it indefensible.
It's got nothing to do with "training employees". That's not the solution to the problem. The problem is how management treats employees.
What a horrible error the Today show made by saying that Morrissey blamed Genoways in his suicide note. As if the tenor of this was not already way out of balance, now major television media is helping lay blame where there may be none. Very bad coverage of these events, dealing so much with rumor and anonymous sources.
A google book search reveals not a single instance of "hoist to one's own petard" but 140 of "hoist on one's own petard" and thanks to the bard 756 for "with."
Looks like Genoways and Levinson-LaBrosse broke their silence for the LA Times:
Some interesting details therein.
The Washington Post published a good article yesterday about VQR.
Also, I agree AphraB. Dysfunctional managers, often hired for political reasons, are devastating to organizations and employees.
forwarded - it's "with." A petard was a device.
Tonkinson & Annie C ---- perfectly said!!!!!
Annie C: Thank you so much for what you wrote. I was a Director of Marketing and Communications in university environments for over 20 years, and was bullied incessantly at my last job, where I did serve as editor for a magazine and numerous other publications. I've never had anyone so succinctly express what I went through and what I believe Kevin experienced. I resent to this day having to choose between giving up the work I loved in order to preserve my health. I resent, too, the bully continuing to be rewarded by the system with promotions, a high salary and respect.
A month has passed since Kevin Morrissey's suicide. So far, Ted Genoways has refused to explain himself and his actions, hiding instead behind a lawyer. This is especially ironic, given that Mr. Genoways prides himself on being the editor of a magazine whose thrust and reputation he changed from a mostly reflective intellectual / literary quarterly to a hybrid of investigative journalism, cultural commentary and literary trendsetting. That's fine, even if it was not as successful as his propaganda proclaimed -- but how disingenuous is it for Mr. Genoways to practice tone-deaf silence while advocating behind-the-scene reporting?
Investigative journalism licenses fact-based speculation, especially if principals and witnesses of the investigative target remain mostly mum. By now we've seen plenty of factual evidence and testimony in this case that might not yet permit a final conclusion but could allow a few educated guesses -- thanks mostly to Dave McNair's research and writing for the Hook, but also to tidbits we've learned from Waldo Jaquith, Molly Minturn, Brendan Wolfe and even Mr. Genoways' lawyer, Lloyd Snook.
Despite stone-walling by Mr. Genoways and UVA, a direct line can be drawn between two acts by Mr. Genoways that apparently violated university policy: the act of installing a wealthy UVA donor who had graduated from UVA recently and took an interest in writing, Alana Levinson-Labrosse, in his office last fall, and the act of banishing Mr. Morrissey and Mr. Jaquith from the office in mid-July. According to several eye witness accounts, Mr. Genoways' bullying of Mr. Morrissey began in earnest at the time when he installed Ms. Levinson-Labrosse, and culminated in office banishment the very day of, and shortly after, some kind of altercation between Ms. Levinson-Labrosse and long-time staff members. Since Mr. Genoways was out of town on that day and reprimanded Mr. Morrissey, without any explanation, via email, we can speculate that this reprimand might have been caused by a note or phone call from Ms. Levinson-Labrosse to Mr. Genoways. Since Ms. Levinson-Labrosse had her desk in Mr. Genoways' office and they often conferred behind closed doors, one could further speculate that Mr. Genoways tried to elicit (or hoped for) major funding from Ms. Levinson-Labrosse, either for VQR or some other, possibly related, project. After all, he had shown a proclivity for self-serving shenanigans in his dealings with the University of Georgia Press, where he published his own and his friends' poetry books with VQR funding. This begs the following questions: Was Kevin Morrissey -- who was by all accounts a straight arrow -- standing in the way of Genoways' plans to reap benefits from Ms. Levinson-Labrosse? Had Mr. Genoways conspired to reshuffle the VQR staff so he could offer a certain position to Ms. Levinson-Labrosse?
An update on the ABC news article:
@Man-o-man....so the dots are beginning to be connected. Many here have eluded to this, but seems you have just come out and said it! Well done!
Put yourself in Kevin Morrissey's shoes--excluded from meetings about forthcoming issues,repeatedly dismissed and insulted by your boss, denied information you need to do your job, accused of being unprofessional and incompetent, aware that a young heiress is in now in the office of your boss, and feeling that your boss was trying to acquire enough evidence that he could claim you were useless and force you to resign to place young heiress in your position. You are 52 years old, you have gone everywhere in the universe ruled by John Casteen III (whose son had been helped by your boss) and NO ONE had ever helped. All of your fellow staff members went over to the office of said Casteen III with you and NOTHING happened then, either. Hands Off Genoways everyone said. Tell me you wouldn't despair.
I just wish he might have seen that some relief might have come with the new President, who at least seems to be investigating this. Nice mess Casteen III left her--he's off buying a big boat in Maine so what does he care--no comment on any of this from him.
While I appreciate reading the advise of bullying experts, I have to say I *agree* with you: "The Ã¢â?¬Å?bullying expert” at UVA has no leverage, and is inconsequential."
The reason I agree is because this applies to me: "The focus, or onus, needs to be on dysfunctional managers (of which there are many) instead of victimization of ’subordinates’ who don’t have the Ã¢â?¬Ë?power’ to affect change."
"Let there be no doubt Ã¢â?¬â? there is an organized group of people who are determined to shop this story to local and national media....It picks up the story because someone who wants to vilify Ted Genoways calls them to try to interest them in the story."
Rather hypocritical. Is there anyone out there who believes that Ted Genoways is not very, very busy behind the scenes trying to spin this story wherever he can?
I think Mr. Snook's long response deserves a response in kind.
First, it's not an "error" that, based on the quotation attributed to you, people assumed that you "insinuate(d) that Kevin did anything wrong financially." In fact, it's a reasonable interpretation of what you said, and because you haven't claimed to have been misquoted, I think it continues to be reasonable. Still, I will accept your word that you had no intention of implicating Kevin Morrissey in any financial irregularities.
Second, you write that you "may have jumped to an incorrect conclusion in saying that the note left by his side when he committed suicide was a 'suicide note.'" I assume you're being sarcastic here. No one is arguing that a note left by Kevin Morrissey is not a suicide note, only that said note -- which I have seen -- does not name or in any way implicate your client. It seems like a big mistake for you to make, and one that wouldn't call for a sarcastic response, especially in the context of correcting other people's so-called errors.
A related point: as I understand it, no one on the staff of VQR has ever accused your client of causing the death of Kevin Morrissey. That's a strawman. The accusations seem to revolve around Genoways's professional treatment of Morrissey and whether the university properly supervised and, when called upon, adequately intervened.
You write that "all involved here -- Ted and the other VQR employees -- are all supposed to be adhering" to a policy of confidentiality where the allegations of workplace bullying are concerned. I would simply ask you to double-check with the university on that. I'm not sure it's true.
You write that "the meeting described on July 26 did not happen, at least not with Ted present"; here, I assume you mean the meeting in which your client allegedly was reprimanded by his superiors. I'll take your word on that, but ask whether you can confirm that the meeting happened some other day. And why don't you deny the Hook's characterization of the meeting? You do deny the "description of the week" that followed, but not of that meeting.
Finally, you attack those who have spoken to the press as being "on a crusade to vilify Ted Genoways." From my experience, that is not true. The sole motivation has been to tell the truth -- a truth you hardly deny in your response.
Good question, NancyDrew. I have never heard of criminal charges being placed in an employer-employee relationship. There have however been criminal charges in the cases of juveniles who have committed suicide after being subjected to criminal harassment, civil rights violations, stalking and/or statutory rape.
These situations, in one form or another, exist everywhere. I once worked for a sheriff who bullied several people into resigning. In one particular case, the employee had become a workman's compensation liability after being injured in a verious serious courtroom battle. They wanted him gone, the sooner the better. They made his life so miserable that he resigned just a few days before actually becoming vested in the city retirement program. He couldn't even force himself to work that few extra days, that's how bad the bullying was.
here at the quiet limit of the world...
After - "it has to at least pretend those degrees have market value" without pretending, the university couldn't even substantiate it's own existence. "if i weren’t rich and pretty i’d starve." so are you saying that you have an intelligence level that could not land you a job? Glad to see that your education has given you what they were intended to do - LEARN TO THINK. I hope that you have either obtained that advanced degree or are currently working on one. You will need it after your looks fade and they all do with time...As far as all societies being a class system, I think that is something our forefathers fought against for our country.
after, I truly don't know what you mean by that post esp. that last sentence, "if i weren’t rich and pretty i’d starve." (Seriously, what does this have to with the article?)
A lot of entry-level jobs require degrees. However, some positions, even senior positions, do not. All I did was mention that in the publishing world, there are examples of people at the top of their game without degrees esp. those aged 50 and over which is an age group Morrisey and Anna Wintour belong to.
Just want to throw it out there but many people in publishing do not have college degrees. Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue-does not. Granted, Vogue is not a literary magazine but it is an important publication, and Wintour is one of the most important and influential people in the publishing world.
The article should give you a sense of the finesse of bullying. It is not one incident, it is a relentless and erratic process of devaluation and profound unmooring, feeling powerless. It involves a lot of transference and mutual identification. The perpetrator probably was once perceived as an ally and a friend (thus the vulnerability) but things have turned and no recourse or revaluation seems possible.
There are many people at the university who are far more qualified than I to edit VQR, although I'm flattered that anybody might suspect I'd be capable of such a thing. But that's irrelevant: I have accepted another job. I do not want to edit VQR. I do not want to work for the magazine anymore. Every morning for two weeks I have felt physically ill at the prospect of returning. This is a chapter in my life that I am closing, that I should have closed a month ago.
While it's kind to interpret my relative silence as a "gentlemanly silence," it's closer to a terrified silence. Other prefixes that I can suggest include "confused," "angry," and "totally incapable of to dealing with this." I had also hoped that, by keeping quiet, strangers might refrain from insulting me and my two co-workers, who are all only tangentially parties to the narrative, leaving us to clean out our friend's apartment, put out a magazine, and try to move on with our lives. I'm afraid I may have overestimated humanity.
I apologize to "Bystander." Skimming, I didn't notice I wasn't the only bystander hereabouts.
Dear sle, august 21 5:11PM
My point remains, which you did not attempt to answer. The point was not ad hominem against, or for, Mr Jaquith; it is, rather, a UVA HR structural question:
b. Waldo Jaquith makes Seventy thousand dollars!? ”Š many high-performing, professional people working at the University for decades don’t come close to that salary ”Š even with advanced degrees, and exemplary records of service to the University and to the community. So, what’s up with salary equity at UVA?!
Dear sle, can you answer the question? who can answer the question?
@Machiavelli - agreed and toward Valerie Cade...if suicide is not a "formal complaint" enough for you, what is?
"@NancyDrew, that’s a good summation. Thanks.
Thoroughly disagree with #12, though, which makes the answer to #13 Ã¢â?¬Å?No.”
Anybody who read Staige Blackford’s VQR knows that though it was much smaller and much more modestÃ¢â?¬â??as was the tradition of literary mags before the 21st CÃ¢â?¬â??it was nevertheless, in aggregate, via individuals and as a whole,
much more of a work of Ã¢â?¬Å?genius” than Ted Genoways’ flash-in-the-pan was."
I agree. Ted Genoways is a sociopath, not a genius.
"I agree. Ted Genoways is a sociopath, not a genius."
Excuse me. Kevin was my cousin. I am fascinated by all these comments but I am requesting a short pause. I have a heartache and you are giving me a headache. Thank you.
IT Professional??? Waldo's a blogger from what I can tell. IT professionals do a lot more than blog. When I hear IT professional in my world I think of people that program computers and set up complex systems, not people that write blogs.
The VQR office sounds like a highbrow set for Ã¢â?¬Å?Glengarry Glen Ross.”
Unfortunately, every picture I’ve seen of this Mr. Genoways leaves me with an ineffable uneaseÃ¢â?¬â?certainly if loses his career over this he could pick up stand in work as an actor. Who knows? Maybe the next Lee Van Cleef.
Meantime, I managed to google up three of Mr. Genoway’s poems and found nothing worthy of the abounding hype. I read them less than ten minutes ago and remember his hand over a calf’s eye, vaguely, and that’s about it. My last trip to the bathroom was more poetic than that.
However, judging from these posts, much will linger of this talent in the months ahead.
Oh, and he might also consider public school teaching.
Kevin was a good friend and I heard a great deal about his attempts to get help.
Valerie Cade, quoted in an update on this story, has worked as a paid consultant for the University. Is she about to criticize what really goes on there? Conflict of interest anyone?
She says Ã¢â?¬Å?UVA offered him time off, employee counseling, and a chance to switch departments, but Kevin was the one who didn’t do anything.”
Kevin was NEVER offered a chance to switch departments--he would have taken the opportunity in a minute. He did seek employee counseling, which he felt was mostly an effort to keep him from filing a formal complaint. As for time off, what good would that have done if he then had to return to working conditions that hadn't changed? Ms Cade in this instance has no idea what she is talking about.
Because you suggested that he was overpaid. That was factually incorrect.
Apt moniker. Mr. Jaquith is an accomplished web developer and programmer who blogs in his free time. Thus, he in fact is an IT professional.
When Lloyd Snook referred to "people who are on a crusade to vilify Ted Genoways", I think he probably didn't mean your family members. I'm an outsider to this story (I know one person connected with VQR but not well enough to have ever talked about conditions there before your brother's death, or since for that matter), but when it first emerged I was able to discover with a few minutes' worth of Googling, as I'm sure others have, that at least a couple of people out there in the literary blogging world have had feuds with Ted G. They have their own agendas, and it's not hard to imagine they might have pointed news media outlets to the story when it first came out. If they did, whether that amounts to an "anti-Ted campaign" is a matter of interpretation.
I also think it's quite likely that outlets like the Chronicle of Higher Education and the Washington Post heard about the story from people who just plain felt it deserved some investigative reporting. If their inquiries got counted as part of the "crusade", they shouldn't have.
@Nancy Drew " How do we know, that when someone posts a name, that it is really said person ?" We don't. There are no "reservations" or "locks" on a certain user name to keep that name from being used by anyone for anything.
@Nancy Drew I wonder if anyone knows of a situation in which a boss has been charged with contributing to the death of an employee, due to bullying ?
In February this year in Melbourne, Australia, 4 men were fined a total of $335,000 for the relentless bullying of waitress Brodie Panlock who took her own life as a result. The cafe's owner, Marc Luis Da Cruz, and his company, MAP Foundation, pleaded guilty to two charges, including failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment. Da Cruz, 43, was fined $30,000 and his company $220,000 Manager Nicholas Smallwood, 26, and workmates Rhys MacAlpine, 28, and Gabriel Toomey, 23, all pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to failing to take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons.
Smallwood was fined $45,000, MacAlpine $30,000 and Toomey $10,000.
IMO and that of many other Australians, custodial sentences would have been far more appropriate.
My sincere sympathy to you and your family on the loss of Kevin.
I was also the target of workplace abuse for 7 years. I identify strongly with Kevin's statement "I simply can't bear it any longer" and his need to put an end to the pain. I too pleaded for help that never came.
People never cease to amaze me when they utter things like "if you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen" and " he was depressed, that's why he killed himself". The people that make such statements have NO IDEA, this is ignorance at it's best. Many people suffer from depression but manage to live full productive lives, they do not kill themselves. When you are a in situation of abuse day after day, year after year, you are slowly worn down to a point where you question your own sanity, your own ability and your own self worth among many other things. You relive the abusive incidents continuosly in an effort to try and understand something that will never make sense. There is no validation and the abusers usually go from strength to strength, quite often picking up supporters on their way, while merrily destroying their target. It is slow torture. At this point you can't see a way out, you are too sick to apply for other positions and too scared to leave your job out of fear of losing your income, home etc...and you alienate yourself from friends, family because they don't understand.
I know that there are people who would not succumb to this type of abuse and can't understand anyone who does (often tagging them as "weak"), but guess what, not everyone is the same as you.
There are many people with varying degrees of psycopathic tendencies in workplaces all over the world, they enjoy inflicting pain and watching the effect, they have no empathy, do not differentiate between right and wrong and will stop at nothing to get their own way. When it looks as though they might be caught out and "it gets a bit hot in their kitchen" they will shift all blame to their target or anyone other than themselves. They are very convincing and conniving and without a trace of integrity.
I know there is probably a lot of investigative work to be done in Kevin's case before all relevant factors are understood. Maria, if it is found that workplace abuse contributed to his death, I sincerely hope justice is afforded to him and that laws are changed to effectively deal with this scourge.
Yes, it is very sad, foremost for Kevin's family, dear friends and staff. The staff adored Kevin as their boss, and, ultimately, friend. Their loss is personal and incredibly painful.And you're right, it will haunt them forever. But what is also painful is that Kevin felt he had no assistance in protecting himself or his staff from random, irrational, and cruel treatment. I object to your characterization of calling this thread "feasting on this event". The majority of people who post here are not malicious or insensitive - you have to understand that this tragedy has exposed a very problematic dynamic at UVA that many people can relate to far beyond the borders of Charlottesville.
"Valerie Cade, quoted in an update on this story, has worked as a paid consultant for the University. Is she about to criticize what really goes on there? Conflict of interest anyone?
She says Ã¢â?¬Å?UVA offered him time off, employee counseling, and a chance to switch departments, but Kevin was the one who didn’t do anything.”
Kevin was NEVER offered a chance to switch departmentsÃ¢â?¬â??he would have taken the opportunity in a minute. He did seek employee counseling, which he felt was mostly an effort to keep him from filing a formal complaint. As for time off, what good would that have done if he then had to return to working conditions that hadn’t changed? Ms Cade in this instance has no idea what she is talking about."
"So, we’ve heard at least three times in this story and blog of instances where University officials obviously or apparently attempted to dissuade employees from making formal complaints, or taking other formal actions. Yet, the University officials, and University-paid consultants, as well as outside experts, are quoted stating how important it is for employees to have formal procedures available, accessible, and approachable. Who, and Where are the trustworthy auditors of the systems to support, and protect, employees? Can the failed system audit itself? Can hired consultants do that?"
Very valid points. But is "offered him time off, employee counseling, and a chance to switch departments" really getting to the heart of the problem? It would still maintain the status quo without questioning the workplace environment. I'm sure Kevin didn't only try for himself to seek help, but also for his staff which fell under his responsibilities. So how would have him 'switching departments' (which apparently wasn't even on the table) have helped solve the bigger problem of a poisonous workplace?
Well, Charles Mathewes has spoken. Let's all get along and write mediocre "scholarship" from some dopey Christian ethics point of view.
Thank you for contributing such an informative, thoughtful and affecting post to this discussion. You offered an eloquent description of some of the debilitating effects of bullying, one that resonated very strongly with my own experience.
@Reynolds, thank you for your comment. I am sorry that you have had to experience this first hand and I hope you have been able to recover.
@Charles Matthews,I resent your sweeping statement and can assure you that I am not "feasting on this event".
As I said in my earlier post, proper investigation needs to occur to identify exactly what took place but I do believe Kevin's family may have some insight, as did mine.
@truthwillhappen, well spoken.
@ Charles Mathewes
Charles I agree with you, I had a hard time believing that Gary Namie's post was actually by Gary Namie as well. To think that one who is a professional and a Dr. of Academia would write with that tone, considering the sensitivity required in this and other issues, is hard to digest. However, I recently visited Namie's websites as well as some other media coverage of him and found the exact same tone and phraseology as his blog post here.
I agree, heartfelt condolences to all VQR and UVa staff.
The Today Show already posted the segment to their Web site.
What we are discussing here is civil rights. In the workplace, school yard, etc., bullies bully because they can. The aggression against others that we all feel at times is allowed full expression in certain individuals because of either personal qualities--intellect, brain chemistry, powerful bodies,etc., or because of inherited social status. In short, bullies are the unchecked strong and the bullied are the unprotected weak. In the case of bullying, the weak are unprotected by law. Many of those commenting here cannot reveal their names or the names of their tormentors for fear of retaliation in this essentially one-company town. As in all civil rights movements, there is only strength in numbers, and until the weak arise against the powerful, they will continued to be bullied.
I would imagine a Christian response to the anger expressed on this blog is to forgive the gravely injured their expressions of helpless rage, and to pledge to work for their protection against the depredations of the privileged.
Others have touched on the UVa president's office angle, but it remains buried among the other angles in The Hook's coverage. Rightly, as there will be time to get to it. Keep the focus on workplace bullying for now.
However, I am confident in saying the investigation will show the role timing played in the lack of oversight. Casteen was on his way out, in the final days of his administration. It was July, when the heads if not the bodies of those in academia are elsewhere. There was a mix of short-timer's attitude and summer malaise that surely didn't help this tragic situation.
If one projects the Casteen MO onto this situation, one assumes that he was all too willing to absorb (or simply take credit for) the VQR's literary glory, awards, and reputation, but certainly wasn't interested in actually having to worry about it. Now he's gone and under no obligation to answer questions.
Will Sullivan stand up and take Casteen to task if the investigation points to his office for lack of oversight? From a cynically political perspective, she may have no better chance to announce the presence of a new sheriff in town.
Yes, Gasbag Self Ordained Expert, that's true. In this case, though, Kevin did have the backing of his fellow employees, all of whom went together with Kevin to complain to the president's office. But if the president of the university your supervisor's supervisor, I guess it doesn't matter how many people complain--the bully will continue to be protected.
People have pointed the finger at Kevin for not filing a formal complaint, but if there is no safety guaranteed for the target, and the bully boss will continue in the same work environment as the target after the complaint is filed, then a formal complaint is not really a viable option.
At least the in-studio expert in the Today show piece brought up the chicken & egg relationship between bullying and depression, as in, there is no way to tell which came first. Snook and Ted like to keep blaming Kevin's suicide on his depression, but miss the point that workplace bullying can cause and certainly exacerbate depression.
VQR debacle hits Ã¢â?¬Ë?Today’ show
Note that the post also includes a link to Mr. Morrissey's suicide note, and and a correction that Maria Morrissey wanted to make concerning the Today show report.
Oh, and one more thing: congratulations to The Hook for its fine coverage.
It underscores that The Hook need not resort to cheap stunts and gimmicks. The publication has talented writers and editors who produce some fine journalism.
Are you listening, Hawes? If you want to be taken seriously, spare us the gratuitous Playboy photo collections and turn your writers loose.
Here's a link that describes the differences between a manager and a bully:
This might be old news, but I see that all VQR staffers EXCEPT Ted Genoways and Alana Levinson have been removed from the masthead and contact pages.
I know one of the stories said the staffers were contemplating that action, and I guess they're following Waldo out the door.
The submission page has been changed to accepting submissions "this autumn at a time to be determined..." as opposed to Sept. 1. Somehow, I don't really see it happening.
Every single person should have a rainy day fund so that they can leave toxic situations. If people had more self respect and took their skills elswhere then the bullies would fail and be replaced. If a dozen people had quit and stated the reason then this situation would have never had a chance to get out of control.
If we were talking about an abusive marriage the answer would be obvious.
It is the reposibility of coworkers who have security to step up and straiten a bully out.
Was there no one there who had the cajones to stand up and stop the BS?
It sounds like Waldo tried and good for him. More people should do it.
@ edward scissorhands:
Kevin had plenty of money in reserve. The problem was not lack of money but the inherent conflict in having to sacrifice the life he had created--friends, home, right livelihood, community--if he quit his job.
All Kevin's colleagues, which is to say, those that he managed on a daily basis, recently went TOGETHER to the President's office to complain about the toxic work environment that Ted created at VQR. The response? Creative people aren't expected to be good managers; deal with it.
So, everyone at VQR had "the cojones to stand up." Unfortunately, that was not enough to "stop the BS," especially when the alleged bully was supervised only by the President and had a personal relationship with both the President and the President's son.
There weren't "a dozen people to quit," there were only 3 regular staff people besides Kevin and Alana, the controverial "intern" that Ted placed in his office. Of those 3 people, 1 quit on the Monday of Kevin's death, and 1 was placed on medical leave for work-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after a particularly nasty email from Ted.
The bottom line is, short of Kevin filing a formal complaint which guaranteed him no safety or protection from the person against whom he filed a complaint, everyone involved did everything they could do to mitigate and cope with the hostile work environment; everything, that is, within UVA's existing policy for dealing with workplace bullying. In other words, without a clear policy to protect whistleblowers of workplace bullies and deal with the alleged bully, everything everyone did was as about as effective as spitting into the wind.
I hadn't read the article at all until today, thinking it was just another story about UVA office politics gone bad, but today I read it in its entirety. By the way, I thought the article very well done.
There appear to be enough breadcrumbs to follow here to draw some likely conclusions that, yes the deceased may have been emotionally brittle and insecure of his position given his age and lack of letters after his name. But there also appear to be enough breadcrumbs one can follow to conclude that Genoway might be a "young turk", full of himself, ambitious and intolerant maybe. One conjures up the image of the Lion Pride with the old dominant male driven off by the younger and wandering off to die alone. As soon as I saw the picture of Genoways with his faux thug facial hair treatment, a style cultivated mostly by those who wish to appear aggressive and dominant, then I knew the allegations of workplace bullying carried some weight and that Mr. Morrissey was probably driven to suicide through treatment that belittled him and made him fear he would be cast out in the cold. As GBSOE pointed out Genoway may be lucky that Morrissey didn't do him the favor of capping him first before doing himself in.
This story appears to be far from over and I think it likely it'll end up in court eventually. Hopefully the result will include the departure from Charlottesville of a certain fellow who seems to have among other things hired on a callow young woman with qualifications mostly confined to being generous with her Daddy's money, and given her top billings as his aide and confident with all the power thereto appertaining.
Of course this sort of story happens all the time and is often the genesis of "going postal". But in many of those cases the people involved were actually derelict in duty, whereas it doesn't appear Morrissey was. Too sad.
Ã¢â?¬Å?Every single person should have a rainy day fund so that they can leave toxic situations.”
So true, Edward Scissor Hands. I encountered bullying in the first job I had fresh out of collegeÃ¢â?¬â?and made up my mind then and there to always maintain a bunkerÃ¢â?¬â?in my case, an old farm house I bought in North Carolina-- to which I could retreat were the scenario to repeat itself. And it didÃ¢â?¬â?four times. Twice in North Carolina, twice in Virginia. But since I had a failsafeÃ¢â?¬â?a place to go, clunker cars, and a very frugal lifestyleÃ¢â?¬â?I was able to confront the bully, sometimes even sacrificing myself to save more vulnerable employees from ever having to experience it. The bully that bullied me bullied no more. The exception was those supervisors who could already retire or were independently wealthy but were just hanging around for the power trip. They can be treacherous, although I have also encountered one or two that used their power to help me.
"...ENTIRE staff (less the pet intern he kept in his office)..."
Right there, you lose me. You're going along fine, and then you go and attack a staff member (she's on the masthead) in a demeaning, bullying tone.
Many of Genoways' emails have been released. It's interesting to contrast his written word to his staff with the internet comments of so many contributors to VQR. The emails certainly make him look to be a complete jerk.
Apparently the thinking is that if you are nice to the talent, it doesn't matter how you treat those that work "beneath" you.
It seems to me that good writers should be more perceptive than this.
Thanks to Brendan Wolfe for tossing in a few succinct facts: I stand corrected. I note a suspiciously sudden and uniform cascade of VQR contributers who say that Mr. Genoways was nice to them and patted them on the head. I don't care how many purring kittens he patted on the head. These and the attacks on Waldo (who was better off staying mum, as he now becomes a target of opportunity) are all intended as a distraction from what Mr. Genoways did, which was hound a fragile underling to death.
I have asked the webmaster for the hook to delete my woefully inaccurate comment above.
Writes BK: "WHY was TG opposed to [Morrissey's] perceived interference? 'Pure bully bossiness' is not really an acceptable answer."
Two questions: Could you elaborate on what you mean by "perceived interference"? And is "pure bully bossiness," as you put it, supposed to be an answer to your question about interference? Because until I know what interference you're talking about, it's hard for me to know how to judge any answer.
Writes BK: "The two [Genoways and Morrissey] clearly wanted different things for VQR; it appears that TG wanted some fundraising against an uncertain future. What did Morrissey want?"
Two more questions: How is it clear that they wanted different things? And do you mean to imply that Morrissey didn't want "some fundraising"?
@UFA who....While I am not sure what the outcome of such 'class action' law suits would be, there certainly would be an awareness brought to the problem (provided the "bullied" employees weren't fired for having anything to do with the lawsuit) and UVa's lawyers would certainly have a new project to work on.
While I am sympathetic to Claire and understand the courage it took for her to write of her ordeal, it is crucial to remember that this discussion is not about Kevin Morrissey's mental health but about Ted Genoways's misconduct, the university's tacit endorsement of his behavior, and its failure to address and correct serious problems that were repeatedly brought to the attention of university officials, officials charged explicitly with the responsibility for handling such matters. It is deplorable that Genoways and others have attempted to divert attention from the real issues by referring to Morrissey's depression. Morrissey clearly did his job very well, and his vulnerability is NO EXCUSE for Genoways's bullying. On the contrary: Genoways's knowledge of his "friend"'s and employee's circumstances makes him more culpable.
You are absolutely right in your summation, tonkinson. Thank you.
I was senior editor supervising a publications unitÃ¢â?¬â?writers, editors, graphic designersÃ¢â?¬â?that produced four national quarterlies when serious bullying began.
When my elderly mother was ill, I was demoted to secretarial duties and stuffing envelopes. I had never slacked in my duties. For three years, I appealed to every level in the university system.
You do start to isolate as personal attacks create stress, confusion and damage self esteem. You tend to go home and sleep after work. If you don't start out depressed, you end up that way.
For its final act, HR placed me under two women supervisors who stuck me in an isolated office as backup receptionist and told me my experience, terminal degree and 15 years of university seniority did not matter. It broke me.
Because I have children, I didn't consider suicide but I started to think I was going to die. I wrote a will and filled photo albums. I appealed to my doctor who had treated me for depression since the bullying began. She said, "I can't tell them to be nice to you."
So I resigned. Four years later, I still become traumatized when I write or talk about bullying. I'm running through savings. And as you said, Claire: Ã¢â?¬Å?I resent to this day having to choose between giving up the work I loved in order to preserve my health.”
For the record, this did not happen at UVA but another state university for which I have lost all respect.
Just know, Annie C., you are not alone. It has been 4 years for me, as well, and I, too, am still traumatized when the events are stirred up. I have my daughter and husband to thank for my life, and the most wonderful of therapists. I want Kevin's sister to know as well, there are so many of us from the university world who appreciate the work your brother loved and did so well and understand all too well what he went through with his supervisor.
Good heavens. I totally, totally get the hostile work environment, weird and ugly academic environment, unresponsive HR department, bullying stuff, etc. It happens every day. I'm the managing editor of an academic journal, I have seen some pretty odd stuff play out in the office I'm in, and have only recently been able to understand that I am not alone, that help is available, and that there are things you can do, for yourself. To anyone else being bullied, visit www.kickbully.com (I'm not connected with it, I don't even know who writes it but I sure recognized myself and my work-place once I started reading). Look at the other bullying help sources, gird your loins, buckle your swash, look for another job, and *take care of yourself.*
@Annie C. Yes. It wasn't isolated. We can't help Kevin or do anything about what happened at UVA, but we can discuss bad work places openly instead of considering it a personal problem. The depression that results from workplace bullying is not a personal problem.
@Now for Something Completely Different
"it’s sad, a fifty-something guy living alone in one of those depressing downtown condos seemingly with no friends, family, or girlfriend. His favorite book was Stop-Time, not a cheerful read in those circumstances. is it fair to say that he was increasingly isolated or isolating himself in the last few years, and that his job was his only real human contact, the only thing he had to put energy and focus into?"
I just want to say that Kevin's condo was not sad, but lovely. It was warm and inviting, a home he took great pride in. He did not isolate himself but hosted numerous dinner parties these past couple of years year for friends, and attended dinner parties hosted by those same friends (yes, all work-related, but true friends). I wish people who did not know Kevin would stop painting this pathetic picture of him. He was a complicated man, a fiercely intelligent man, and good friend. I don't think he liked "Stop-Time" because it is "not a cheerful read." He liked it because the writing is simply great. He put his energy and focus into many things-- reading, cooking, new media, his friendships.
But I do think you are right about one thing. He cared deeply about VQR and his professional reputation. At the end of his life, I know that he felt his professional reputation had been damaged, and that the accusations against him were never explained to him.
Familiar with neither Morrissey nor Genoways, I am on close speaking-terms with workplace bullying.
It's why I left the comparatively well-known publication where I'd worked, and enjoyed success, for more than twenty years.
I'm not at all surprised that there are writers who defend Genoways, or that others who know him, or at least claim to, are eager to portray him as sane, reasonable, patient, and kind.
That's the modus operandi of the workplace bully -- a seemingly sincere, even ostentatiously intimate, engagement with the carefully chosen well-favored that, with astonishing ease, lends itself to the application of calculated viciousness to the carefully chosen ill-favored.
I'm not at all surprised that there are people who offer the friendship Genoways once extended to Morrissey as evidence that it's impossible, or unlikely, that Genoways was up to no good.
That, too, is precisely how workplace bullies operate.
They knowingly and willfully and methodically destroy the jobs and reputations of close and casual friends in order to showboat their superhuman "professionalism."
The genius of this tactic is that the severity of the victim's victimization suggests the severity of the victim's alleged misdeeds: "Punch is Judy's good friend. I'm certain that Punch thumped Judy so brutally because Judy did something that deserved such a brutal thumping."
That Genoways, with breathtaking alacrity, moved Alana Levinson-Labrosse into his office is no surprise, nor is his publication of the president's son's poems.
The strategic introduction of powerful outsiders into the workplace is the workplace bully's means of intimidating would-be critics, and of dismissing potential criticism as mere pettiness or sour grapes.
But despite their magnificent cunning and cleverness, workplace bullies aren't endlessly successful because their success is built upon an ever-growing number of outright lies, and even the most devious workplace bully can't endlessly keep track of endless outright lies.
I wish I could say that my workplace-bully experience had a happy ending.
While my victimization was so repellent that I was able to quickly secure a nice severance package from our publisher, the workplace bully was never punished.
Only a few weeks after my departure, the workplace bully was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive terminal disease, and died some months later, unexposed and, of course, unforgiven.
NY Times is covering this story.
Thank you to Jake, Claire, Annie C., Hugo, along with many other posters for your astute insights and moving testimonies.
Just food for thought...here's the table of contents from Ms. Cade's book...she spends the first nine chapters explaining what bullying is then what YOU can do about it....then the last and only chapter is devoted to what the employer can do about it. This some how strikes me as odd. IMHO this is sending the very clear signal..."you are on your own, your employer is very UNLIKELY to help or assist you...so learn how to protect yourself". Going back to Reynolds statement above, I think it's more along the lines of her supporting the university's practices. Face it, she will get more engagements to speak and sell more of her "ebooks" if things DON'T change....and she is in it to make money. With her statement of "couldn't get everyone on board" at UVa...just makes me wonder who she couldn't get on board.
http://www.howtohaveabullyfreeworkplace.com/Workplace%20Bullying%20TOC.pdf opps, forgot the link
Very interesting article. I would really like to see a copy of the email from Genoways that Molly Minturn turned in to UVA officials. Is it posted anywhere?
Workplace bullying is much more prevalent than we probably think it is. I remember a situation where one colleague of mine was bullied by his manager, the day after company-wide harassment training. Oh yeah, talk about timing! Unfortunately this HR department, as most HR groups, did very little in response. HR in general doesn't seem to have much power since they ultimately report into management. I wish I had known to apply the term 'bullying' to this behavior - perhaps our complaints at the time would have been more productive.
just following along.
first thing i thought of when i heard about it; not those lines, but the rest.
I graduated from UVa in 2004 and am relatively active in alumni associations/circles, and I must say I have never heard of the VQR. The friends I have asked haven't either. I doubt many have heard of it.
Excuse my ignorance, as I was not an English major...but what is it's role in the University and what does it add to the educational experience of the students?
BTW, I recently finished my MA in Economics...does that mean I am qualified to be "Development Manager" of anything? Sadly, probably not, although that would probably change if I gave my employer millions of dollars.
just what I was wondering
KiKi - I absolutely agree with you on the anonimity of posters names. If one choses to use their real name, which I can imagine anyone who is in the literary world and WANTS credit for whatever they do, that's fine. However, I am in the IT world where I know the dangers of using your real name for purposes of identity theft, etc. Also, this forum is not completely free of someone using ANY name in fact inlcuding the one you may have just used which may be your own to post whatever they like. It's happened before and will continue to happen until the Hook uses some other sort of blogging/forum software that allows a user to reserve a name and allow no one else to replicate.
The more I see, hear and read about this.... the more I wonder how a wrongful death suit against UVA and Genoway would turn out. Especially if fellow workers in the middle of this mess were called to testify on behalf of the plaintiff(s).
@Maria - Thank you for making this a cause. Although I did not know your brother, we share a common bond - depression. I have felt the workplace "bullying" and know its dangers as well as how it affected me. Please accept prayers and thoughts as you go through this time and know there are those that will support you in your endeavor of fighting the workplace bully.
"We do know that within hours, Ted was confronted by Kevin’s sister, accusing him of being responsible for Kevin’s death."
No, Lloyd, you don't know that. It never happened. I called Ted on the day of Kevin's death to confirm for myself what I had been told when I called VQR--that Kevin had received an email from Ted that morning insinuating that he had nearly caused the death of a journaist in Mexico. I asked Ted, after introducing myself, if he had in fact sent such an email. Ted said he did, that this journalist had been emailing Kevin for 10 days asking for help (not true), and that "naturally" he "was enraged." My response is already in the article. AT NO TIME DID I ACCUSE TED OF BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR KEVIN'S DEATH, and I am frankly sick and tired of this lie being repeated. I should think a lawyer might be more circumspect.
What I DID tell Ted is that he was NOT responsible, that Kevin pulled that trigger, but that he "might want to rethink his management style." Not such an unreasonable request, given that I had been told that Kevin had been bullied at work for three years, had sought help for it for three years, and that the bullying had recently escalated. Ted's response was that he "should be the least of my worries." My response to that was that "Well, Kevin's worries are over."
And again, on the blog post you mentioned, I said I would like to turn the conversation to workplace bullying in the hope that Ted Genoways might reconsider his management style. Considering that he lost one employee to suicide, one by resignation, and one to medical leave for work-related PTSD in the space of one week, that does not seem like such an unreasonable request. Where do you think I got the idea that Ted is a workplace bully from, anyway? Do you think I just randomly made it up? It's clear that Kevin was not the only target of Ted's bullying behavior at VQR. So let's stop talking about me. IT'S NOT ABOUT ME, Mr. Snook.
As to your claim that Ted was not at the meeting on the morning of July 26th, then why did Nancy Rivers tell me she was there as a third-party witness and describe the meeting to me?
Finally, for all your claims of your client being vilified in the press, you're doing a fair job of vilifying me and my family with repeated lies and insinuations. Here's yet another example: "there is an organized group of people who are determined to shop this story to local and national media."..."A national newspaper doesn’t pick up the story because its book editor reads the C-Ville Weekly. It picks up the story because someone who wants to vilify Ted Genoways calls them to try to interest them in the story." I have called exactly ZERO reporters. Every single one of them has called me. The Director of the Workplace Bullying Institute has called me. ABC News has called me. The Washington Post has called me. I could go on, but you get the point. This story has clearly touched a national nerve, that is why journalists are calling.
The point of the whole story is that no one should have to choose between a bully boss and being unemployed, especially if they are good at their job, especially if they love their job and (most of) their colleagues, especially in this economy. It's time for the issue of workplace bullying to come to the attention of lawmakers. Workplace bullying is unjust and it has no place in a just society. And for all those anonymous commenters who say "It happens everywhere," I can only say that that's exactly what was said about sexual harassment in the workplace before laws were passed against that. For all those that want to blame the fact that Kevin struggled with depression, I can only say that that is all the more reason that his requests for help should have been responded to in a timely and effective manner.
he was awesome and a sweet and funny guy. i couldn't care less about degree. but he got the job without it because genoways trusted him. and the intern, who had several degrees, is being slandered for being unqualified (by comparison?), even though she like most of the staff holds an MA. why is she not under the protective aegis/pass of genoways' trust? most of the commenters here seem to just hate her because she's pretty, young, rich, and a woman. waldo is handsome young rich and a guy, but i and everyone else here like him and his BA just fine.
of course edited-for is not the same as edited, just sayin'.
@hoolarious-Yeah, I noticed that. . . According to the article, she arrived in Nov. 2009.
I also don't understand why the fact that the VQR won all these awards has to do with possible questions of mis-management and the claims that bullying may have taken place.
"and the intern, who had several degrees, is being slandered for being unqualified (by comparison?), even though she like most of the staff holds an MA. why is she not under the protective aegis/pass of genoways’ trust? "
Are you not understanding? How does the fact that she has an MA in education make her any more qualified than anyone else who holds an MA- myself included? (BTW, asking these questions is not 'slandering' her.) Her job title is 'associate editor and development manager'. Isn't it reasonable to ask WHAT exactly made her qualified for that position (besides her MA which you keep harping about] ESP. in light of the fact that per the article, "[The hiring] occured without the usual advertisement and competition to ensure compliance with equal-opportunity law.”
not offhand, Nancy. but it's certainly not clear that Genoways contributed to anything...other than to the departed having held for many years a 70k a year job at a top ranked university's top rated publication without even a bachelor's degree to qualify him for it.
most of the comments here seem to ignore that they are bullying Genoways...he just lost a friend of ten years or more, with whom he worked intimately and whom he clearly helped and favored, and half the comments are verging on calling him a murderer. do they hope to bully him to some brash act of self-loathing atonement?
at least one other factor more plausibly contributing is the endless morbidity recounted in every issue of VQR. how many stories about hands being chopped off and orphans crying in dyptherial gutters can any person read day in and out before thinking the world a grim place to be.
most appalling in this is the rush of social service suicide junkies hopping on here and posting links and phone numbers for helplines and counselling centers. the deceased was evidently a very smart guy and probably knew how to use a phone book. if those things would have helped him, he probably knew how to find them.
Hi there. I don't know Ted personally, but I do work in the magazine business, and as an admirer of VQR under his tenure, I've been following this story with great interest. I gather that a few of the people who are reading and writing the comments here (and at the earlier C-Ville article) are people who know the principals in some way. You seem mostly to come down in the anti-Genoways camp. So mostly I just have some questions, as someone who lives a long way from Charlottesville.
(1) Were things always this sour between Genoways and the staff? I don't mean with Morrissey in particular, but with the rest of the staff. When did things start going wrong, and why? Based on the quotes in these articles, one gets the impression that Ted Genoways doesn't have a friend south of Staten Island. (Other than his solicitor!)
(2) Did Genoways's attempts at outside fundraising, as embodied by the presence of the mysterious young Levinson-LaBrosse, really seem that problematic to the rest of the staff? Or was it just in the way Genoways handled it? I gathered from a different article that Genoways was genuinely worried (perhaps with good reason) that the changeover in the UVa president's office would threaten the budget of the journal, and that he would need outside money in order to keep running it the way he had.
(3) When it comes down to it, did the rest of the staff agree with the professional-nonfiction publishing model that Genoways was pursuing at VQR? There's an especially funny (to me) moment in this piece where the writer darkly compares a $6000 fee (including expenses! for a story from Afghanistan!) to the "$10-$15/page" that the previous editor paid all contributors without exception. As if one could get a story from Afghanistan for $10/page! Obviously the real question here is, should VQR even have been *assigning* stories from Afghanistan, with all the expenses and fees associated with such an enterprise, or should it run more like the traditional literary journal it used to be -- a question, of course, that cuts back to the heart of Genoways's whole tenure at the journal.
Just curious to get the thoughts of those who know.
Just finished the article and believs this is probably one of the best pieces you have ever published. I hope someone in the UVa hierachy investigates the hiring of Alana Levinson-Labrosse. Can anyone on here explain what exactly qualified this 24 year old with a MA in education to go from an intern to a hired staffer with the job title "assistant editor and development manager"? If she were anyone else and went through UVa's absurdly look application process, I doubt her qualifications would have even gotten her an interview with any of the development offices at UVa. Also, giving millions in donations herself hardly qualifies her to hold a position in development.
Most people I know who work at UVa including administration assistants and even a receptionist who works in the hospital hold advanced degrees. Therefore, I fail to see how Ms. Levinson-Labrosse's MA in education makes her special or automatically qualifies her for the position she holds.
"I don’t know any of these people, but I for sure don’t want to know any of you."
Yeah, people that read an article and ask critical questions that were raised in it are really awful. . . If you don't know any of these people, then why do the questions about the intern bother you so much? Also, while you are at it, please give an example where she is being 'slimed' as you so eloquently put it.
I don't think UVA/Mr. Snook(unfortunate moniker for a lawyer, that - straight out of Dickens) will be able to whitewash this, try as they might.
I hope that something positive might come out of all of this - at least at UVA, if not on a wider scale. Respect for those lower on the totem-pole, perhaps - and an increased awareness of(and lower tolerance for) workplace bullying? As someone who once suffered from this(albeit on a lesser scale), I can tell you it's extremely unpleasant and stressful.
Ted Genoways' editing career is over - that much seems clear.
My sympathies to Kevin Morrissey and his family.
Waldo is rich? I think he'll be elated to learn that. I'm not aware that he has personally made any 1.5 million dollar gifts to the university as a 23-year old. Yes, that's right: a 23-year old donating 1.5 million of her own money to the university -- that gift came from her, not from her daddy.
Whatever Waldo's riches consist of, I don't think they're in the same ballpark as Ms. Levinson-Labrosse.
oh. just that VQR was canary-cage liner before genoways took it over, imported the departed, and started running it his way and winning national awards. that's all for me. sorry to intrude. please give the intern a break.
Just as Yeardley Love's tragic death has ushered in change at the University, my hope is that this will as well. Fortunately, there is a new president in charge-a woman, the first time ever. These unfortunate events have been a rough way to start a new job, but also an opening to make sweeping changes that are needed.
Barbara - while I absolutely agree with you in principle re anonymity - the academic and literary worlds are very small and incestuous, and they grind exceeding fine. Made(and paid for) that mistake before.
As for the economics grad - not knowing about VQR is neither here nor there. Not understanding the value or purpose of any such publication - in any discipline - is where the real ignorance lies.
"genoways’ making the magazine a national award winning publication also deviated from the university’s policy of VQR being, for 90 years prior to genoways’ management of it, a xerox and staples undergrad Ã¢â?¬Ë?zine read in bathroom stalls all over cville and not beyond."
Carl Sandburg, Sherwood Anderson, Robert Frost, Thomas Wolfe, HL Mencken, Conrad Aiken ... nice bathroom stalls! Sorry but your revisionism is not passing muster. VQR of old printed quality writing. Good poetry. Good fiction. Exactly the kind of thing that many have been complaining are not appearing in the cronyist literary magazines of today. Including VQR.
As the high-profile Newsweek falls to its knees this week, isn't it fair to ask whether VQR had a sustainable business model? Without any suggestion of financial impropriety, VQR was spending money like water.... It seems to me (without proof or special knowledge) that university-based literary mags can't expect to pay contributors. Academic contributors don't expect to get paid in cash. Not understanding "the value or purpose of any such publication" --as Virginia Plain says -- is what precipitated the crisis. If it were to continue, it needed a dedicated endowment up front and it needed to start living within a budget.
Clearly they could not count on the new president taking it under her wing. Without a departmental home, it seems VQR was teetering out of control. Having a rich graduate student on staff was not a plan.
"A national newspaper doesn’t pick up the story because its book editor reads the C-Ville Weekly. It picks up the story because someone who wants to vilify Ted Genoways calls them to try to interest them in the story."
Join the 21st Century, Mr. Snook. This story has been picked up by dozens of literary blogs -- and newspaper editors all over the world read those blogs for their own story ideas. That's the way things work these days.
Thank you for your encouragement. The fight for laws against workplace bullying is now personal to me, and I intend to go the distance.
Regarding the discussion of degree-holders versus non-degree-holders, Kevin was extremely intelligent and very good at his job. Obviously Genoways knew this from working with him or he wouldn't have hired him.
Case in point, this is Whateva! using Kiki's name.
Very interesting thread of comments. I look forward to Mr. Snook coming back to address the gallery. But considering how badly he has taken it on the chin here, and shown to be either incompetent or a liar, I won't hold my breath.
Jesus Christ, this is getting ugly. Pitchforks, torches and well-ground axes - and this isn't exactly "Burn Down The Mission", as far as I can see.
So why exactly was my question to Waldo erased here? Did I violate this Kafkaesque charade's posting rules? To wit: Waldo, your "silence" on this matter is not gentlemanly, nor is it silent. It is profoundly hypocritical. Are you really afraid for people to know who leaked Genoways' private emails to the press? Or who has been running a sub rosa campaign to push this phony narrative? Are you all prepped for the Today show? I hope the green room has nice snacks.
This story is about nothing so much as the media's desire to compress a complicated reality into a digestible sound bite, with the complicity in that endeavor of people with suspect agendas. It has zero to do with the truth.
This is clearly not the forum for praise or positive community, but I'll try on some Pollyanna. These are all GOOD, idealistic people involved in an escalating difficulty that resulted in a tragedy.
I'd second After Many A Summer's assessment and say that Genoway's choice for Development Director was a superlative choice, just as I'll second that his choice of a Managing Editor--a brilliant, dedicated, sensitive and gentle man--was also a stellar choice. There are other similarly committed, intelligent and passionate people on the VQR staff. (Note: every staff member has a title that includes "editor" somewhere in it. Maybe not great management, but perhaps an attempt to share acknowledgment?) Are they all perfect? No. Did they all go through rigorous review? Ask that of all if you're going to ask it of one. Were they all brought in by Ted, a brilliant but imperfect man?
What seems unfortunate is that they all--Genoways included--likely came into an organization wherein none of them were not provided--nor were likely encouraged to seek, or possibly resisted--the tools necessary to manage shifting sands.
"Commercial" does not equal popular nor a large audience. It means it engages in commerce, it sells ads and subscriptions and copies even while it is nonprofit organization. As with so many of the very uncommodifiable lives covered in the magazine's pages over the past several years, the lives of all involved--from the Morrissey family, to the staff and boss--will now be painfully disrupted. And the magazine--a truly remarkable, albeit limited, vehicle for civil discourse and non-mainstream thought-- will not likely survive. The VQR book series (published by University of Georgia), will also likely dissolve. These are losses to the local, national and literary communities nearly as terrible as the loss of Kevin.
We're too late to help Kevin and he will be deeply missed by many of us, but maybe we're not too late to help VQR continue on in the tradition he so obviously and caringly stewarded.
But, if not, if his shared vision dies too, at least we will be left with civil/C-ville forums like this one.
If you think that more than 30 documented instances of anonymous or questionable claims should be part of a well-written investigative article, we'll never find common ground. I think that the reckless use of anonymous sources shows recklessness on the part of the author. Two or three unattributed quotes would never have drawn much attention, but 30? No self-respecting publication would ever agree to run such a piece.
I will stop here because I find discussions on internet forums pretty useless. I just wanted to say that this article, in my opinion, is a worthless piece of journalism.
"I will stop here because I find discussions on internet forums pretty useless. I just wanted to say that this article, in my opinion, is a worthless piece of journalism."
Of course, that opinion of yours has nothing at all to do with the fact that the future looks bleak for the journal that's been overpaying for your tripe. Nah, that could have nothing at all to do with it.
You find "discussions on Internet forums pretty useless," and yet you use those forums to make claims against others you can't back up. They would be a lot more useful if you didn't do that.
You find anonymous quotations "reckless." That's fine. The Hook has a responsibility, I think, to not print claims that cannot be corroborated in any way, or to use as sources people who have no way of knowing what they say they know, or to allow anonymity to people with no valid reason to hide their names.
But you refuse to make any argument here about whether you have any reason to believe a) that any of the facts in the article are wrong or could not be corroborated; b) that the Hook relied on poor sources; or c) that the sources had no reason to fear for their jobs or professional reputations. And like I said earlier, you certainly don't show how the Hook demonstrated a "reckless disregard" for the truth.
"Is there any reason to feel differently?"
What resources could the VQR bring to these future one or two issues? The editor is on leave; the managing editor is dead; by my count at least one of the two associate editors has resigned, as has the web editor.
Additionally, the rainy day fund is certainly under closer control -- now by the OPA.
I believe that cooperating UVa faculty are rather concerned about the leadership of the VQR.
And how will the VQR development guru raise money in the current media climate?
I can't see a scenario where the VQR survives. I know, I know: the administration strongly supports the VQR. That's standard UVa public relations strategy up until the point they make a decision. What I see that's different in this most recent statement from new president Sullivan is the announcement of a review. As the commenter known as "after many a summer" remarked, this heralds the beginning of the end. I think they'll fold up tent, bank the remaining 300K, and make a decision about restarting in a few years under a tenured UVa faculty member and under a new organizational supervision.
I think that the reckless use of anonymous sources shows recklessness on the part of the author.
Way to beg the question, Dimiter. How did the Hook behave recklessly? By recklessly using anonymous sources! And how did they recklessly use anonymous sources? Ummm, by using them quite a bit in a story where people were not going to speak on the record? And isn't that the case often in investigative journalist? Ummm, yes.
I'm off the opinion that VQR will survive but possibly under different management.
To echo what Brendan Wolfe said, I do wish that the posters who claim that Ms. Levinson-Labrosse was a Ã¢â?¬Å?superlative choice” as development director and an associate editor would offer some evidence of that besides pointing out that she is 'beautiful',has a lot of money or a great personality as none of these things actually say anything about her qualifications to carry out the job she was hired to do.
Surely if they know this woman this well to say these things, then it would stand to reason they would know about any revelvant experience she had prior to her being hired in Nov. 2009.
Also, I am curious to why it appears that the omsbudsman did not return Mr. Morissey's calls as there were prior accusations and complains re: Genoways. If the university agreed to pay one former employee a year's worth of severance so she would not sue, then it would at least appear there was some truth to her claims as unless of course, the university had nothing better to do.
"or want by ending his life to end VQRs success and gennoways editorship?"
That's ridiculous, shameful speculation.
look, i get that you all want to say gennoways killed the departed and that the intern bought her job. fine. but why do you want to make the departed seem pathetic and helpless. he was a fifty two year old man with a life in this business and very smart and very good at his job. he had also worked with gennoways for ten years in MN and VA. he was perfectly capable of standing up for himself, he was no coward. he was perfectly capable of going nose to nose with gennoways, his coworker and friend of ten+ years. he complained about some stuff to hr and they did or did not listen, did or did not act. but the departed, a grown man who was smart and capable and qualified and experienced chose this path. chose this path. didn't choose to change jobs. didn't choose to file a lawsuit. didn't choose to take psychiatric leave to seek help.
you are making him out to be pathetic and helpless and cowardly.
he was NONE of those things.
he was depressed and suicidal and he was alone in life. that may have been enough, bullying alleged or not.
Writes Blowing Grass: Ã¢â?¬Å?'Commercial' does not equal popular nor a large audience. It means it engages in commerce, it sells ads and subscriptions and copies even while it is nonprofit organization."
Plenty of university literary magazines sell ads. In the context of this discussion, "commercial" was used to distinguish VQR from such magazines; in that sense, you'll have to scan down the definition a bit to find (in Merriam-Webster) 2b: designed for a large market.
To say that Ms. Levinson-Labrosse was a "superlative choice" as Development Director is to claim knowledge of her resume and her relevant accomplishments; I haven't seen either, here or elsewhere.
"Were they all brought in by Ted, a brilliant but imperfect man?" Actually, no, they weren't. Most of them were hired by Kevin Morrissey.
I agree with Jack M. Good luck raising money now if they keep the present management in place. UVa might have some good spin doctors on staff, but there are some situations were all the PR people in the world cannot fix a situation and this appears to be one.
My prediction: It will take a break, and come back under entirely new management. The University will organize a PR to emphasis it is under new management and while not admitting fault, will give the impression all that bad stuff is in the past.
In other words, Kiki, the sort of thing that goes on all the time with UVa's football and basketball programs. :-)
While absent from the forum for a day, I am glad to see that this was brought back on track to the subject matter and there's less "literary garb" to have to scroll through.
"But, be thoughtful, not just reactionary."
fabulous advice, in so many more foums that just this. good luck getting it to catch on....
@Liam: in series from schol groups and university presses, it's quite common for those on the formational editorial board to have their works published in the series. So 2 of VQR's eds publishing books in the series would not be unusual. Casteen IV's book would be slightly less common, tho such 'political' books again are not unknown. What's simply astonishing, however, is for Ted Genoways to publish his *own* work that way, in a series he evidently oversees, and for which as head of VQR he has financial responsibility. And then to compound that by using public money to do so - also astounding. I read those parts of the articles several times, not believing my eyes.
First, like it or not, Mr. Snook made clear that national press outlets were very clear with him that THEY were contacted by the anti-Ted campaign, not the other way around. You all like to say it isn't true because it doesn't fit your uninformed version of events, but that doesn't make it untrue.
Second, the books published by VQR were by very well established, highly published (nationally) authors. Ted knew those authers personally because he knows MOST of the top writers in the country personally because he runs a freakin top literary magazine. The literary community of highly published creative writers is much smaller than you know (or cared to find out) and they all know one another from conferences, magazines, readings, residencies and graduate programs. Many even live in this area because UVA HAS one of the top graduate programs in the country. Your conspiracy/nepotism theories are ignorant and assinine and likely fueled by your own failures to be published anywhere.
from the article:”Surprisingly, among the first six titles was a book by the president’s son, John Casteen IV and a book each by two members of VQR’s own advisory boards. There was even a volume penned by Genoways himself.”
The fact that Genoways used, through his position, public funds to publish his own book of poetry and as well as Casteen IV’s is troubling and raises questions of a different nature than those of being a Ã¢â?¬Å?bully”. What kind of industry/business is this? Don't accept public money if this kind of blatant nepotism is what you want to engage in.
--We reported that Ted Genoways was Ã¢â?¬Å?called to the President’s office, reprimanded for his treatment of his employees, and told not to retaliate” on Monday, July 26. That meeting actually took place on Tuesday, July 27.
--We reported that Mr. Morrissey was earning around $70,000, and that full-time online editor Waldo Jaquith was earning around $80,000, suggesting Jaquith was making more than his supervisor. Actually, it was Morrissey who was making over $80,000 with benefits and Jaquith who was making close to $70,000 with benefits.
--We reported that Waldo Jaquith (who declined to comment on the incident) made a Ã¢â?¬Å?wisecrack” that may have offended Levinson-LaBrosse during a July 14 meeting, leading to the unsanctioned office ban that Genoways ordered. However, a reliable source now says that Levinson-LaBrosse was upset, and said so, not because of Jaquith's wisecrack, per se, but because he asserted that Morrissey should be present at a meeting with the Vice President for Research’s office at which the VQR staff would be assigned new positions.
[seriously:Ã¢â?¬Å?Second, the books published by VQR were by very well established, highly published (nationally) authors.”
Was Ted, or even Casteen IV, a very well established or highly published (nationally) author?}
Thank you to whomever provided some info on Casteen IV. To you knowledge, had he ever been published before and would you consider him "very well established". I realize you did not say that he was "very well established", but another commenter did. The latter question is, of course, somewhat subjective but the first cannot be.
Anyone know if Mr Genoways had ever been published before? For his sake, I hope he had been.
This tragic story has broughten a lot to light....at least Mr Morrisey's worries are over....Ar dheis D© go raibh a anam.
Some questions that haven't been raised in this forum:
1) Outside of donations from her immediate family, how much money has Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse raised in her tenure as VQR's development manager? Has she raised any money at all?
2) Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse didn't have any formal development training before Mr. Genoways hired her as development manager -- but was she undergoing any such training during her tenure?
3) If not, how plausible is it that UVa would have retained any other fundraiser who lacked either previous professional experience or an extensive on-the-job apprenticeship...unless the university were tacitly allowing Mr. Genoways to cultivate Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse as a donor herself in the inevitable event of her failure as a fundraiser?
4) Why has the university not placed Mr. Genoways on administrative leave pending its audit/investigation of these incredibly serious allegations?
5) Why is the university allowing Mr. Genoways to continue to attempt to edit VQR, countermanding decisions made by the remaining staff, when it told that staff that they would be allowed to finish the issue and essentially locked Mr. Genoways out of VQR's offices?
6) Mr. Genoways is engaged in strenuous networking and self-advertising right now at a storied summer writers' conference. Is he there on the University's dime? Is he still there representing VQR?
7) We now have before us accusations against Mr. Genoways of chronic workplace bullying, nepotism and cronyism, financial profligacy, and violations of the University's managerial and hiring protocols. Even assuming that a majority of these accusations -- which are being made by and are being corroborated by multiple sources -- are false, under what scenario could the university justify retaining Mr. Genoways as an employee? Or any institution of higher learning, for that matter?
Ruth Ross? Did you mean Ruth Namie? Looks like Gary is up to his old tricks.
Several questions come to mind:
Were some at the VQR and/or Madison Hall trying to fire Morrissey? Why would Levinson-LaBrosse be offended at such an obvious statement? What do Levinson-LaBrosse's current duties entail? (That she is on vacation is odd indeed, for someone who isn't yet a year into the job.) Why isn't she part of the "all hands on deck" push to get the next issue out? Who is the other staff member who resigned?
It is interesting to observe the loose comments and "tactics" of Mr. Namie. It appears that he has it in for UVa as opposed to truly wanting to help. His abrasive and opportunistic nature is what caused him to be turned down in working with UVa in the first place. He has little clue as to the full scope and complexity of what has happened. Remember, he is an outsider. His so-called 'professional' commentary is self-serving at best.
Hi, I’ve just read the article and all blogs.
I want to respond to After where he/she says ...
... but why do you want to make the departed seem pathetic and helpless. he was a fifty two year old man with a life in this business and very smart and very good at his job. he had also worked with gennoways for ten years in MN and VA. he was perfectly capable of standing up for himself, he was no coward. he was perfectly capable of going nose to nose with gennoways, his coworker and friend of ten+ years.
I don’t want to presume too much as I live in Australia and am not too familiar with the US academic system. I also don’t want to come across as a bleeding heart workplace bullying survivor who says they’re fine now but, in reality, really irrevocably Ã¢â?¬Å?broken”. But ... I do know a bit about bullying that I want to share.
I know that bullying at work is insidious; it starts out as a series of small Ã¢â?¬Å?odd” occurrences / acts. These things are usually noted as a bit strange but because we all want to work and are usually quite passionate about what we do we Ã¢â?¬Å?cut some slack” and ignore the weirdness or make excuses.
The first odd event that I remember happening to me was at a meeting where I was attempting to negotiate a fair pay deal for my staff, as we were being merged with a bigger public sector entity. The person who I would later come to recognise as a bully tried to block every suggestion placed before her and eventually picked up her books and walked out on the meeting, slamming the door behind her. I remember my colleague and I looking at each other and wondering what we had done wrong. The next day the same woman came to my workplace and, as if the previous day had not happened, agreed to all proposals and could not have been more obliging. I just thought that it was a bit of a weird way for a CEO to behave and put it down to the stressors of amalgamation.
Once amalgamation had been completed and she became my boss, I began to notice other Ã¢â?¬Å?weird” things. She would put down staff members at senior executive meetings Ã¢â?¬â?? particularly those staff that I had brought with me in the merger. She would comment about my dress sense. She would demean my academic successes and imply that I lived in an ivory tower. She would make jokes at my expense. My response was to work harder. I supported my staff to be the best they could be. I took on corporate roles to Ã¢â?¬Å?prove” my commitment to the merged entity. I maintained my professional profile to further develop the efficacy of the new arrangements.
I was rewarded for this additional effort with public stories of the ineptitude of my staff (and therefore my leadership). She undermined my capacity to work in the field in which I had been a leader for over a decade by vetting my mail and withdrawing meeting notices. She then attended these meetings as the organisation’s representative. She humiliated me in front of my colleagues by telling lies about me and my work. She imported henchmen to act as her spies and used that information to sanction me for alleged misdemeanours. I wish I could say that I was special but this kind of treatment was wide-spread. An eminent and published colleague was sat in an office (by himself with no job) for over a year, having been emasculated through loss of role and power. Older staff were bullied into early retirement as they no longer fitted the mould of the Ã¢â?¬Å?new” organisation. Money was spent on new corporate (her) priorities at the expense of service delivery to the public.
The turning point for me came when one very popular and committed senior member of the organisation was forced by the perpetrator to confess an error of judgement to her colleagues in a very public mea culpa. All her senior colleagues were asked to then forgive her and suggest how she might address the error. One by one around the table her colleagues forgave her and spoke of their support for her in addressing the issue. I was the only one to apologise to her for the way in which she was being treated and how we had been manipulated into this humiliating process. It was the single most horrific and demeaning thing I have ever seen in a workplace.
I did not feel badly about my colleagues not speaking up as I had done Ã¢â?¬â?? we were all bent over with exhaustion. We were psychologically beaten and bloodied. We all tried to do the right thing Ã¢â?¬â?? we loved our work. But some of us were more frightened than others by this woman and her unpredictable and vengeful behaviours.
So After Ã¢â?¬â?? In response to your comments re bloggers here making Kevin Morrissey out to be pathetic and cowardly, I would like you to consider my experiences. They are not special and you can read a large number of scholarly articles and web logs that report eerily similar stories. What this has taught me is that you can be as clever, experienced, capable of taking on the hard argument and connected as you like, you can still be pushed to the depths of despair and helplessness by the relentlessness of bullying behaviour. We left Ã¢â?¬â?? every last one of us. One has never worked again because of the debilitating effects of chronic depression. We were able to initiate an investigation as we left. We survived only because of our solidarity and our management Ã¢â?¬â?? who listened to us and acted. Sadly, because of the methods of investigation, the robust lawyers used by the perpetrator (read spin) and a lack of capacity to make hard decisions, our bully was redeployed to another department Ã¢â?¬â?? only to do it all again over the next three years to another group of clever, talented and committed people!
By its nature bullying is complex. Just because someone is a good friend, partner, husband or wife Ã¢â?¬â?? it does not make them a good manager. Just beacause they can post hoc create justifications it does not make their behaviour acceptable. What I have read here about the intern, qualifications, where to place an apostrophe, who said what to whom etc really forgets that in all of this, many people have been damaged. Managers are vested with both privilege and responsibility. In this case I can’t help but wonder who managed the manager?
@Kaytee - and others - the only way to stop this kind of thing is to call them on it. I had a manager like that, who hectored and undermined me during presentations to clients. I eventually snapped and told her - in front of the client - to never speak to me like that again. I fully expected to be fired - but she was as nice as pie to me from that time on. I wouldn't have believed it if it hadn't happened to me.
Waldo posted the following late this evening:
"FWIW, Ted Genoways is still the editor of VQR, which means he’s still in charge of our work on the issue, and is telling us what to do.
I never could have forecast that the university would allow us to remain in this situation. Hence, Wednesday is my last day, finished issue or no."
@Virginia Plain above, who says, "Nice post, Alan Cordle. This is degenerating pretty quickly."
Not sure to what you're referring, as I have not posted here. I felt this article was nearly perfect and had nothing to add. As you can see, I am following the comments closely.
But, for the record, I did contact UVA's new president yesterday and offer to provide some information for her investigation. I look forward to her response.
Alan Cordle? Wait, wait....I'm yawning. Sorry. Now, where were we and which self-important person were we talking about?
"When you shoot at a king, you must kill him."
The most recent article points out Morrissee filed no formal complaint. Morrissee could not file a formal complaint. Not without a guarantee of Genoways' firing. Firing of the editor who'd arranged special favors for Casteen's son? Firing him in the face of a five year contract, renewed months ago, and 3 1/2 years early? Oh, Genoways knew how to insulate himself. How many times had not merely Morrissee but the entire staff complained? How many times, was the result yet another 'tsk tsk' and wagging finger of reproval, fresh incentive for abuse? Did anybody tell Morrissee that repeated desperate phone calls and e-mails are not going to be treated as a 'formal complaint'? Yeah well please consider his suicide note your formal complaint. Now act on it.
@NancyDrew, that's a good summation. Thanks.
Thoroughly disagree with #12, though, which makes the answer to #13 "No."
Anybody who read Staige Blackford's VQR knows that though it was much smaller and much more modest--as was the tradition of literary mags before the 21st C--it was nevertheless, in aggregate, via individuals and as a whole,
much more of a work of "genius" than Ted Genoways' flash-in-the-pan was.
Notice the use of the past tense. He's out of here. I give it one week.
Still hoping that someone out there can identify the "bullying expert" who has allegedly been advising UVA personnel. Anybody have a name?
Valerie Cade is the Canada based workplace bullying expert, employed by UVA, over a year ago . Hawes Spencer wrote a lengthy article today, with quotes, concering her work at UVA.
How does UVA justify the fact that Genoways is still the editor at VQR who is actively exerting control over the content of the upcoming issue? What are they thinking? The remaining staff were let to believe they are the ones to finish the latest issue, not Genoways. And with Carol Wood in the middle of the office the entire day? Speaking of conflicts of interest. The appropriate action is to put Genoways on leave pending the investigation, in light of the gravity of the accusations.
This is not just an 'internal university issue' anymore. Yes we, the people, should and will demand full disclosure. And a transparancy in policies. Why is this sordid drama hitting a big nerve; because many (including myself) have witnessed gross abuse of power by pretty dim bulbs at UVA and similar institutions. A tipping point has been reached, and change is gonna come.
@ Reynolds. Seems pretty likely that it's this one.
I don't claim special powers. Though I am aware of what an exclamation point is used for.
What's my amoral point? I have only made one point and I don't see how it is amoral. It is:
You are incorrect in your suggestion that Mr. Jaquith is overpaid.
How can you suggest my failure to comment one way or the other on the circumstances of others is amoral?
I was too quick to judge in my last post... I looked up the definition of IT professional:
Information technology (IT) is "the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of information systems".
Note that this doesn't include "use".
I wasn't too quick to judge after all...
UVA's employee review system provides a serviceable platform for bosses who want to bully, harass, manipulate, or closely control workers. There are many excellent bosses at the university but there are some and always have been who take advantage of the system and the willingness of people to turn a blind eye and these bosses create hostile work environments. Some (most?) even think hostile work environments are optimal for high performance. Some even carry this attitude into the community and maybe into their families. This is a problem that really should be addressed by the university.
Has anyone else noted that Waldo Jaquith's mother Janis is a columnist for The Hook? Seems like something worth a disclosure. After all, the Chronicle of Higher Ed did disclose that Sheila McMillen's sister works there.
it seems a shame that so many people (or, perhaps, a single person, with multiple blog identities) feel a need to 'defend' Mr Jaquith's professional stature and his level of salary in a blog about a tragically deceased young man, within a story that presents a probing indictment of institutional poor performance, and questionable organizational ethics. ...
One wonders why?
today show link....????
I realize her remarks may have been part of a longer statement, but I was deeply bothered by the bullying expert saying, "UVA offered him time off, employee counseling, and a chance to switch departments, but Kevin was the one who didn’t do anything.” Given her supposed expertise, this makes Ms. Cade sound both inhumane and unfamiliar with the basics of workplace bullying. Most experts will tell you that making a formal--or any--complaint typically intensifies the bullying and rarely results in removal of the bully. This is workplace bullying 101 information and for Ms. Cade to say Kevin did nothing, in my mind, completely undermines her credibility. In fact, this sort of statement is itself a form of bullying--she's blaming the target. Sounds to me like she's given up her integrity to protect her consulting fee--does anyone know how much they are paying her to do damage control for UVA?
It seems to me that, after having his informal complaint ignored, Kevin ultimately made about as formal a complaint as anyone could make. Shame on you, Ms, Cade, and shame on you, UVA. It's time to stop covering up and start accepting fault.
The debate over Waldo Jaquith's IT salary is an odd sideshow, but something that hasn't been mentioned but should is that Waldo was lead developer of the VQR's iPad application, which got a lot of attention in the trade press and technical blogosphere, mostly positive. Google "VQR iPad" or take a look at the review at http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2010/06/wired-magazine-and-vqr-2-ways-to-... , which compares the VQR app against Wired Magazine's iPad app and calls the VQR version the "clear winner". Waldo deserves credit for allowing VQR to match up with a much wealthier trade publication in the same way Ted Genoways deserves credit for pulling in articles that could have appeared in Vanity Fair or Atlantic. The fact is that VQR has had a tremendously talented and dedicated staff at all levels, which makes the failure to address its internal conflicts all the sadder.
"I had not seen a post from a family member requesting that we stop blogging about Kevin’s death."
That train left the station with Maria Morrissey commenting quite a bit in the early going...this could have played out behind-the-scenes, but it didn't.
Obviously, the situation is tragic and horrible. But it's a major publication (within the small lit journal community) and this is significant news.
Now, why would The Hook need to do a disclosure of the fact that sometimes they publish Janis Jaquith's pieces in a story that is not about Janis OR Waldo Jaquith? I could see a disclosure if the Hook published a story ABOUT Waldo, but this is a story about VQR and Kevin Morrissey's death. Now, it's true that the comment thread has bizarrely veered to focus on Waldo, but that's hardly the Hook's problem.
Perhaps M ought to disclose that s/he is Majunga/Sympatico, a person who flamed and frothed and foamed at the mouth for years on cvillenews.com until s/he was finally booted within the last year, and who clearly still carries a (flaming) torch for Waldo.
Because you and others (or, perhaps, just you, with multiple blog identities) keeps bringing it up. And who cares if Waldo has a parent working at The Hook? It doesn't discount Genoways' unacceptable treatment of employees, reported by several members of the VQR staff.
Thank you, NancyDrew for your excellent summary.
And thank you Blue Damsel for sharing that Kevin was in fact NEVER offered a chance to change departments, as Valerie Cade said he had. I am very sorry for the loss of your good friend.
Let me first say that I send my condolences to the Morrissey family. It is extremely difficult to unexpectedly loose a loved one at any time, and in a tragic situation such as this where Mr. Morrissey felt there was no other way, it only heightens the loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to you.
Secondly I am appalled at the finger pointing and character bashing that is taking place for all involved when we don't really don't know all the facts. Speculative questions, judgemental comments and misleading statements are primary tools in the arsenal of a bully. It is extremely easy to play armchair quarterback and hide behind the anonymity of a blog pseudonym or should I say multiple pseudonyms to sway a train of thought or 'gang up'. (You know who you are)
If you are going to say something with an 'edge' to it or call someone into question, have the courage to stand behind your words and identify yourself.
This is a warning shot and if it doesn't stop I will call the 'pioneer' and his disciples to task.
I am, by unanimous consent of my remaining family members, the family spokesperson regarding Kevin's death and our quest for the truth of it and for changes in laws and policies.
I will tell you, as I told Mr. Snooks, neither me nor any member of my family have contacted anyone in the media. Period. I couldn't care less that Mr. Snooks asserts otherwise. That is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And there is no "anti-Ted" campaign. There is an anti-workplace bullying campaign. Ted Genoways, by his own actions, is one of the people in Kevin's story.
I have been contacted by, and am happy to tell Kevin's story to, the C-Ville News, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Hook, ABC News, The Washington Post, NBC's Today Show, GQ magazine, and Inside Edition. Interestingly, the Inside Edition interview has been postponed by them because they cannot get Genoways or Snook to agree to an interview.
Sorry if this is widely understood, but what's a "pioneer"?
Just to expand on my comment, we can't possibly evaluate Lloyd Snook's claim that people were "shopping the story to the media" without knowing exactly what he was told. There's a big, big difference between, for example (1) "Yes, several people called our news desk yesterday to ask whether we knew that the editor of VQR harrassed an employee to death, and were we going to cover this crime?", and (2) "Yes, we've had several queries from people asking if we knew about the allegations of workplace bullying at VQR, and they emailed us links to stories in your local paper". #1 is a crusade to vilify, #2 isn't.
Frankly, I think Mr. Snook should offer some solid evidence that "there is an *organized group* of people who are determined to shop this story to local and national media" [his words in an above comment, emphasis added] or retract the claim.
You are obfuscating by saying YOU did not contact media. Obviously other(s) contacted media and gave them your name, so the media contacted you. Still sounds like a campiagn to me.
case in point...this is Whateva! using Nancy Drew's name.
You call me out for "letting your emotions put you on a high horse that is hurting your position."
Not sure what your "high horse" comment is trying to say, nor how being emotional about what just happened to my brother is hurting my position. This story is personal to me, and the fight against workplace bullying is now personal to me, and I don't see why the fact that I am emotional (*gasp*) would hurt my position, which is that workplace bullying is unjust and has no place in a just society.
Nor do I understand why you feel compelled to attack me and defend Lloyd Snooks. Snooks "sounds reasonable" and I don't? Reasonable or not, emotional or not, Snooks posted on an earlier comment the following falsehood: "We do know that within hours, Ted was confronted by Kevin’s sister, accusing him of being responsible for Kevin’s death." Naturally I felt compelled to correct this complete misrepresentation of the facts. And his claim that "Let there be no doubt Ã¢â?¬â? there is an organized group of people who are determined to shop this story to local and national media" may not have called me and the family out directly, but it's unreasonable for you to suggest that his statement did not imply our involvement.
You suggest that I "Stick to the facts and leave personalities out of it." Calling Mr. Snooks out on a falsehood directed at me is not attacking his personality and it IS sticking to the facts.
In any case, I'm hardly likely to consider your advice as well-intended when you won't use your own name to call me out as being on a high-horse and being emotional. Why don't you take your own advice and leave personalities out of it and stick to the facts?
@MRJ-- Considering how most people in this country feel about lawyers, why on earth do you feel that the Morrissey family would be better served using one as their mouthpiece? If I want to know how any of the parties in this tragedy feel, or what their opinions are, I'd rather hear from them directly (and that certainly includes Mr Genoways).
Bullying, like suicide and mourning, is a deeply personal matter. I see no reason for the Morrissy family to hire an attorney, unless they're planning on suing someone.
News stories come and go, but looking at the Hook blogs displayed on the home page - all 3 stories are running simultaneously: Harrington, Hugeley, and Morrissey - perhapes UVA will need a new department to deal with national news stories emanating from UVA.
Many of us knew Staige Blackford.
In the late 1970's, when he was running the VQR by himself and a handful of unpaid stringers, the paid circulation of VQR stood at 2,500. Staige wrung his hands over the woeful circulation number and did everything he could to pump it up. To no avail.
So in the last few years Genoways is lauded for the "award-winning" publication which has "soared to national prominence."
But with no effect on revenues or circulation. The Daily Progress last week reported that the current circulation of VQR stands at -- yes -- 2,500.
How much, exactly, does the VQR cost Virgnia taxpayers each year?
@ Charles Mathewes:
I don't agree with you. After reading all the posts here, I must say that many of them -- the majority -- contribute to the discussion of workplace bullying in a very valuable way. Many also express genuine concern for the psycho-drama that drove Mr. Morrissey to kill himself, and pose legitimate questions to the University of Virginia and Mr. Genoways. Their authors will certainly "be able to look back on without regret." Few contributors are "feasting on this event," and I did not read an abundance of "horrific slanders flinging all over the place." (Yes, there are some, but that's not unusual for such a board with mostly pseudonymous postings; they can be easily discerned, discounted and sometimes even attributed.)
I find it disingenuous of you to attack, nearly wholesale, the many people here who are trying to make sense of a very complex set of circumstances. Certainly, your scolding them for expressing their opinions more or less strongly does not "seem to be serving any recognizable good" (to use your own words).
Workplace bullying appears to have become a commonality at UVA! and in many workplaces, judging from so many stories here.
I am aware of a faculty supervisor at UVA who so belittled an employee that they fell into depression, and troubled workplace performance, and then the faculty supervisor (who was a licensed clinical provider) further belittled the employee by probing about his/her mental health during discussions about work, and began referring to particular mental health providers in town.
I am aware of an employee who had a job interview at UVA, where the interview team asked 'how would you respond to a client/customer who shouted in anger or berated you'? the employee's response was 'shouting and hitting (including any touching in anger, which would legally be assault) should never be allowed at work', and then the employee explained that she/he would then take the anger client/customer aside to remove the episode from disturbing the public, ask the person to calm down, and assure the client/customer that the situation would be made to their satisfaction. But, then the interviewer reiterated that customers/clients will shout in anger, seeming to suggest that it is common, and allowed, for employees to endure angry shouting, and perhaps angry touching (assault) in the course of work.
I am aware of an employee who was spoken to disrespectfully, and perhaps as a form of intimidation, so that the employee would not make a formal complaint of discrimination.
Add to these episodes, the many others we've seen in this story and blog.
Something must certainly be done to audit policies and practices at UVA, and to improve the situation of employees' protection.
Thanks to Berry for pointing out yet another mechanism (also used at UVA) for getting rid of employees ie funding cuts, no grant money, whatever. Also writing people up for even very small problems which can always somehow be inflated in the document. Another bogus mechanism in place at the university is the patient rep system where patients can complain about their doctors or their treatment. Just try it!
The news report was excellent!
Filing a formal complaint doesn't mean a thing, and you are correct, the complainant certainly is not protected thereafter. I filed two formal complaints in the form of what my employer (City of Charlottesville) called "grievance procedures". I easily won both of them and the bullying got worse.
In the first complaint, the panel ruled that I would not be subjected to any duty that is not expected of other employees. And whatever duty I was subjected to would be shared by all. In the second complaint, the panel ruled that my employer would rate my performance evaluation on my actual performance, not a rating of whether they liked me or not.
Fast forward to 1996, I felt I had been wrongfully suspended over an incident, an allegation of wrong doing. So I filed my third "grievance complaint". The bullying then escalted to an all time high... the sheriff terminated my employment after 22 years on the job. The sheriff exercised his state given right to hire and fire at will, with or without cause. Until the day I die, and IMHO, I will always believe the sheriff didn't terminate me over the allegation, he terminated me for having the nerve to file a grievance procedure against him and my challenging his authority to actually suspend me.
While you have my deepest consolences, I hope Kevin's ordeal and demise will bring about some changes in workplace bullying. Legal changes, as in law. It's long overdue in this country!
I never had Gasbag pegged as a prude.
As a victim of workplace bullying myself, I completely understand Kevin's story.
As my therapist told me, when your job is threatened, your whole life is threatened, because it's your source of your life.
I think the fact that so many calls were made to HR, and that the staff of VQR met with HR to discuss their boss...speaks volumes!!!
I know when I was being bullied, and everyone was witnessing, how afraid people were to speak up for fear of the loss of their job. And when you feel alone, you feel worse. But his co-workers even spoke up and nothing was done.
The fact that the boss moved a 24yr old into his office, that didn't earn it the old fashioned way, speaks volumes as well. And if not showing good judgement was one thing, I'm positive morale deteriorated immensely. What a blow.
For whatever reason, Genoways ran his department like his very own business, but you know what? It wasn't his, Morrisey worked for the University, not Genoway. So Genoway deciding to run his department illegally? against university policy? is ok? Then I guess UVA is only interested in money, not its employees. Jefferson is rolling in his grave.
You can say all you want about Morrisey's depression, and how it's his disease, but you know, for those of us who've been through workplace bullying. We'll never believe that Genoway isn't at least partly responsible.
You know it makes me so sad, Genoway, obviousely has great talent, people really look up to him as a scholar, writer, but you know, maybe that's all he is, his mind is a fantasy, full of great fiction and poems. Good people inspire others to be great. Maybe his writing does, but not him. It's too bad, it's a waste of talent.
Mr/Mrs/Miss yes, hang around, you never know what might come out of my mouth next.
For example, I will say what everybody else has probably been too hesitant or reluctant to say so far. Genoways had better consider himself very lucky he didn't create a real genuine UVA massacre! Suppose Kevin had been pushed far enough over the edge that he took the handgun to his place of employment rather than the coal tower?
Don't get me wrong now.... this actually speaks volumes about Kevin. Guess he was the type of person who wouldn't do unto others anything hateful or harmful!
From the Hook's blurb on the Today Show story:
"Interestingly, Genoways lambasted Today show reporter Jeff Rossen in an editor’s note for the fall 2004 issue of the VQR, calling him a Ã¢â?¬Å?smarmy reporter” with an Ã¢â?¬Å?insatiable thirst for the most vicarious thrill and an aching desire to be first, not a sense of duty to be most considered and most correct.”"
Ouch, fateful words from Genoways. Pot kettle black, hoisted on one's own petard, etc etc.
I have worked at a variety of colleges and universities throughout my 20+ year career, and I, too, had two supervisors who were so derisive, humiliating, bullying and belittling, and made my work environment so abusive that my depression was exacerbated to the point of attempting suicide more than one time. It was a last resort. Human resources, my union representative, my supervisors’ supervisors, and the universities’ physicians did nothing to help me. And it wasn’t my work that was in question. Just as with Kevin, I was the best at my job. I’ve since gone on disability, but I resent a system that forced me to leave a profession I love in order to choose life. Thank you so much for a story that brings to light a very real problem. I believe it will help.
Disinterested party here who edited a law journal in a prior life.
Let's rely on some common sense folks. Workplace bullies exist because they have two facets to their personality. (A) Enough charm to move up the ladder and (B) poor managerial skills which are inflicted upon their staff.
The reason I'm going to discounted all the "authors" supporting Genoways is easy enough. You're the "talent" not the grunts. Sadly enough, when I was editing articles in my prior life, I treated the authors with kid's gloves while I pushed my staff to get the work done. The authors don't see the social dynamic at all.
In this particular case, it's evident something happened that killed the office morale and if that was the hiring of a 24 year old, so be it. Morale sucked and it's not up to the contributors to say that it wasn't so. The staff removed themselves from the masthead for the fall publication.
It's almost a time honored tradition of friends/neighbors of murderers claiming that they never saw that side of their acquaintance. Seems to be the same here. This postulating that people are one-dimensional is nonsense. It's self-evident that people can and will act differently at home versus work and with peers versus subordinates.
Anyway my two cents
PS And as a lawyer, it's just funny to see people claim "defamation" when they have no idea of the legal standard. It's as disingenuous as claiming that "free speech" has no restrictions......
Kiki, her degree was a masters in English. Not Education.
Still, she bought herself the job.
@after. You say it was his decision to stay, that he could have left his job. Why would this be the solution? Why not the University reacting as it should and addressing the issue properly.
This school has just gone down the drain this year after everything. Who would even donate after this year?
Silly me, I thought the phrase was "to smell his own petard."
If this were a private company and the "boss" was the owner then the only solution would be to quit. Bullying is not illegal and it is simply immoral and a sour business practice.
The world was a better place when it was ok to confront a bully and ask him if he would like to pick on somebody his own size.
It is sad that this poor fellow chose the path he did for relief.
This is what happens when you have too many rules and not too few. HR needed a formal complaint to act to protect them from a lawsuit from the bully. It is too bad that the head of HR couldn't just call the bully in and lay down the law. Having a no bullyig policy is like passing a law that says don't kick the cat. Everybody knows it is wrong and it falls under the general rule of "make sure all of your actions and behaivors are respectable, explainable and defendable in hindsight.
If Casteen was aware of this situation and ignored it I hope it tarnishes his legacy accordingly.
@Couldn't have said it better:
"Her degree was a masters in English. Not Education."
Wrong. Her 2008 M.A. is from the Curry School of Education, and it's a master's in English Education.
Of course you will, NancyDrew. But only if a wrongful death lawsuit is filed against him, the UVA and Genoways.
It sounds as though several people knew or suspected that Kevin Morrissey was suicidal during those last two hellish weeks in July. And surely even more people knew of his ongoing struggle with depression. What was someone like Kevin doing with a gun? Did anyone know he had one? Did anyone try to get him to give it up for his own safety? Would that someone had gotten it away from him! (There are other methods, to be sure, but none so quick and so likely to succeed.)
Don't get me wrong--I'm not trying to assess blame anywhere. I'm just wishing that we could somehow turn the clock back and arrange for a different outcome. I did not know Kevin and I do not know any of the principals, but the situation strikes me as profoundly sad. My condolences to all involved.
bissell mentions that someone hacked into genoways' computer and e-mail. can anyone think of a person with the technical know-how, say an IT professional, and motive to do such a thing? is this being inveztigated?
it was also said earlier that someone broke into VQR offices and stole a computer. was this Morrissey's or Genoways computer? was that computer the one that had these e-mails everyone is circulating?
would possession of one of these e-mails legally entail complicity in either the hacking or the break-in? has anyone in possession of them said how they came to have copies? would anything contained in these e-mails be, under the law, fruit-of-the-forbidden-tree and inadmissible, or would they just point to copies that exist on a server that could be legally considered?
mostly, is anyone investigating either the break-in/theft of the computer (and whose computer was it?) and the hacking-into of genoways account? the hacking aside, it seems as though the computer was stolen to get information about genoways, not to hide information about morrissey. if that was the case, then it seems that morrisey would best be defended and genoways best be investigated if the felon/thief were to turn the stolen computer in to the authorities and not hide evidence and hinder the investigation.
I am writing as a frequent contributor to VQR (and as a poet published in the VQR Poetry series), to rebut a recent allegation made by Waldo Jacquith: that ""Every day, there's at least one situation with one author who has been left in a bad situation by Ted and it's our job to clean it up."
The full article is here:
I am compelled to write because Jacquith's characterization of Genoways' interactions with writers simply doesn't jibe with my experiences working with the magazine staff since 2004. In all that time, Genoways has never "left me in a bad situation," and he is in fact one of the most attentive and professional editors with whom I have worked. Such is his reputation with every contributor to the magazine I know: as not only one of the most gifted people in the business, but also one of the most good-hearted, dedicated, and generous.
I have also known Kevin Morrissey since 2004, and experienced firsthand Kevin's work-ethic, his meticulous attention to detail, and his struggles with depression, as others, including his family, have noted. Kevin and I had worked on my submissions to the magazine, had shared beers and meals, and attended the same cook-outs in C'ville. We were only acquaintances beyond work on VQR, but I experienced his death as a shock and a terrible tragedy. I understand that the Morrissey family, Waldo, Molly, Sheila, and everyone else at VQR, not least Ted , is grieving deeply over what happened.
I write to offer the perspective of someone who frequently contributed work to the magazine, and witnessed again and again how much the success of VQR was due to Genoways' ability to work harmoniously with a legion of writers, photographers, poets,and journalists, who have published in, and are devoted to, the magazine.
It is clear now that the VQR office had become deeply divided, but the way Genoways has been branded as a "workplace bully" doesn't resemble the man I've known and worked with since 1995, and tragically oversimplifies the nuanced and complex web of office politics that I sensed during my visits to the VQR office. I realize that no one who did not work at VQR every day can claim to understand all of what happened there, but I am hopeful that other contributors to the magazine will at least speak up in the coming days, and help rebut Jacquith's claims about what it was like for contributors to work with Ted Genoways. At no point did I feel that he was anything but professional, committed, and working in good faith to make VQR the exceptional magazine it has become.
I have a discussion of Ted Bissell's defense of Genoways here.
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To those of you that are so certain that you know the whole story, perhaps another perspective is unwelcome. You should take a look anyways though...
what i was getting at is that it's very odd that a meticulous guy who devoted his life to books and reading, an editor of twenty years, would make two glaring grammatical errors in a twenty-word typed note.
take[s] all fees
that's just weird. any chance it means anything? abbreviation SS? initials? errors intended to further invalidate or cast doubt on meaning of an unsigned note? this was a guy who proofread his grocery-list. weird.
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If somebody comes forward and says Genoways was a bully outside of the office,
Huh? Wouldn't he be most likely to bully his subordinates? You know, the people that kind of have to accept what he does, given that he's their boss.
Ultimately, it's only the total piling-on that bugs me. Everything is based on total speculation - until that documentation you mention comes more to light.
There's a reason Genoway's whole staff quit their jobs (at least temporarily) rather than work with him. When the staff's observations come more in the open, then this will all take a more solid shape.
"...as close as you can be without actually working in the office."
Well, then you were NOT in the office. I mean, yeah, you know a lot, but what do you want me to say? You were in the office? You saw it? But you didn't, right? You had friends who vented to you, and showed you emails (that you haven't revealed, so we can only take at your word that their as indicting as you say).
You haven't actually presented any arguments. You've presented statements that I can agree with without any evidence, or question at least until some true documentation comes to light. You have no first-hand knowledge - none. You have heard "testimony" from people that you've chosen to trust, and I respect that.
But do you think you're debating? You're not. You're announcing.
The university has chosen to put Genoways back in charge. So that's evidence on the ground.
I am taking you seriously, which is to say a lot more seriously than every other nameless commentator here - but ultimately, you have an agenda and you're evidence is only important because you say it is, not because anybody's seen it - yet.
Believe me, I'm not supporting Genoways...but I don't think piling on somebody with no actual evidence is all that fair. When it all comes to light, I'll be happy to say "unbelieveable, Genoways should be sued right way."
Writes Steve: "But -- YOU don't personally know. You have taken the statements of others and chosen to believe them ... Bissell is doing the same thing."
Here's what I know: I have seen documentation for everything I wrote in the summary of events I posted on August 20. The documentation includes e-mails written by the parties involved describing the events as they happened. I have heard from multiple sources firsthand descriptions of events that all corroborate each other and are in turn corroborated by the documentation. In addition, I have met all the people involved and I have been close to the situation for several years -- as close as you can be without actually working in the office.
When I make a public argument about what I "choose to believe," I do so knowing that if called upon, I can back it up with more than just what someone told me. Tom Bissell cannot do that. I don't imagine that he has seen those e-mails or that he has been in the office or that he knows all the people involved or that the stories he hears are corroborated by others who are also in the office and have also seen the documentation.
As such, I believe my arguments are worth taking seriously. That no one will actually respond to them suggests, to me at least, that no adequate response is readily available. You certainly don't have one.
"Perhaps Bissell has seen the outstanding performance evaluations that the VQR staff regularly received but is still somehow convinced that they were not sufficiently competent."
We,, Ted Genoways would have written those, right? Or at least approved them.
"But it would be even more admirable if, while celebrating Genoways’s character (”a man I have never witnessed even raise his voice”) and attacking the characters of others, they were to at least acknowledge that they have no access to the particulars of what went on in the VQR office."
Yes, but only three people can attest to that, and they clearly don't like Genoways - which is fine. Everybody has a biased opinion, and nobody knows what really happened.
But, it's silly to criticize an opinion about Genoways behavior outside the office. It's as relevant as anything else. I'm sure that if somebody comes forward saying that Genoways was rude/antagonistic outside the office then that would be regarded as a smoking gun...but since that isn't the case, the other tactic is to declare any indirect observations as irrelevant, which isn't the case either.
Nobody knows what went on in that office. The fact that Morrissey's suicide note does not lay specific blame means something to. It also means something that his estranged family members are the ones most leading the charge - by your own standard, aren't they the ones who know the least of all?
Anybody who knows Genoways has the right to offer their opinion - and have its veracity questioned. If somebody comes forward and says Genoways was a bully outside of the office, that would go a long way toward absolutely proving the allegations.
The Observer article makes some fair points, but placing any of the blame on the fact that a university quarterly is housed in a university is a red herring. Tenured faculty are truly impossible to fire (unlike the VQR's staff?) but many good department chairs have led their unit to the top without having mutinies or bullying complaints. Was Genoways complaining to his contributor-friend about how he couldn't sack people?
The Observer piece is written by someone who has made both money and reputation from his dealings with Ted Genoways. And now he is dutifully telling us Genoways' version of events. What the story really seems to indicate, though, is that Genoways, wanting to get rid of his whole staff, decided that the only way to get rid of state employees was to bully and harass them until they left.
We're not going to agree anyway...you're 100 percent behind your friends, and I would be too.
@AnotherView: I for one welcome another view and I'm sorry you assume otherwise. Still, I haven't been impressed with the various arguments, such as Tom Bissell's or Dimeter Kenarov's or Elliott Woods's or Anissa Walker's, in defense of Ted Genoways. Here's why:
They don't address Ted Genoways's actual behavior. Instead, they talk about Ted as a man, as a father, or as an editor. Or they attack the staff, suggesting they are "disgruntled" or "mutinous." Sometimes they attack Kevin Morrissey, suggesting it was his responsibility to accept or somehow deal with Genoways's alleged behavior.
But when it comes to a summary of events like the one I posted here on August 20, Genoways's defenders are silent. They are silent, of course, because they don't know anything about these events. But that's why I'm so flummoxed by people like Bissell, Kenarov, Woods, and Walker -- to my knowledge (with the exception of Woods, I believe) they've never been in the VQR offices; they've never met the staff; yet they presume to make arguments about the staff's motives or the staff's productivity. They presume to know what, exactly, Genoways does and doesn't do in his capacity as editor of the magazine.
How do they know this? From Genoways, of course, and I don't doubt that they sincerely believe his side of the story. I don't doubt that Genoways sincerely believes his side of the story. The difference is that the VQR staff can document theirs.
Look more closely at Bissell's arguments in the Observer. He moans that Genoways's defenders have been unfairly dismissed because, according to the anti-Genoways crowd, the issue at hand "is not Mr. Genoways' editorial skills but rather his managerial competence."
It's not clear to me what's unfair about that. To my knowledge, the VQR staff has not engaged in personal attacks against Genoways or publicly argued over his vision of the magazine or even his "editorial skills." Instead, they've focused on how he treats his staff and how he runs his office. Would that his defenders would focus on that, too.
Bissell goes on to complain of arguments about Genoways, "the vast majority of which are purely speculative, written by people uninformed as to the particulars of this situation." Which is ironic, because Bissell does not actually know the particulars of this situation -- this situation about which he so publicly opines in the New York Observer.
If he knew the particulars, he wouldn't argue, for instance, that at VQR "job productivity suffered." Or that the staff was "increasingly mutinous." Or that Genoways "single-handedly" edited 25,000-word drafts into "sleek, 8,000-word hot rods."
How does Bissell know any of this, and would he be open to documented evidence suggesting otherwise?
When Bissell argues that Genoways, by working for the university, was hamstrung in that "he could not easily fire staff," is he suggesting that Genoways did, in fact, want to fire his staff? How does he know this? If he knows this from Genoways, is this the sort of personnel confidentiality for which Lloyd Snook pats his client on the back?
Perhaps Bissell has seen the outstanding performance evaluations that the VQR staff regularly received but is still somehow convinced that they were not sufficiently competent. Perhaps he believes that it was only a coincidence that VQR began to receive awards once Morrissey came aboard; perhaps he knows for a fact that only Genoways's vision deserves credit. He just doesn't offer any evidence.
Anyway, one could go on, but the bottom line is this: Bissell and so many other Genoways defenders don't seem to know what they're talking about. It's admirable, I think, that they want to defend their friend. But it would be even more admirable if, while celebrating Genoways's character ("a man I have never witnessed even raise his voice") and attacking the characters of others, they were to at least acknowledge that they have no access to the particulars of what went on in the VQR office.
Mr Wolfe: Great post.
Genoways takes charge, VQR staffers pull names
Virginia Quarterly Review staffers were stunned by the news that University officials have allowed editor Ted Genoways, whom they accuse of bullying managing editor Kevin Morrissey before he took his own life on July 30, to take control of the fall issue of the magazine.
Ã¢â?¬Å?I never could have forecast that the University would allow us to remain in this situation,” wrote VQR online editor Waldo Jaquith on his blog last Friday.
Indeed, workplace bullying expert Gary Namie says he’s surprised by the University’s decision. Genoways was the recent subject of a Today show feature, during which a VQR staff member called his treatment of Morrissey in the last two weeks of his life Ã¢â?¬Å?egregious.”
Writes Steve: "Yes, but only three people can attest to [Genoways's behavior in the VQR office], and they clearly don’t like Genoways -- which is fine. Everybody has a biased opinion, and nobody knows what really happened."
With respect, perhaps they "clearly don't like Genoways" because of Genoways's behavior. Regardless, how they feel about Genoways personally is quite beside the point. Again, you don't respond to the actual allegations. Instead, you question the motives of those making them.
You write: "Nobody knows what went on in that office." That's not true. Ted Genoways presumably knows, as do the staff members. Or at least they each have their version, and that's to be expected. The difference, as I wrote above, is that the staff can clearly document all the charges that they make. I have seen much of that documentation and it's powerful. By way of contrast, I have encountered no arguments among Genoways's defenders that rely on any first-hand knowledge of what went on in the office.
It may be true that "anybody who knows Genoways has the right to offer their opinion," but it is also true that they have an obligation to know what they're talking about.
"You write: Ã¢â?¬Å?Nobody knows what went on in that office.” That’s not true. Ted Genoways presumably knows, as do the staff members. Or at least they each have their version, and that’s to be expected. The difference, as I wrote above, is that the staff can clearly document all the charges that they make. I have seen much of that documentation and it’s powerful. By way of contrast, I have encountered no arguments among Genoways’s defenders that rely on any first-hand knowledge of what went on in the office."
That's 100 percent true - and the office staff's statements are obviously the most important factors here.
But - YOU don't personally know. You have taken the statements and observations of others and chosen to believe them. That's completely fine, but Bissell is doing the same thing. He has first-hand knowledge of Genoways that you're completely discounting.
I don't expect anyone to say Genoways is a great guy, but people can't have it both ways...you can't totally disregard one first-hand knowledge and take another perspective at face value. Somewhere in the middle is the truth. Bissell DOES know what he's talking about - he's met and worked with Genoways...you're just choosing to apply no value to his perspective.
I'm sure he was an absolute jerk in that office, and was inconsistent and a pain of a boss. I worked for a guy who threw a chair at me, but he paid really well, so that was just the cost of doing business.
The documentation you mention are ultimately opinionated statements. Yes, I give them credibility, but we weren't there to see if they were 100 percent true, 50 percent true, or not true at all.
By your "have an obligation to know what they're talking about" standard, only Jacquith, McMillen and Minturn can actually comment on a board like this and have an opinion worth respecting. So, your own opinion (and mine, and everyone's) and feelings are irrelevant, by your own standard.
Brendan, you're right, only those with first hand knowledge of the situation will be part of the University's investigation. It is quite common to hear stories of abusive spouces who were well liked in their communities. When their ill deeds are exposed, friends and family often express shock- hearing what went on behind closed doors. This is an analogous situation. Unless you were in the office with Mr. Genoways, day to day, you really have no way of knowing how he treated his staff.
This is not about Genoways the friend, husband, father or member of the larger University community. This is strictly a workplace matter and all comments outside of that are irrelevant.
Galloways and Wood are working furiously to get the next edition of the VQR out. Maybe they need the 24-year old to help them.
Shame on UVa. Ted Genoways should be put on leave asap. This is totally unbelievable. Maybe he started bullying the new president or Carol Wood.
Thank you, Brendan Wolfe and Molly Minturn, and also *Jack*, for injecting some much-needed facts and clearheadedness into this discussion. Hopefully, that will curtail the most egregious strings of speculations.
Thanks for possibly the most sane and balanced comment in this thread to date. It should be required reading for anyone posting a comment here from this point on.
@ACHF- I guess bluecollar workers don't take to bullying any better than University types.
"Shooter 8 others dead in Manchester Rampage"
Annette Levine, a cousin of Thornton’s mother, says Omar Thornton’s last words to his mother were he loved her and the Hartford
Distributors warehouse where he worked had Ã¢â?¬Å?pushed him over the edge.”
It must be said, Editor From NY said it, that most of you commenting here from University jobs probably would be shocked to experience daily life in an American Company, any large one in the old format (not Google or Whole Foods). White collar is bad enough, but how would any of you do at a standard blue collar or union plant job or in construction. The University is so cushy and so insulated from the world, no offense. What you call bullying here is SOP almost anywhere in the private sector, tolerated, normal, expected, habituated, rewarded. And of course none of you has served in the military, a job like any other, where we know the stakes are higher and the treatment rougher. This does not denigrate your perceived suffering, you are all so much smarter and so much more sensitive than soldiers or blue collar workers, and so you experience slights, tones of voice, and so on with such heightened awareness. To a soldier or a construction worker reading your comments you must seem to have dog's ears for abuse, able to register that pitch beyond the hearing of mere humans.
I just read all the posts in this thread. A couple days ago, one person said: "Any organization that takes taxpayer money usually has to follow standards/procedures when hiring new employees, and it sounds like this was not done."
I can't shed light on this hiring situation, but here's how a university in a state adjoining Virginia gets around legal requirements like posting jobs. The university has an Office of Social Justice with a director who reports to the president.
The director is charged with ensuring equality in hiring, etc. but for 15 years she has supported management over employees and used the office to install favored young women in positions without posting jobs.
Experienced employees with seniority never get the chance to apply. It's at her discretion. She doesn't have to justify this secret hiring to anyone.
When questioned about the practice, the director said, "The jobs would go to men anyhow." That's insulting to both men and women employees with years of experience and all the right degrees. And it's discrimination.
This is also a town in which the university is the biggest employer. People from all over the state enter the university underpaid and over qualified then spend years working their way up Ã¢â?¬â? waiting for the few choice jobs to open.
FYI, in this system, editors are classified staff and don't make half what UVA editors named in this article do. No one can get even an entry level writing position without a BA.
An experienced managing editor here with a terminal masters edited a national quarterly with a circulation of 20,000 for $30Ã¢â?¬â??35K.
And believe me, Virginia is not alone as a breeding ground for the incestuous good old boy system.
Morrissey's unnecessary death is a tragedy. In my experience, the system protects bullies even when an individual is a serial bully.
Half the people I worked with at this university were depressed and/or taking antidepressants. Millions of people deal with depression but very few kill themselves.
Bullying exacerbates and causes depression. Bullying can break anyone.
To "Another County Heard From"....
I agree ....spend a day in the private sector. This has struck a nerve with so many of us because it happens every day at Fortune 500 companies. Enough speculation - It’s survival of the fittest; academia is so isolated from what happens in the "real" world. Compassion and humanity should be innate in all of us. Unfortunately, egos, greed and self promotion get in the way. In the private sector, there is no understanding of diseases like depression. You produce, or you fail. There are thousands of stories like Kevin’s out there. Severe depression is a disease much like diabetes, cancer, etc. Until it is recognized as such, placing blame is moot.
@Joe Nobody - I don't think that your comment was a waste of time at all...I (for one) had no idea that Mr. Snook was so well connected. It brings quite a few things to light....and as you said "only time will tell". It may not turn out as one would hope, but I think all the true colors will be visable for those who can see past the "smoke".
I know I'm wasting my time with this comment, soo many already have been made.
But here it is anyway.
Loyd Snook is a Criminal Defense Attorney.
Loyd Snook is/was(?)the Chair of the Charlottsville Democratic Party.
He his connected in Charlottesville society the way no other lawyer that Genoways might have hired could be connected.
When Genoways hired Snook it was a very deliberate decision. It was the decision of someone who knows how to manipulate people, and to play the game of Public Relations (P.R) and strategic politics.
He knew the minute Morrissey killed himself that he was in front of the bulls eye. The selection of Loyd Snook as his attorney is a demonstration of nothing less than his acute sense of P.R. savvy, and an ability to look forward, and to know how to manipulate any situation to his best advantage.
Genoways did something wrong. He knows he did something wrong, and that's why he hired one of Charlottesville's most politically connected attorneys, Loyd Snook.
I'm also going to say- with parasitic manipulators like Genoways... it's probably a given that the no degree Morrissey was the real creative brains behind the success of VQR- while Genoways was simply the parasite comfortable with the social very public extrovert aspects of running the show.
With regard to this - only time will tell.
As a UVA employee who has seen her department move away from a very sick culture towards a fair and healthy workplace, over the span of four years, I know that this kind of change is possible.
The sickest people have left this department, because people in management, from the Dean's Office down to the department's middle managers, stood up to these bullies, even when the technical quality of their work was excellent. The staff received Emotional Intelligence training, including instruction on how to respond to a childish boss, although not all of the bullies are supervisors; some are just long-time staff who have been allowed to behave badly for many years.
The bullies that are left now stick out like sore thumbs and are under scrutiny by their superiors. Some of the bullies have reined in their behavior. Others get away with what they can when no one is looking.
It is hard work to fight the good fight. I pray that the University's new President will respond to the bullying problems the University's staff lives with every day with the same concern she has shown in response to Yeardley Love's murder. In the meantime, those of us in the trenches need to band together to support each other and make use of Employee Assistance to take care of ourselves.
Wow, Joe, that's a particularly nasty comment. Snook is one of the sharpest games-playing attorneys around. If I could afford him, I would hire him (or the Hook's counsel, probably the best in town) for a parking ticket. I suspect Genoways hired him because Genoways knew that he couldn't get a fair hearing here in such a weird emotionally charged case, and knew he needed someone familiar with high-profile and high-spin cases. Good counsel is hardly an admission of guilt. You mention party affiliation, I suppose that's relevant; Genoways is very liberal so hired a fellow Democrat, just as Morrissey a strong CLOSET conservative (rara avis in the academy and making him a big target if anyone knew) would probably have hired a Republican. So what?
For any of the people directly involved, in the ordinary world, when someone you know is suicidal you don't go running off to some office where no one has any power to do anything without 25 meetings and several phone calls to experts. Find out what they are doing for themselves-are they already getting help?-if they are and you are concerned that their depression is stronger than their meds, talk to them, or to someone they will listen to, family, doctor, friends, or if it is beyond that, You call 911 and have them assessed by a professional immediately. This is not to blame anyone involved with this case-this is sadly from experience.
Note: the story now includes a link to the text of the August 2, 2010 email that Mr. Genoways sent to friends and colleagues.
Do you think you might manage to refrain from personal attacks against me?
Yes, it was after an email but clearly that email was but one in a series of events. And I never said she was diagnosed by an HR person.
You're all culpable. In fact, I'm culpable and I live 3000 miles away. My neighbor but one has Alzheimer's and I've never met her. Quash your accusations and be nice to people, people.
Deleted by moderator
You don't send an e-mail to a very large number of "undisclosed recipients" and expect that not one of them is going to pass that e-mail on. And none of the "undisclosed recipients" of his self-justifying letter was a staff member. Genoways's mail was never hacked. He just showed bad judgment in thinking that all of his "friends" were indeed his friends. Who on that list betrayed you Ted? One person--or many? Looking for Judas (indeed)--which I guess Ted will recall is the title of a 2009 essay in VQR written by his good friend Tom Bissell.
No Ax: for the record, there is absolutely no evidence that Genoways's e-mail has been hacked. And if Genoways preferred to not "launch an attack on Kevin Morrissey's character," then it would have been better for him not to write an e-mail to people outside the VQR office accusing Morrissey
* of having a "demeanor" that was "unacceptable for the workplace";
* of not sufficiently performing his work; and
* of hating Genoways and turning the staff against him.
Again, this e-mail was not sent to staff, but to people outside the office. And this was not while Morrissey was still alive, but within days of his death. Why would you do such a thing and now claim that personnel matters are confidential? Why would you do such a thing and claim that you would never, ever want to attack Morrissey?
It just doesn't make sense.
What about substance abuse? Maybe someone had a drug or alcohol problem. That can certainly exacerbate an already bad situation.
I believe Kevin Morrissey may have been depressed, but it was due to the Bullying! The bullying is not only at UVA but also at UVA Med Ctr!!! Hr & Eap DO NOT HELP the employees, only to make you feel like it's your fault or that you are crazy! What's it going to take to change UVA, another suicide! All they care about is their financial gain! They don't care about their employees! Bullying should be against the law!!!!
Genoways obviously believed that he was a bigtime editor in the publishing world, rather than the manager of a nice little university publication.
Steve, however professional Genoways's email may sound, his demands were completely unprofessional. According to the article, a member of UVA's HR department verified that Genoways's instructions to Kevin (that he leave the office and work from home without contacting any VQR staff) were a direct violation of UVA policy. Whether Genoways had legitimate reasons to issue this statement is another matter---and does not change the fact that he had no legal right to banish Kevin from the office.
Wow. Mr G's e-mail to Kevin was cold. How could you write that letter to someone who you had worked with for 10 years and had over at your house on Holidays?
How could you kick him out of the office based on a vague, unspecified "report" that he did something heinous? Surely he could have given him some explanation in the e-mail, or called him and spoke to him for 5 minutes. Wouldn't he deserve at least that? Or was Ted that busy?
What was the alleged behavior? Has it really never been explained?
What was HR doing over there?
Thank you for your post on the experience of depression. I know nothing about the details of this case, but it's clear to me that bullying was involved and Kevin's suicide was a direct result of that bullying. Blaming it on his depression, as though it is isolated disease with no relationship to the environment is insensitive and disrespectful.
I've been in this situation, working in a research lab for a tyrant. He was also well-respected for his ability to bring fame and fortune to the university. Meanwhile, many of us in his lab suffered tremendously and were constantly plotting our escape. I became very depressed and was fortunate enough to get out, although at considerable cost to my career and financial security. But before I got out, I was told I had a "chemical imbalance" and prescribed an antidepressant. My distress about my job was explained as distorted thinking due to my depression. I was told I was lucky to have the job Ã¢â?¬â?? the prestige would be good for my career so I’d better learn to adapt.
Depression is not without causes. It is not a biological disease that hangs detached from the environment. People who are vulnerable to depression need to get away from workplace bullies, even if it costs them promotion and advancement; and bullies need to be stopped dead in their tracks. There’s no excuse for allowing bullying to go unrestrained, no matter how much Ã¢â?¬Å?success” bullies bring to an institution or business. Running a company like Captain Bligh is not a good management model.
I am alive today and thriving in another career. I’m sorry Kevin didn’t find the same opportunity. It sounds like he was a sensitive, intelligent, well-loved guy who was just in the wrong environment. My condolences to his family and friends.
@Maria Morrissey. I applaud your work on fighting workplace bullying. If Ted Genoway is reading this, consider changing your ways.
Steve-I couldn't disagree more. Zero and Will already said, basically, what I was going to say.
"The writer shouldn’t get into emotional accusations, etc."
Who said that he should?
"I get the feeling sometimes that a lot of commenters have an idea how they wish the professional world works, but aren’t able to seperate that from the reality."
Some would say that the academic setting is not exactly the same as the "professional" world, but that is neither here nor there.
"So”Š.yeah. But at least his wording is professionally neutral, or Ã¢â?¬Å?acceptably worded,” as Steve writes! Hooray!"
Welcome to the bureacracy of HR...
What laws would Ted Genoways be violating if he spoke about this situation to Nancy Rivers? From my own experience of speaking with UVa's ombudsman about a personnel issue, it seems there really aren't laws for these situations and that UVa policies are guidelines and not rules as I had believed. If you can't specify the laws, I would have to believe that Ted Genoways is not commenting because he has received legal advice not to and that is far different than being illegal.
Excellent article on a tragic situation, Mr. McNair, and I thank you for it.
With regards to this line in your recent comment: "...a meeting with the Vice President for Research’s office at which the VQR staff would be assigned new positions.”
Do you know why VQR's staff were being assigned new positions? Was this a shuffling of responsibilities to make a place for the newest member, former intern Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse? If so, is there any earthly reason why the newest hire would be at such a meeting as the only VQR staff representative, and thus seemingly able to write their own ticket as far as to whom responsibilities would be re-allocated?
Was a determination made, subsequent to the remark by Mr. Jaquith at the July 14th meeting, that Mr. Morrissey would indeed attend the pending meeting with the VP for Research's office? Was that pending meeting to take place during the week that Mr. Morrissey was exiled from the office?
If Mr. Morrissey was placed in charge of the staff in Mr. Genoways' absence, but couldn't even decide which meetings he'd attend without Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse's consent, it seems increasingly clear that she, a rich [some might say attractive, but I won't] former intern with a relative nano-second of experience in publishing was actually if not formally calling the shots at the head of this experienced staff of professionals. I'm sure emails between she and Mr. Genoways will shed light on their relationship...
@Will Smith-- add in that Genoways NEVER ended up informing Morrissey or the HR person what the infraction was, and you can double that "indefensible."
I've never treated an employee like that, nor will I. If I'm going to respect myself, I have to show others respect. Golden Rule and all that. Needless to say, there's a really good reason why HR people are universally loathed.
sorry. the LL posting should read Lynn - i'm not trying to be anonymous.
@sle I was curious about that too. All I know about Laurie Casteen is that she is John Casteen's daughter-in-law and works for UVA (see http://www.virginia.edu/deanofstudents/programsandservices/accessuva.html). She is married to the former president's son who apparently also used to work for UVA (see http://www.english.sbc.edu/casteen.html).
And of goes "Let's be civil" could just as well be "Let's be snarky."
There is no evidence of "fawning" or "supplication'; Genoways salary (plus benefits) might be 170k but he didn't pay it to himself--that would the University of Virginia; and the remark about the hotel bills is snarky too.
When I, at the age of 51, was bullied out of my position as the managing editor of an academic journal published by a prestigious research library, one of the hardest things for me to accept was the fact that my colleagues did not stand up for me. I understood very well that most of them had families to support, mortgages to pay, or other responsibilities that made it impossible for them to speak up on my behalf. I even recognized that the few who actively colluded in the bullying felt compelled to do so, since any refusal to support the bully would instantly have made them her next target. I knew this and did not really expect my co-workers to put their own careers, their salaries, their health and sanity on the line for me. I didn't expect it, but I couldn't help hoping for it. What makes Mr. Morrissey's case different from many other such cases is that he did have colleagues who came to his defense, who did the right thing and brought their documented, legitimate complaints and concerns to the university's HR department and even to the president's office. They stood up for Kevin Morrissey, and the Morrissey family is standing up for his memory, not by maligning Mr. Genoways (who seems to be doing a fine job of ruining his own reputation) but by holding both him, as Mr. Morrissey's supervisor, and the university, as Mr. Morrissey's and Mr. Genoways's employer, accountable for the multiple abuses and failures that have traumatized every member of the VQR staff. I include Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse in that group, since she, too, has been victimized by Ted Genoways's treatment of her fellow staff members, although it will undoubtedly be some time before she can acknowledge that either privately or publicly. With this post, I am standing up for Mr. Morrissey's memory and for Mr. Jaquith, Ms. Minturn, Ms. McMillen, Ms. Pugh, and even Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse. They were suffering before July 30th, and they continue to suffer. They can no longer help Kevin, but maybe I can help them.
The remark "a rich [some might say attractive, but I won't] former intern" is that of a cad. There is no reason to speak of her personal appearance. And no evidence whatever thus far, of any relationship between Genoways and her other than that of fawning supplicant promoting her to an editorial position in the hope of wheedling a subsidy, and her efforts to get other rich people to contribute. Paying himself a salary of $170,000, of course Genoways needs to flatter rich contributers. Now, the question of their relation could change based on an audit of hotel bills for these conferences they attended together. But right now there is no reason to call it into question, and even if there were, no excuse whatever to disparage her personal appearance. I nominate "****" 's post for deletion by the moderator.
Writes BK: "I want a more complicated picture than weak nice guy caved in to domineering boss, because I find that hard to believe. Never mind the slurs on TG, that’s a spectacularly lousy way to think of KM. I suspect there were some substantial and irreconcilable differences between them and I wonder what they were."
It's great that you're looking for "a more complicated picture," but it's curious that you feel pressured to believe that Kevin Morrissey was "weak" or that he "caved in." Has anyone in a position to know made that argument?
Being bullied in the work place -- if, for the sake of argument at least, we can agree was the case with Morrissey -- is not the same as being "weak." One's options are limited in such a situation: you can reach out to the university, as Morrissey did. You can quit, too, but no one should be forced to quit, and weakness should not be the conclusion one draws when Morrissey chose not to quit.
Killing oneself is not the same, I don't believe, as "caving in." I certainly don't see Morrissey's death in the context of caving in to Genoways's treatment of him. You write that you "find that hard to believe," and yet no one -- or at least no one on the staff of VQR -- is asking you to believe that.
You mention "the slurs on TG" as being "a spectacularly lousy way to think of KM," and I agree. It's worth repeating, however, that those slurs do not come from members of the VQR staff.
In any event, you "suspect there were some substantial and irreconcilable differences between [Genoways and Morrissey] and I wonder what they were." This is because it's just too difficult for you to believe that a bully boss would have driven Morrissey to suicide. Of course, no one on staff has made that accusation. They have simply laid out a case against Genoways's management. You don't seem to have commented on what you think of that case one way or the other. Instead, you want to assume that these two men were at loggerheads. What if they were? What does it matter? It doesn't address the accusations.
We can spend our whole lives trying to crawl inside the heads of these two men; it's unseemly and it's irrelevant. What matters is what happened, and so far there has been no adequate response to that.
@Tonkinson-- Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I'm horribly sorry that happened to you. The sense of betrayal in these cases is keen.
Agreed that if more employees stuck together and presented a united front, then it would make it much harder for bullies to succeed. Yes, it's a gamble-- but the greater the numbers, the lower the risk.
@ "the former president’s son who apparently also used to work for UVa"
Still does, in the BIS program and/or Continuing Ed., I believe, as well as the Semester at Sea.
Nobody seems to query Morrissey's role here. WHY was TG opposed to his perceived interference? "Pure bully bossiness" is not really an acceptable answer. The two clearly wanted different things for VQR; it appears that TG wanted some fundraising against an uncertain future. What did Morrissey want? What was his position on the move to a different department, and the need to find new finance? It has been suggested that after Candace Pugh's formal complaint against TG Morrissey was put in charge of the staff. Is this true? Was Alana double-barrelled name person brought in over, around, or beneath Morrissey? Were there then spirited disputes over who was running the show? Did Morrissey feel that at least certain elements of the show were his to run? but that they were being usurped?
I can't picture this conflict as a one-sided, bully boss picks on employee conflict. I assume they had real flashpoints, serious problems, irreconcilable conflicts with each other that have not come to light yet. Does anyone know what Morrissey's stances, positions, concerns and cares were? Never mind TG's various deficiencies for the moment: what did Kevin Morrissey want? how was he frustrated in getting it?
Millions go to work depressed everyday. Few seek help. Many drink or self-medicate and are never diagnosed. Depression is treatable and apparently, Kevin Morrissey was being treated. But there's still a stigma.
I don’t know Kevin but his entire life now revolves around depression Ã¢â?¬â? one element of what sounds like a rich and creative life. Depression is as common to writers as muscle strains to athletes.
Depressed people focus extremely well and when immersed in work, no one is more focused. Editors are paid to be perfectionists. That's the job. I've never met an editor who didn't get prickly at deadline.
When a person is depressed, the cruelest thing anyone can do is take away his work. So cause is a legitimate question. Depression is rarely terminal.
I didn’t understand when it happened to me, but it is standard bully practice to treat an unwanted employee as worthless, remove responsibilities, pull assignments, cut the person out of meetings and spread rumors.
As Jake posted a few days ago, it appears Genoway’s intention was Ã¢â?¬Å?. . . to bait and exacerbate Mr. Morrissey’s depressive difficulties . . . perhaps in hope he would tender his resignation.” It was textbook treatment.
If the prey is an accomplished, hardworking individual who works overtime, never breaks rules and can't afford to quit, the bully picks at his work and waits for an opportunity Ã¢â?¬â? like illness or a death in the family Ã¢â?¬â? to attack.
Also, I’ve edited quarterlies. If a university quarterly is extremely stressful, the reason is most likely poor management. And if the VQR budget is so limited, why does Genoway make $170K? I know professors with doctoral degrees nearing retirement who don’t make half that.
whenever we'd run into each other and speak, KM always seemed like a sweet guy, friendly and solicitous if not jolly, but not by any means suggesting a morbidly melancholic heaviness.
did he have any friends outside of the office?
did he cut off his family or vice-versa, why?
did he leave his girlfriend or vice-versa, why?
it's sad, a fifty-something guy living alone in one of those depressing downtown condos seemingly with no friends, family, or girlfriend. His favorite book was Stop-Time, not a cheerful read in those circumstances. is it fair to say that he was increasingly isolated or isolating himself in the last few years, and that his job was his only real human contact, the only thing he had to put energy and focus into?
does anyone know if he wrote any books or articles available in print or on the web?
I don't think your abstract analysis ("very dark, sad, lonely, inescapable...torturous pain...bad dream that never ends...") superimposed over a specific event you don't know about first-hand, involving people you don't know personally, qualifies you to oversimplify it and then pat yourself on the back by asking, "Is that complicated enough for you?" Because, frankly, no, it doesn't answer the more complex, concrete questions having to do with this particular situation, and it's a disservice to everyone involved to reduce it to such patronizing tripe.
@eddie V - you are a patronizing know-it-all, apparently devoid of insight or empathy.
Thanks for your input - it adds hugely to the discussion.
I won't ask the obvious question.
I see it more as sharing so that others understand what happened to this man was not an isolated incident.
I often find that someone else's death is a great excuse for airing my own personal problems.
this is the bullying expert UVA hired (and quoted in the article). not much in the way of psychology/sociology/etc. type of credentials, from what i can find...
It is true that institutional bullying should be dealt with and that people should no longer suffer. HR departments need to listen, complaints should be taken seriously. However, until that golden day arrives, targets do indeed have to figure it out how to save themselves. Cade (and other writers, consultants, etc.) offers confirmation of the situation. Bad work environments are never going to go away. To have even a glimmer of hope that you can have some effect on that environment is a good feeling indeed.
My gut reaction after reading this: The legal wrangling will take years to come to completion, but in the end, UVa will shell out many millions of dollars in damages to the victims of Mr. Genoways. (Mr. Genoways could also end up a pauper.)
This eventuality - more than any moral imperative - will motivate this school (and others) to replace their sluggish, bureaucratic HR departments with more responsive ones.
While I appreciate the letter of support, the truth with bullies is that (usually) only the ones *not* in power will be bullied. Therefore, a note from people who did not have to work for the accused bully is of little consequence. Many, if not all, of the signers were *not* in a subordinate position. Bullies go after subordinates.
That said, I had no dealings with the man and am sad about the entire situation.
The "bullying expert" at UVA has no leverage, and is inconsequential. This is about institutionally sanctioned abuse of power, as old as the world itself, and it needs to be taken apart from the top down in a trial - what are the facts, who did what, and why was it allowed. First of all, the investigation into alleged, multiple allegations of misconduct at VQR needs to provide answers, made public for all to see, and bring closure to participants and relatives. Secondly, UVA should be judged by their actions, urged into transparency, based on the outcome of the investigation. Thirdly, VQR is for now the high profile poster child, but this drama resonates far and wide in academia. The focus, or onus, needs to be on dysfunctional managers (of which there are many) instead of victimization of 'subordinates' who don't have the 'power' to affect change.
Truth, you are exactly right. I can't tell you how many people I saw treated exactly as it appears Kevin was treated Ã¢â?¬â? same age, different university.
One can only hope, Mr. Wolfe, that given your special knowledge you'll be included in President Sullivan's investigation, perhaps as an independent unbiased investigator yourself to assure impartiality in the findings and evidences presented.
To date you have been the most voluable spokesperson presenting documentation and argumentation in this case, if we may call it that. I am surprised they chose Waldo rather than you to do the various national talkshow interviews.
Thank you for pressing the issue on all fronts and assuring a fuller and richer discussion, and for presenting evidence and argument that VQR staff is either unwilling or unable to present themselves given nondisclosure or HR/Personnel policies. With your help, I feel that this will be a more thorough inquiry, and with your continued pressure, there is no way, as some commenters suggest, that this episode can be simply swept under the rug.
story in the Miami Herald about this brings up several good points.
I have engaged Edward Wasserman, the author of that Miami Herald column, on his blog:
I agree with Wasserman that the media coverage -- the Hook's story notwithstanding -- has been very poor. However, he uses that as an excuse to argue that the story itself is likely bogus and that VQR staff members are less than credible witnesses to their own experiences. I don't think one follows the other.
Where to start with the errors...
Let me start with the matters of which I have first hand information.
First, at no time did I insinuate that Kevin did anything wrong financially. Reporters calling me were asking me about the fact that the University was doing an audit, and in their questions they suggested that TED was involved in some financial impropriety. My comment at that time was that we welcomed the audit, that if there were any irregularities they would be at least as likely to reflect on Kevin, as managing editor, than on Ted, who did not have day-to-day control of finances, but that we were confident that the audit would show that nothing improper had occurred, either on the part of Ted or on the part of Kevin. In fact, the reason for the audit, as Carol Woods of the University has made clear, is that when control of accounts is being transferred to someone new, and the person who once had control is not available to explain things, an audit is done to be sure that there is nothing amiss. The person who was not available to explain things was Kevin Morrissey. The audit was necessary because Kevin killed himself. That is not the same thing as saying that Kevin did anything wrong either -- simply that standard operating procedure is to conduct an audit under those circumstances.
I understand how the readers of this piece might think, given what was written, that I had implied that Kevin was up to no good; in fact, I have never said that.
Second, the inference from the epilogue is that Ted was somehow shirking his duties by not being in the VQR office on August 16 as the issue was going to press. In fact, he had long been scheduled to be on leave until August 20, and he had long been scheduled to be in Vermont at a writers' conference (and he is there now). In fact, he has continued to be involved in putting this issue to press, albeit by e-mail, and has been helping Carol Wood nail down the last-minute details.
Third, if there was no "suicide note saying nasty things about Ted", I apologize for the error. The immediate reports -- confirmed here -- were that Kevin had left a note by his side when he killed himself. We have never seen it, so we do not know what it says. We do know that within hours, Ted was confronted by Kevin's sister, accusing him of being responsible for Kevin's death. I may have jumped to an incorrect conclusion in saying that the note left by his side when he committed suicide was a "suicide note," or that it made the allegations against Ted that Maria Morrissey was making hours later. If those conclusions were wrong, I apologize for the error.
Fourth, the article claims that it was "stranger still" that Ted Genoways was not at Kevin Morrissey's funeral on August 6. Please remember that on July 30, Maria Morrissey had accused Ted of being responsible for Kevin's death. On August 3, the blog posts from the Morrissey family began, going public with their accusation that "workplace bullying" by Ted was responsible for Kevin's death. It would have been TRULY "stranger still" if, under the circumstances, Ted HAD gone to the funeral. It would have been terribly upsetting to the Morrissey family, and Ted had been asked NOT to come to the funeral. He abided by what he was told were the wishes of the family.
As to the allegations of workplace bullying, Ted has consistently said that he is not permitted to talk about internal UVA personnel matters. That is the University policy, and all involved here -- Ted and the other VQR employees -- are all supposed to be adhering to the policy. Ted has consistently said that he will address the merits of the allegations with the University, not with the media. He will adhere to the policy even when those on the other side are NOT adhering to the policy.
When the Chronicle of Higher Education ran their story last week, it was rife with errors. Carol Wood sent them a detailed response from the University, pointing out the errors; that response does not seem to have made it into the publication.
Without going into details, I will just say that the detailed descriptions of meetings in the week leading up to Kevin's death contain many errors also. The meeting described on July 26 did not happen, at least not with Ted present. Because he wasn't there, he cannot comment on what was said. The rest of the description of the week seems to have been taken from someone's description of meetings at which Ted was not present, or communications not copied to Ted, so he cannot comment on those either.
It has been apparent since the very beginning that the media interest in this case is being driven -- indeed, shopped -- by people who are on a crusade to vilify Ted Genoways. When this story was being written, Ted got an e-mail from Hawes Spencer, asking for his comment on a series of allegations ranging from financial impropriety, self-publication, improper hiring, bullying, and whether he thought that Maria Morrissey thought that Kevin thought that Ted was a narcissist. (At least I think that's what the question was getting at.) It was clear to us that Hawes' e-mail was the product of having been fed a line of nonsense that represented every complaint that anyone had ever had against Ted Genoways.
Let there be no doubt -- there is an organized group of people who are determined to shop this story to local and national media. I have spoken to reporters from publications across the country who tell me that they have had this controversy called to their attention -- they won't say by whom -- to see if the publication will write a story. And the allegations are always the same. A national newspaper doesn't pick up the story because its book editor reads the C-Ville Weekly. It picks up the story because someone who wants to vilify Ted Genoways calls them to try to interest them in the story.
Many people would probably disagree with you, Mr/Mrs/Miss Seriously. Even those with severe and lifelong depression eventually come across the final trigger, the straw that broke the camel's back, etc... I sense that this newfangled Administration hiding behind closed doors was indeed the trigger for Morrisey.
Thank you for the best reporting on this tragedy since it happened.
I know both Kevin and Ted. I can say decisively, definitively, that Kevin Morrissey would never, ever engage in questionable budgetary practices. Ever. For Genoways' aptly named attorney to suggest otherwise is quite a strong signal about their defense strategy.
I was a target in a hostile workplace situation just a year ago. Our (state) university's HR department acted swiftly and decisively upon the evidence presented by 20% of our staff. The bully was removed permanently, and we are all the better for it.
My heart breaks that UVA did not choose to act in a similarly professional way--with the employees' interests at the fore. Shame.
In response to "jack M" or anyone else who might be interested,
Yes, I read fiction submissions for former editor Staige Blackford in 1992-93 while I was an MFA student at the University. In 1995 the VQR published a story of mine.
I love how you quote "blogger" John Bruce. If you actually did any research to see what kind of person John Bruce is -- a bitter, failed writer/academic who will rant and rave at anything and everything set before him, the subtext being that he's a genius and everyone else is a fool -- you'd realize that whatever he says should be dismissed out of hand. He is frequently chased off other people's blogs for being a troll. Surely you could have found someone with a shred more credibility to say what John Bruce says. Surely.
As someone interviewed for this piece, I wanted to thank Dave McNair for his informative, detailed, and fair investigative reporting on this tragedy. It is required reading for anyone following the story.
For anyone who is facing a potential workplace bullying situation, this information from my blog, Minding the Workplace, may be helpful:
Professor of Law and Director, New Workplace Institute
Suffolk University Law School, Boston
Hey, what do you know? ANOTHER one-sided article that excludes any effort to present the other side. Guilty until proven innocent, as always. Journalistic standards are in the toilet these days.
For once and for all...Kevin Morrissey was a truly lovely man with a disease. Severe and lifelong depression. That is what killed him.
Is Snook implying that something nefarious happened with the finances while under Morrisey's control?
If this is the case, wouldn't Snook likely have this information that due to his client having direct knowledge of the accounts?
If that's the case, it seems pretty absurd to suggest that if anything turns out to be irregular, it's all on Morrissey. Especially when there are e-mails where Genoways asks staff to pay a writer 6 grand, etc.
I agree with you that Kevin Morrissey was depressed and that Kevin killed Kevin.
There we are done with that.
Now, I don't think that this article came across as one sided. And if you look at this piece in comparison to the other articles that have been written about this situation, it seems to have the most in-depth and fair analysis.
What would you want to see changed? An interview where someone calls Genoways a hell of a great guy? Forgive me if I am wrong, but it seems like you might be sympathetic to that point of view yet you instead chose to say that the article was one sided and that journalistic standards are "in the toilet these days."
Maybe this one of those smoke and fire situations.
"But Genoways, who holds an untenured, general faculty post in the English Department [...]"
I don't believe this to be accurate. And it matters to this story.
Dave - EXCELLENT work! Great and objective reporting! Please stay in touch with this story and it's eventual outcome.
How many people that are working in our country, are in horrible jobs with the old style punitive management? There needs to be much better supervision of all supervisors and Administrators. Let's face it many of you are a#@holes and UVA has its fair share. They need to be taught how to be supportive of their staff and watch their one ego.
This poor individual committed suicide and it is horrific that he made that choice. It was horrific that he did not reach out and contact someone else here. But everyone needs to calm down and stop making his boss out to sound responsible, at least that is the tone is here that I am reading. While he might be a $#%@& or whatever that is not something that can be placed on him. This person made a choice and wanted relief from his emotional pain, but he made a permanent choice.
Please if anyone feels like killing themselves contact someone there can be help for you.
I love writing a long comment only to click submit and have it dissappear for no apparent reason.
"As Morrissey feared, he and another staff member, despite the University’s assurances, received angry emails from Genoways on Friday."
He just couldn't help himself, or control himself, could he?
I feel deeply for Kevin and his family. The burden, the suffering he must have gone though is beyond most people's comprehension. He felt he had no way out, obviously.
Incredible article, Mr McNair, well-written and balanced. I can't begin to imagine the pain Mr Morrissey must have been feeling, especially in light of the callous way he was treated the final week of his life. Condolences to his family, friends and co-workers.
One thing in particular jumped out at me. How foolish must Genoways have been to install Ms Levinson-Brousse in the VQR office as an "intern" without even having the good sense to discuss it with staff first? It shows an incredible lack of respect for both longstanding staff and Levinson-Brousse herself. Creating this sort of potentially divisive and inflammatory situation at the VQR demonstrates that Mr Genoways lacks the leadership and managerial skills necessary to supervise employees.
@Virginia Plain - Agreed that After = Intern. Glad someone else caught on to that.
If after is the intern, then she isn't doing much to support her case that she was hired soley on merit and qualifications.
It has been known for a long time by many that Ted Genoways is merely an operator in charge of expanding the Ted Franchise, by any means necessary. It kind of boggles the mind that the franchise was taken as far as it did before the lid blew off - the cataclysmic event of Kevin Morrissey's death. Until then he was given an inexplicable amount of leeway. Maybe because transgressive behavior was mistaken for some kind of genius? Or maybe because his 'genius' was his uncanny ability to return favors to the right people? A lot of money was thrown around to get the reporting from dangerous places that put VQR on the national award map. Maybe Mr. Genoways liked to live vicariously.
But the facts are the facts; this is not a 'he says, she says' scenario, despite feeble and unusual attempts by his lawyer to enter the public discussion and 'set the record straight'. While simultaneously admonishing everyone it is a "private employee issue"? Yeah right. This tragedy has become of public significance, because Ted Genoways is a high profile poster child for the kind of mismanagement and power abuse that occurs at institutions like UVA all the time; cronyism, conflicts of interest (like donors working at the very place they endowed), overpaid managers (denying pay raises to others), general faculty working half the time the staff does, unreasonable or inconsistent demand to staff, not giving credit or refusal to share in credit, etc. Let the last stone be overturned, we should and will demand profound changes in policy from UVA.
truthwillhappen-Thanks for pointing out that having a donor work at the places they endow-esp. as a 'development manager' no less- is a major conflict of interest. (Indeed, even the article points this out.)
If pointing that out is anyone's defination of 'bullying' then please explain how. . .
I should have been clearer in my last sentence. Specifically, I was asking how raising questions about the intern's hiring and qualifications could be called 'bullying' like some posters-notably 'after'-suggested.
Well, if we remember correctly, After stated she would be starving if she weren't rich and pretty...so @Kiki - "If after is the intern, then she isn’t doing much to support her case that she was hired soley on merit and qualifications." Doubtful her qualifications would get her anywhere in the "real" world. I guess even the rich have to "buy" themselves a job nowadays...the rest of us can scrape the barrel for the leftovers with our merit and qualifications.
After, I'm astonished that you would describe the pre-Genoways VQR as an undergrad-level, stapled affair that was only read in bathroom stalls. ??? It may not have been to everyone's tastes, but it didn't have the astonishing history of contributors it had by being anything like what you describe.
As for the alumnus (the writer with the MA in Economics) who hadn't heard of VQR, so what? I doubt that many English majors are aware of most--or any--of the similarly high-quality journals in such areas as foreign relations, politics, history, etc., that UVa also publishes.
Now, a word about people who post here anonymously: I decided some time ago that if I post a comment on The Hook's website (the only such local site I keep up with or leave comments on), I would do so using my full name.
If you're posting here anonymously, you may have a valid reason. But I urge everyone to think about this and to ask themselves whether there's a legitimate reason to remain anonymous.
@Brendan Wolfe-ITA with both your posts esp. the first one.
@truth-I am beginning to think 'after' is a troll or someone seeking attention. Case in point, the comments about her supposedly being 'rich and pretty', the obsession with Ms. Levinson-Labrosse’s apperance and the total avoidence of addressing any of the points that posters have raised re: the woman's actual qualifications.
Also, I want to make it clear that I am not claiming to be an expert on anything. I am raising questions based on my own experience and the article. As I said awhile back, I thought the point of this board was to raise or discuss criticial questions brought up in the article.
i agree with lynn. the xerox and staple version of the magazine was more typical small literary, the new VQR was slick and political. there's a huge difference. i'd rather read the four authors someone listed from the old magazine (even if they were all dead white males reprinted not submitted) than any of the depressing political horror stories in the new VQR.
However, one cannot argue that modern identity politics academics and modern tragedy voyeurs loved the new magazine and the new format and dirrction, and for the first ti e ever it was internationally awarded and read and celebrated by everyone. and it had high prestige and a brilliant future, even competing against major magazines. that was worth pushing forward, as Casteen clearly saw, as the Cville saw in its many articles praising the new VQR.
If VQR stayed on this tack, eventually UVA probably would have launched a purely literary journal, and printed more traditional content while reserving VQR for global issues and trauma studies and so on. two different creatures.
phoebe. the model for the new VQR was hybrid. commercial-academic. and up-market. it answered the leftist global antiwar and identity politik turn that amercan intellectuals have taken. this was clever and timely. it was brave of casteen to support it and genoways to try it.
there are other such hybrid magazines doing very well. look at Oxford American, also award winning and hybrid commercial-academic, if more cultural than political, and more southern than global.
you pretty much have to pay the kind of authors VQR has been getting, and to pay for the kind of stories they've been getting. using the rainy day fund made the magazine what it has become. hiring a development officer and giving genoways the greenlight to spend and keep winning awards was a way to make the magazine sustainable at that high level even if the new president did not care to support it in the way Casteen had.
you want national recognition, you have to pay for it. ask the Football Team. Ask the Radio Observatory. Ask the English Department with their huge salaries for high profile big name author hires. genoways had to spend money for high quality paper, shiny images, big name authors or big impact stories all if he wanted national recognition and acclaim.
@ loudmouth.......so you wouldn't consider Web Editor to be an IT position? Waldo may be a blogger but that's not what VQR paid him for. I hope you and your cronies sleep well at night picking on people who just tragically lost a close friend and had their professional life turned upside down for all to snipe at. His comments have been measured and generally dry, not indicting but not allowing the facts to be blurred by Atty. Snook. Your sides attempt at spin control is childish and reveals that your only interest is deflecting attention from the events culminating in an unnecessary death. Shame on you .
M, do you mean the post M August 21st, 2010 | 2:31 pm which is still here and which reads pretty much the same as your latest? Paranoid?
but she was attractive, driven, an echols scholar, graduate twice of uva from a legacy family. she understood large fortunes. she loved the university enough to donate to it. she loved writing enough to give one point five millionbto the Young Writers Workshop, not VQR. she understood fundraising, she understood large capital solicitation and donation. she was from a very well connected UVA family who routinely gave to the university. she was extremely bright animated pretty charming socially graceful and adept. all these things made her a PERFECT choice for a fundraiser for a literary venture that needed funds if it were to continue to operate at the high level it had attained, especially without guarantee of the kind of support Casteen gave it. if genoways hired her, it was a smart choice. if UVA alumni or development office begged her, after she donated to the Young Writers, to come onboard and do fundraising for VQR, it was a smart choice. nobody on the VQR staff, however brilliant dedicated literary they are, even gennoways himself, had the kind of background and talents and natural connections that she had for seekung major gifts and directed donations for the magazine. her travel with genoways made perfect sense..he represented the vision and excellent new direction of the magazine, and she could then follow up on his talk with gentle solicitations for funds. this team approach is how many foundations endowments nonprofits work. you putvthe shaggy Al Gore or the Brokeback Joel Salatin out front to talk about sustainable warming and wearing flannel shirts to save the spotted owl, then you send in the suave and sluck development expert in her/his immaculately tailored suit to say "wow, what a great cause, what a visionary..how about supporting it with a substantial GIVE to keep it moving".
no matter how brilliant the staff, they simply were not trained nor disposed to moderm formulae of fundraising. VQR needed money, and they made a superlative choice in hiring a driven young ambitious echols graduate who knew money and gifts to help get VQR that money. anywhere genoways went...awards ceremonies, conferences, etc., were prime areas for donation Asks.
I'm interested in the questions that Bill far from C'ville posed. Unlike Bill I work at UVa and see the stadium lights from my home, but I am also curious about who supports the current content of VQR and what is the current circulation? I do not know Ted Genoways, but know of him. Years ago I took notice that he was the one who invited Michael Chabon to UVa for a talk that I attended as did many community members. It was exciting to see the changes in VQR,the graphic arts were commendable, but I also enjoyed the black and white previous editions. A complimentary copy is provided where I work, but I also subscribed to support the cause. The VQR awards are always given a nice posting on the UVa website so I have also kept up with those, but I find that the change in content to predominantly war stories to be extreme. Last year I let my subscription lapse as the heavy focus on war is producing dire issue after dire issue. I have gone back to Granta. How many people are actually reading the VQR in the last year?
But how much money did this "attractive, driven, an echols scholar" raise for the magazine, and if any money WAS raised, where did it come from? Did VQR need the money? They seemed to have a pretty strong, permanent budget in place already at UVA.
How many people actually read VQR anyway? How many subscribers are there currently?
As a good friend of the Genoways, who has been in contact with them on an almost daily basis since Kevin's death, I see and know a very different set of facts. Although I want to yell and scream them at the world, it is not my place. Ted is following the request of UVa to stay quiet while the whole incident and all parties involved are being investigated, which seems reasonable considering the circumstances. This, by no means, is an implication of any guilt or wrong doing. UVA has been dragging its feet on making a public statement, which it promised to Ted last week. This foot dragging is no doubt related to the desire to protect the University's image, however, the university seems to be carefully collecting facts, unlike many of the other parties involved in the case. With that being said, I am appalled with UVa for letting the rumor mill and one side of the story drive Ted and his family through this nightmare, instead of setting the record straight.
By saying this, I do not mean to take anything away from the Morrisey family. They have suffered an immense loss, one that I can not begin to understand. And I am truly sorry for their loss.
But, I am also watching my friends live through this nightmare. People have been ruthless toward them on the Internet, most of whom have not had the good fortune to know this wonderful family. It breaks my heart that they are aware of the vicious attacks and slanders that are being aimed at them. They are not hiding, or unwilling to talk to the press, they are just doing as they were asked, they are staying quiet. Ted is currently unable to defend himself, although so many attack.
I did not work in the VQR office, so do not pretend to know all the facts. But, I will say that every story can be turned and twisted by the media, or other parties involved, to present the story they want to present. That does not mean that it is the correct, accurate, or the whole story. From my point of view, half of the story is yet to emerge ... and when allowed it will. I think many of you will feel differently about the hateful, presumptive remarks you have made at that point. Unfortunately, it will be too late to take them back.
Comment as you will, but remember that these are real people involved, with real reputations, real friends and family, and real emotions. The monster that many of you have painted is not the Ted Genoways I know or have ever known. The Ted I know is gentle, kind, soft-spoken, volunteers at school and is admired by many, including me.
No, I'm not a legal expert, which is why I don't publicly claim that other people have committed defamation (or libel or anything else). And if I were to make such claims, and were to go so far as to submit a definition of the offense in question, I would at least make sure to be in a position -- if not publicly, then privately -- to back up those claims. You're not.
nobody wins a lawsuit against the Hook.
if this tragedy results in legal action, it would be from the family of the departed aginst UVA not gennoways, but i don't think they have legal standing to bring one. any other would probably be from gennoways against the family for slander or defamation, but i doubt he would do that even if anything said could be classified under those laws.
gennoways can't defend himself and the intern shouldn't have to. your gripe should be against UVA human resources for not transferring the departed or getting him psychological help or if the bullying alleged was in violation of policy, then correcting gennoways. but if the bullying went on for years and years and HR investigated it and took no action, then it sounds like it wasn't illegal or against policy. Waldo quit, the departed chose to stay and even buy a downtown condo thereby committing to stay even longer in spite of the intolerable alleged bullying.
it would be very wrong to pretend to know the mind and triggers in the life of a lifelong depressive well enough to say that one incident is the only reason the tragedy occurred. someone capable of suicide is capable of it at any time, for almost any reason.
why did he have a gun and when did he
buy it? was he seeking psychiatric help? did UVA offer to transfer him? was he applying for other jobs? did he love the VQR or want by ending his life to end VQRs success and gennoways editorship?
(Reportedly visibly shaken, she was unofficially diagnosed with Ã¢â?¬Å?post-traumatic stress syndrome”)
What does "unofficially diagnosed" even mean? Who diagnosed her? Was he/she qualified to diagnose anyone?
Can I "unofficially diagnose" anyone I want for anything? Maybe Genoway himself has been "unofficially diagnosed" with PTSD after becoming the target of many people's wrath.
strange. almost every member of the football team is unofficially diagnosed witn ptsd after the coach yells at them to move their behinds, and they participate weekly in violent conflicts. but nobody fires a winning coach for bullying. or even a losing one. they fire him for losing.
not a speculation. he loved VQR, not the other thing in the pairing. it's one of them rhetorical devices.
Writes "After": "look, i get that you all want to say gennoways killed the departed . . ." The most prominent person to air the accusation that Ted Genoways killed Kevin Morrissey is Ted Genoways. Well, Ted Genoways and his lawyer. The former cited claims, since denied, by a family member. The latter cited a letter he now admits to never having seen.
As far as I know, no one on the staff at VQR has ever claimed that Ted Genoways caused the death of Kevin Morrissey.
And it seems a little rich to worry that Morrissey is being made to seem "pathetic and helpless and cowardly" after declaring that an employee -- told by the university's Human Resources department that she should take disability leave due to stress related to her office environment -- is nevertheless just like a football player who needs to stop whining.
Sullivan announces "thorough" investigation of VQR operations
I will not enter here into a discussion on the niceties of libel law. I am not a legal expert and, I presume, you are not either. I will just say that in my opinion this article, with its large number of anonymous sources and unsubstantiated claims, shows clear bias on the part of its author, lack of basic journalistic integrity, and, yes, "reckless disregard" for the truth.
Finding meaning in someone's death can make such a difference to those who survive. Thank you, Maria, for making workplace bullying your cause.
In my time working at U.Va., I met Kevin Morrissey and he was very kind to me, and supportive in my job there. This is a tragic and needless loss, and I extend my sincere thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.
Kenarov may have to find a new buyer for his prose.
deleted by moderator
"no matter how brilliant the staff, they simply were not trained nor disposed to moderm formulae of fundraising."
And how exactly do you know this?
"VQR needed money, and they made a superlative choice in hiring a driven young ambitious echols graduate who knew money and gifts to help get VQR that money."
Considering that this woman was hired in Nov. 2009, methinks it is far too early determine what effect if any she had when it came to fundraising.
"but she was attractive, driven, an echols scholar, graduate twice of uva from a legacy family. she understood large fortunes. she loved the university enough to donate to it. she loved writing enough to give one point five millionbto the Young Writers Workshop, not VQR. she understood fundraising, she understood large capital solicitation and donation. she was from a very well connected UVA family who routinely gave to the university. she was extremely bright animated pretty charming socially graceful and adept. all these things made her a PERFECT choice for a fundraiser for a literary venture that needed funds if it were to continue to operate at the high level it had attained, especially without guarantee of the kind of support Casteen gave it."
Question: Are you doing PR for this woman? It sure sounds like it.
You still utterly fail to address the points that: 1. having a major donor as a fundraiser was potentially a HUGE conflict of interest. 2. How her 'understanding large fortunes' much less her LOOKS made her perfect for a position where often a proven track record of experience matters far more than degrees. (BTW, what is your obsession with this woman's apperance. You keep mentioning numerous times and sometimes even in the same post how attractive she is.)
If having 'understanding large fortunes' is all it takes, then surely someone like Paris Hilton would be perfect for that position. Still, for argument's sake, even if someone 'has understanding of large fortunes' that still does not actually SHOW or PROVE that they have a proven track record of fundraising esp. for a literary magazine.
Also, if she was so perfect for this job then it doesn't make much sense that the usual compliance in hiring procedures were not followed. Indeed, wouldn't it have made sense to advertise and interview several other canidates to make the point just how 'perfect' she was for the job?
I am not surprised by this at all. I have witnessed this type of bullying behavior directly and have filed incidents with HR with little attention paid to it. My wife has also experienced this behavior with a foundation associated at UVA - in fact, the executive director of the foundation was on the short-list of possible successors to Casteen.
This problem appears emblematic of a culture at UVA. Far too often have I either witnessed directly or heard indirect accounts by victims of incidents or racism, sexism and bullying that gets swept under the carpet unless the incident becomes public or threatens the institution's bottom line. It is sad, but obvious that UVA still adhere's to the southern good 'ol boy mentality. I am hopeful that with a new female president at the university, old attitudes and practices will start to change, but I am not holding my breathe.
Forgot to add: Having done some fundraising myself, I can honestly say that I have never heard of someone's efforts being labelled a 'success' on the basis of 9 months of employment. Indeed, it often takes several months just to implement a new strategy or campaign. Also, even if say an org does get several large donations shortly after a new person is hired, it does not necessarily mean that the new person had anything to do with it. Correlation does not imply causation. Had we been talking about 18 months, then maybe there would be more evidence to support that but as it stands, there doesn't appear to be any evidence to support the claims that 'after' is putting forth.
anonymous sources tell me that this is, allegedly, one of the worst investigative articles I have read in my life. I have no idea where you learned the trade, but your teachers, if you had any, should be ashamed. Your editors at The Hook should be seriously worried. I am not a lawyer, but I can smell defamation here, i.e. "the statement was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was true or false." http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/comm/free_speech/nytvsullivan.html
I have documented below 31 instances of unattributed sources or questionable material in your so-called investigation. You use the word "source" 25 times and words like "allegedly" and "reportedly" appear throughout. This kind of reporting, as far as I am concerned, is called "by hook or by crook."
freelance journalist, VQR contributing editor
1. Some say there was also a pattern of bullying that may have pushed a fragile man into tragic oblivion.
2. according to a former VQR employee, University officials have known about some of the personnel problems for at least five years.
3. According to sources close to VQR
4. Ã¢â?¬Å?He also did this once to Jahan Ramazani, chair of the English Department, who had dropped by to tell Genoways that the English Department would not grant the tenure-track position he wanted,” says a source who allegedly heard the argument. Ã¢â?¬Å?The door was closed,” says the source, Ã¢â?¬Å?and he was roaring.”
5. Ã¢â?¬Å?We were overwhelmed by expenses,” says a former employee. Ã¢â?¬Å?Ted was hired, I think, because Casteen wanted someone who could better promote the magazine and make it more prominent. But it was costing a small fortune.”
6. sources indicate that subscriptions have fallen precipitously since the website was updated
7. According to a former VQR employee, the previous editor, Staige Blackford, typically limited compensation to just $10-$15 a page, no matter what the writer’s status, with travel expenses not covered, and advances unheard of.
8. Ã¢â?¬Å?We never lacked in the number of manuscripts we received,” says the former employee. Ã¢â?¬Å?People were submitting to Staige because they wanted to be in the magazine.
9. In one of the most unusual aspects of Genoways’s management, he reportedly asked his staffers
10. he allegedly explained
11. the scheme appears to have eventually played a role in Morrissey’s fateful decision
12. says a source, who points out that her title as assistant editor and development manager soon appeared on the magazine’s masthead. Ã¢â?¬Å?Genoways told the staff she was going to be an intern, but she had business cards and was traveling on VQR dime.”
13. Ã¢â?¬Å?Her desk was in his office, and they would often be in there with the door closed,” says the source. Ã¢â?¬Å?They would discuss VQR business without involving Kevin.”
14. Although the source asserts no evidence suggesting any improper behavior between Genoways and Levinson-LaBrosse, the source claims that office morale sank when Levinson-LaBrosse became the only staffer in regular contact with Genoways.
15. Ã¢â?¬Å?Her desk was in his office, and they would often be in there with the door closed,” says the source. Ã¢â?¬Å?They would discuss VQR business without involving Kevin.”
16. Another source claims the hiring of Levinson-LaBrosse occurred without the usual staff input. More seriously, says the source, it occurred without the usual advertisement and competition to ensure compliance with equal-opportunity law.
17. However, according to various sources, Genoways had ample reasons to bring in a person with access to capital.
18. According to sources close to former editor Blackford, during his 28-year tenure, he had simply banked what he didn’t spend each year, creating a pool of money that stood, when he announced his retirement seven years ago, at approximately $800,000.
19. sources say that he embarked on frequent communications with officials in UVA’s human resources
20. Sources say the entire staff of VQR, minus Genoways, pleaded with officials at a meeting held in the president’s office for assistance over their work environment. A source close to VQR says that an HR official told them that VQR Ã¢â?¬Å?had always been handled differently because it’s the president’s baby.”
21. A source says Jaquith asked Genoways to explain why he instituted the week-long ban
22. That same Monday, sources say that Genoways was called to the President’s office,
23. who allegedly ordered her out of the office
24. one staff member allegedly informed an HR official that staff Ã¢â?¬Å?feared that Kevin was suicidal.”
25. according to someone close to Morrissey, during a lunch with an official from the president’s office on the Tuesday before he died, the exiled managing editor broke down and cried
26. According to another source, UVA’s Director of faculty and staff employee relations, Alan Cohn, told a staff member that he realized the situation called for Ã¢â?¬Å?immediate intervention,” but added that, Ã¢â?¬Å?it may take some time.”
27. On Wednesday, July 28, two days before Morrissey’s suicide, sources say
28. Sources say the staff, convinced that something was finally going to be done, expressed relief.
29. The email to associate editor Molly Minturn, sources say, so upset her that she took it directly to the president’s office and HR.
30. Reportedly visibly shaken, she was unofficially diagnosed with Ã¢â?¬Å?post-traumatic stress syndrome”
31. The email sent to Morrissey may have been upsetting as well.
I agree. The VQR situation is tragic, complex, and extremely serious, if not criminal - it might signal the end of the magazine all together. This forum has so far raised very pertinent questions that need an answer, for all our sake.
Your list is not the same as an argument. What does any of this have to do with whether such statements were "made with knowledge of [their] falsity or with reckless disregard"?
First, you'd have to argue that they weren't, in fact, true, which you haven't, and since you have never worked in the office, you're not in a position to do.
Second, you'd have to show that the Hook had reason to believe they're not true, which you haven't.
Tell it to Nicole Brown Simpson.
english is tricky jack. focus on the 'or'. suggests an opposition between two alternatives. did he A or did he B. he did A, loved the VQR. therefore he did not do B.
that was what i intended, but i may not be a good editor. the departed was, and he loved VQR.
nice shakespeare paraphrase in Sullivan's statement. did she intend it or remember what surrounds it? it's an incitement to dagger-work, recall. if she meant it, deposing gennoways seems lex talionis a decision already taken.
cat in the adage, dagger before me, dare not wait upon i will, tis best were done quickly?
sorry, i assumed it jumped out at the reader.
@Anissa--A "hear, hear" to what Zero Degree has written. Ted Genoway's frightful management style does not reflect on his family. And, of course, no one here has insinuated that.
@Maria--I am thankful that you are pursuing this. Workplace bullying has affected me as well, and I'm just so pleased that you're giving this issue voice. And I'm so sorry for your loss--I've heard such wonderful things about your brother.
Maybe the university's HR department was unresponsive to Morrissey and other VQR staffers because HR was already assisting Genoways with his efforts to displace Morrissey. Commenters on other coverage of this story speculate that HR may have helped Genoways to draft his hectoring emails in an attempt to create documentation of Morrissey's "failure" to perform his duties--documentation that could then be used to justify disciplinary action and ultimately Morrissey's dismissal. This seems like a plausible thesis to me, and if Genoways was being coached by someone in HR or by a person outside of the university--a peer or professional advisor of some kind--then the role of that third party should also be examined. Genoways is responsible for acting on whatever advice he may have received, but those who encouraged or abetted his bullying should also be held accountable.
Although you are all attacking Ted, and not the whole Genoways family, it is naive to believe that the ramifications are not felt by the whole family.
I also think it is far to simplistic to believe that Ted is a horrible, frightful manager at work, and yet a great dad and husband at home. In my experience, people who are jerks at work are jerks at home. People who are great to work with are also great outside of work. It seems difficult to me that Ted could pull off a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde so effectively. And everything I know about Ted, is counter to what you are all accusing him of.
Also, I disagree, that his behavior would not reflect upon his family. The behavior that you are accusing Ted of using at work, would also reflect upon his family. Because I know his family. He and his wife are a team. The successes and failures of one is felt equally as hard by the other.
Steig, you're behind the times. Updated circulation numbers are 2400 subscribers to the VQR...
That the editor of a 'top-tier' literary journal is a jerk??? Do zebras have stripes? Does Amy Winehouse get drunk? It goes with the territory...one glance at their circulation numbers, VQR's: 7000, and the emperor is no longer wearing any clothes. And one has to wear some clothes, beautiful ones, to get any work done.
The idea that the 'masses' are going to pay any attention to this story? LMFAO.
That aside, this is the best literary gossip since the David Olen Butler vs. Elizabeth Dewberry event at FSU. Nice research & writing, good job.
That may be right, but that would paint Genoways even more like a shark. I'm sure he will squeeze the very last penny out of UVA in case he is found culpable on multiple counts. Considering he renewed his 5-year contract earlier this year prematurely under Casteen's
reign, UVA would have to buy him out. I'm sure they are very reluctant to do so. It will be cheaper to apply some cosmetic changes, and replace the entire staff.
Without commenting on the VQR situation, how does one define "workplace bullying" and how does one differentiate this from a demanding boss? Virtually anyone at the top of a successful organization will be very driven, perhaps even domineering. But it seems very diffcult to say when the one stops and the other begins. The Workplace Bullying Institute offers no definition. They have a research section and their "seminal" article (their description) describes "mobbing" behavior, which is multiple employees ganging up on one employee. This is not what is described in the Hook article. It takes some searching of her website, but Valerie Cade (the bullying expert described in the follow-up article) defines bullying as "repeated, deliberate, disrespectful behavior toward another." This strikes me as a very ambiguous definition, as it might characterize a great many workplace interactions (perhaps unfortunately, but I am not sure all would qualify as "bullying"). Again, I do not wish to dismiss what happened at VQR, nor minimize the importance of the problem generally, but I notice that in all these discussions there seems to be no description of what constitutes bullying, a pretty important omission.
workplace bullying is most often:
Ã¢â?¬Å?repeated, health-harming mistreatment, verbal abuse, or conduct which is threatening, humiliating, intimidating, or sabotage that interferes with work or some combination of the three.”
Gary and Ruth Namie
Ã¢â?¬Å?persistent verbal and nonverbal aggression at work, that includes personal attacks, social ostracism, and a multitude of other painful messages and hostile interactions.”
Ã¢â?¬Å?systematic aggressive communication, manipulation of work, and acts aimed at humiliating or degrading one or more individual that create an unhealthy and unprofessional power imbalance between bully and target(s), result in psychological consequences for targets and co-workers, and cost enormous monetary damage to an organization’s bottom line.”
Catherine Mattice and Karen Garman
Because it can occur in a variety of contexts and forms, it is also useful to define workplace bullying by the key features that these behaviours possess. Bullying is characterized by (Einarsen, 1999; Keashly & Harvey 2004; Lutgen-Sandvik, 2006):
* Repetition (occurs regularly)
* Duration (is enduring)
* Escalation (increasing aggression)
* Power disparity (the target lacks the power to successfully defend themself).
* Attributed intent
the following are the most common tactics used by workplace bullies.
• Falsely accused someone of Ã¢â?¬Å?errors” not actually made
• Discounted the person’s thoughts or feelings in meetings
• Made up own rules on the fly that even she/he did not follow
• Disregarded satisfactory or exemplary quality of completed work despite evidence
• Harshly and constantly criticized having a different standard for the target
• Started, or failed to stop, destructive rumors or gossip about the person
• Singled out and isolated one person from coworkers, either socially or physically
• Declared target Ã¢â?¬Å?insubordinate” for failing to follow arbitrary commands
Walk in Kevin's shoes.
@truthwillhappen writes, "How does UVA justify the fact that Genoways is still the editor at VQR who is actively exerting control over the content of the upcoming issue? What are they thinking? The remaining staff were let to believe they are the ones to finish the latest issue, not Genoways. ... The appropriate action is to put Genoways on leave pending the investigation."
That did look like where the university was heading at first. To the average outside observer I imagine that seemed like a fair call. What changed?
I suspect it has to do with legal issues. When Lloyd Snook was first publicly identified as Ted Genoways' counsel last week, he told a C-Ville reporter that "Genoways has retained him for advice on his interactions with the university, including matters concerning his employment contract." We know from the latest HOOK piece that Kevin Morrissey never filed a formal complaint with the University. I assume, then (pace Anissa above), that even if the University believed that Ted Genoways was guilty of mismanagement, they would have no legally defensible grounds for termination prior to a full investigation. And I suspect they have no *legally* defensible grounds, under the circumstances, even for placing Genoways on temporary leave or withdrawing control of VQR from him.
I do not think it odd that Genoways did not attend the funeral. If someone's family blamed me for that person's death, I would not attend the funeral because I would want to spare them being angry and upset at my presence.
Zombie hands: what sexist rubbish. Perhaps Genoways's wife is a strong woman who has confidence in her marriage.
Director of Workplace Bullying: your tone is sounding a bit bullyish itself, another undercut of your otherwise important message. You may want to turn it over to someone underneath you, lest you be seen as narcissistic.
A terrific forum for engaged thought is dying and there's thin blood in the water. Sigh.
One supposes that there is more to talk about toward building a 'caring community', aye?
One hopes that there is great attendance, participation, and very probing questions! Will the media be attending?
From: Teresa A. Sullivan, President [[email protected]]
Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 8:44 PM
Subject: President Sullivan invites you to a Day of Dialogue
To members of the University community:
After the news of Yeardley Love's death reached me in Ann Arbor last May, I
began to think ahead to joining the University of Virginia community and
about what we as a community could learn from this horrific event and how we
might begin to identify the characteristics of a caring community, one whose
members recognize their mutual responsibility for each other.
With the start of the new academic year, it is important to continue the
conversation that began in the wake of Yeardley's death. It is my hope that
a full day of open and vigorous discussion about violence, violence
prevention, and best practices for campus safety will bring us together in
new ways so that each of us can feel safe to participate fully in the life
of the University.
To that end, a Day of Dialogue has been scheduled for Friday, Sept. 24.
There will be several plenary sessions with keynote speakers as well as a
number of thought-provoking concurrent sessions.
Our goal is to develop interdisciplinary relationships that will serve as
the foundation for the caring community we seek to create.
I encourage all members of our community -- students, staff and faculty --
to mark your calendars and plan to join me for what should be
Teresa A. Sullivan
Note: Detailed information on the Day of Dialogue will be sent out in early
sle August 21st, 2010 | 5:55 pm
I have no interest in answering that question. My only point is that Mr. Jaquith is in fact underpaid when one considers his real market value.
It seems a shame that you are only concerned with promotion of Mr Jaquith's - who seems very apt to promote himself - and not concerned with other employees who are poorly paid, and abused in the workplace?
Are you able to quote any moral references or foundations for that attitude?
The continuation article at
quotes a University Equal Opportunity official saying:
Ombudsman Holland asserts that most bullied UVA employees decline his offers to intervene or to contact the bully, for fear of jeopardizing jobs in a town that lacks other major employers. In academia especially, adds Holland, recommendations from superiors are crucial to advancement.
Ã¢â?¬Å?I spend a lot of time with bullying victims,” says Holland, Ã¢â?¬Å?trying to assess their mental strength, because it’s tough to help someone who is immersed in this if they’re not prepared to deal with it.”
Holland says he’s seen bullying victims experience severe exhaustionÃ¢â?¬â? even physical illness.
Ã¢â?¬Å?It really destroys you, really beats you down,” says Holland
I am aware that this same Mr Holland - during an interview with an employee who was presenting informal complaint of unlawful discrimination - spoke disrespectfully to the employee, appearing to attempt to dissuade the employee from pursuing a formal complaint. I was in the room, so I am witness.
So, yes, indeed, if even the office responsible for hearing complaints shows disrespect for employees' concerns, something is deeply wrong, requiring broad review of the entire structure of employee relations, employee development, and employee support at the University!
I was employed for some time at a school UVA's new president oversaw, and I can say that she generally was a straight shooter in terms of fact-finding and investigations. Being an administrator, she never told the whole truth, but what she did share was truthful as far as we employees could see. In a case like this, it will be important to investigate not just Genoways' side, but what those who reported to him saw -- no doubt very different things, whether he was a bully or not. Sullivan also has had some experience directly and indirectly overseeing publications of different kinds, so she would maybe be more informed than the average college president, when she's try to make sense of the VQR's situation. I'm keeping good thoughts for the remaining VQR staffers, who presumably need their jobs, Genoways or no Genoways.
I've worked on a literary magazine staff and I've worked for state-funded institutions. Mr. Genoways' self-publishing, partly courtesy of this state's taxpayers, is outrageous, and the publication of Mr. Casteen IV is blatant sucking-up to the former President. It looks like there was a quid pro quo thing going on between Pres. Casteen and Mr. Genoways, and this is probably why the President's Office, HR, and the Ombudsman did not act to resolve Mr. Morrissey's and other VQR staffers' complaints. It's likely that the people charged with resolving HR matters felt intimidated, directly or indirectly, into avoiding the complaints made about Mr. Genoways.
I am interested that Mr. Morrissey was reading a book about how to cope with a person who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It sounds likely that Mr. Genoways' motivation and behavior were rooted in a desire for personal glorification at the expense of anyone who came his way.
As others have said, Mr. Genoways' fitness as a friend, neighbor, and family man really has nothing to do with this issue. It is his behavior on the job that is gravely concerning to me, as a Virginia taxpayer.
As for the young woman hired to be a fund-raiser: I spent 20 years as a professional in philanthropy and I never saw a high-level donor hired to work as a fund-raiser. Asked to volunteer as a fund-raiser, yes. Hired, no. And certainly such a young and inexperienced donor would not be added to a professional development staff except in an entry-level (administrative assistant) position.
UVa, you've got a lot of explaining to do.
Here are some interesting tidbits from the UVA website:
Ted Genoways' original appointment was effective July 1, 2003 for five years (May 30-31, 2003 Board meeting).
He was reappointed effective July 1, 2008 for five years (June 13, 2008 Board meeting).
And, he was reappointed again effective January 1, 2010 for five years (February 25-26, 2010 Board meeting).
That means he was reappointed 3 1/2 years ahead of schedule if I'm reading correctly. That merits a question or two.
Anissa. The swingset is a great idea. None of us knows what dynamics were truly at play inside VQR. But you're not alone in asking for some balance and deep breathing. I'll join you. It's obvious you love your friends. But this is a shouting match, not a civil or caring discourse. Let the blog bullies have their forum and egos to spend. As this string shows: who DOESN'T, as Brendan says, "have an argument to make." We all do. Let him stew over his dictionary and his allegiances and whatever he encountered while writing for VQR. Let the Director of Bullying wave his flag and fundraise for his own cause. Let Snook defend Genoways.
Kevin is gone. He was loved. It seems all this vitriol and insinuation from us outsiders can only cause more pain to the principles involved. I hope you'll privately take care of your friends and Brendan will do the same for his own on the VQR staff.
And in the meantime, the family and friends of Kevin (and VQR) may mourn in private.
Regarding Genoway's own book of poetry appearing in the "VQR series", published by UGa. A spokesperson for UGa press is reportedly quoted as saying (this is easily findable on the web)"if the Series Editor (i.e.Genoways) chooses to include his own work in the Series, publication of such work shall be contingent upon the satisfactory peer review of the complete manuscript and final approval of the work by the Editorial Board of the University of Georgia Press." Now while I am more (or less, given what I know about some poetry publication) wiling to credit that as a real effort to do the right thing, what poet of merit would do this (different from pure self-publishing) AND push Casteen Jr? But who cares- the Falstaff/Hal aspect of this tragedy
Genoways is a desperate (former?) editor in a rapidly-changing (disappearing?) profession, and he wrote about this quite clearly here:
In light of all that's happened, it's bizarre that today (Friday) he's advising folks about writing and publishing careers at Breadloaf Writers Conference. (Last hurrah?)
Wow, I think you should listen to your good friend Anissa: be thoughtful, not reactionary.
Look what President John Casteen left behind for Theresa Sullivan to clean up: a workplace suicide, two murdered girls, and a dead frat boy. In ONE year.
Lady, get out while you can. Everybody will understand. It's going to be too much trouble changing all the various negative cultures / hegemonies in existence here....
@? - did you READ the article???
I work at a Higher Education Institution, and was bullied for several years by someone like Ted. The similarities between Kevin's story and mine own are many. The University of Virginia will go to great lengths to hide all their mistakes in this situation. It won't work this time. The bully will go to great lengths to deny he has any responsibility what-so-ever. It won't work this time.
The bullies' contribution to Kevin's death and the Universities' contributions to Kevin's death will come out in the open no matter how hard they try to suppress it. To the other staff members who worked with Kevin: Come forward - tell the truth no matter who is telling you to be quiet. Only good can come to you for speaking the truth.
After this, any institution of Higher Education, or any employer for that matter, will have no excuse. The days of meaningless seminars, speeches, and books are over.
Gary Namie, Maria Morrissey, and other comments here are so powerful - so truthful - so eloquently written. Keep up the momentum - workplace bullying does exist, people do get depressed because of it, and people do sometimes feel there is no way out because the employer protects the bully.
The University of Virginia does not want this ugly truth to come out Ã¢â?¬â?? but it will. In Kevin’s name, we need to keep fighting for laws to protect good-hearted, hard-working employees who just want to do their job and live a good life.
From the article: "Ã¢â?¬Å?Alana just showed up at the office one morning last November,” says a source, who points out that her title as assistant editor and development manager soon appeared on the magazine’s masthead."
The April 20th interview in that other Charlottesville weekly [http://tinyurl.com/3xx6ab8] makes it sound like the hire of Levinson-LaBrosse wasn't complete.
"Ã¢â?¬Å?When I took over, there were three staff membersÃ¢â?¬â?including the editorial position,” says Genoways. Ã¢â?¬Å?There are now five staff members, and we’re in the process of adding a sixth, and so the number of things that we can take on are growing.”
Or is this sixth person someone else?
Good for Waldo for keeping a gentlemanly silence to the extent feasible, but for a rebuke of Mr. Snook's factual error above. I'd like to see Waldo appointed Editor Chief of VQR, which at this point may be the only thing that might save it. Thanks also to Jefferson Scholar above for his interesting read of Genoway;s gaming the system to get himself reappointed for five years, 3 1/2 years ahead of schedule, once he learned there was a new President coming in. And at an obscene $170,000 salary. The problem seems to be ironically, a complete absence of intelligent management in the President's office, a power vacuum which a self-serving Genoway manipulated to his benefit.
Writes Jack M: "Why wouldn't Morrissey be at a meeting to discuss the future of the VQR under the VP for Research?"
It's my understanding that the VQR staff wondered this as well. As Dave McNair's correction above suggests, Waldo Jaquith asked that question and, in the process, apparently offended Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse. What followed this meeting, I think, is an excellent example of workplace bullying:
On July 19, Ted Genoways e-mailed Kevin Morrissey informing him that he had been accused of "unacceptable workplace behavior." He then told Morrissey he could not come in to work; if he was at work, he must leave; he could not attend several already-scheduled meetings; he could not communicate with staff; he could not do any work unless expressly assigned by Genoways; and from home he must work normal business hours. (When Morrissey informed Genoways, by e-mail, that for technological reasons he was not able to do from home the work assigned to him, he received no response.)
Genoways did not explain what "unacceptable workplace behavior" Morrissey was accused of. Instead, Genoways, who was out of the office for the week, told Morrissey he would investigate and then meet with Morrissey the following Monday. To my knowledge, during that time Genoways did not interview Morrissey, Molly Minturn, Sheila McMillen, or Waldo Jaquith in order to investigate the truth of the allegation. To my knowledge, he did not inform his supervisors in the president's office that he had taken action against Morrissey. To my knowledge he did not inform Human Resources either. He did not inform other staff members. Finally, Genoways told Morrissey that if he failed to comply with his instructions he would face disciplinary action.
Apparently Genoways meant disciplinary action above and beyond being sent home for a week without explanation.
To my knowledge, at a meeting with Genoways on Monday, July 26, with a representative of the president's office present, Morrissey still was not told why he had been sent home. There was no evidence that any investigation had occurred. During the last week of his life, Morrissey sent Genoways at least one e-mail with several questions he needed answered in order to complete his regular duties; there was no reply. Then on Friday, July 30, Morrissey received an e-mail from Genoways telling him that his actions had possibly endangered the life of a Mexican journalist.
This was all in the Hook's story, more or less. And it is no attack on Genoways personally to call this unacceptable management, even bullying. Nor is it to claim that Genoways is to blame for Morrissey's death. It is merely to state, as I understand them, the facts of those two weeks -- mostly absent what I think was a slow and sometimes almost shameful reaction by the university. And it's hardly a one-time incident; rather, this was part of a pattern, a record of which should exist at the university dating back at least three years.
Why wouldn't Morrissey be at a meeting to discuss the future of the VQR under the VP for Research?
What are some examples of the workplace bullying that went on here?
What are you talking about? You suggested that Mr. Jaquith was overpaid. I simply was stating that you don't know what you are talking about. Why would I feel obligated to engage in a larger discussion of UVA's salary practices?
"Firing him in the face of a five year contract, renewed months ago, and 3 1/2 years early? Oh, Genoways knew how to insulate himself."
Not the same as tenure. With VWR running full throttle towards a concrete wall of financial reality and the whims of a new president, the length of the early-extended contract doesn't mean much. UVa is going to shed all sorts of these units (many with with acronyms). They've already started.
Perhaps that explains the upset with the English department's negative decision.
Just read through the comments on an excellent piece of reporting. I can't understand why Tennysonian poster "after many a summer" makes such repugnant posts or places such a high value on credentials. A decent percentage of the smartest and most capable people now in their fifties--think Bill Gates--dropped out of college in the early seventies. I have no doubt that the managing editor of VQR was just as responsible for its burst of success as the editor.
The old VQR had its ups and downs, but was a professional, solid literary quarterly. AMAS's assertion that it was a xerox and staples 'zine just exposes undoubtedly his own credential: an MFA in "Creative" Writing. To prove my point, check out the VQR's current brag page about its rich heritage: http://www.vqronline.org/vault/
Can not you read. The original note made not comment about whether or not Mr Jaquith is overpaid. It comments on structural pay inequities. One example of that, is that women employees of the University make importantly less than men while doing the same work. Another example, gay and lesbian employees are paid less, promoted less, suffer many forms of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and on additive to that, gay and lesbian employees do not receive the same benefits as other employees. These are issues of structural pay inequity. They are not ad hominem (or, 'about one person').
els August 21st, 2010 | 5:34 pm
Dear sle, august 21 5:11PM
My point remains, which you did not attempt to answer. The point was not ad hominem against, or for, Mr Jaquith; it is, rather, a UVA HR structural question:
b. Waldo Jaquith makes Seventy thousand dollars!? ”Š many high-performing, professional people working at the University for decades don’t come close to that salary ”Š even with advanced degrees, and exemplary records of service to the University and to the community. So, what’s up with salary equity at UVA?!
Maybe it's time to take a deep breath and recap where we are in the comments on the story. Several things appear to be clear at this point
1) the staff, and that appears to be all the staff, other than the 24yr old new hire, were unhappy with Genoway's management of VQR
2) the financial situation of the magazine had changed for the worse
3)Genoway was looking out for his own interests by publishing his own work and that of the son of his most important supporter, John Casteen IV. Although the work was probably acceptable it was ill advised to take such an action.
4)Morrissey was in an extremely precarious position if he were to file a complaint from several angles: financial, psycological and for future employment
5) the arrangement with President Casteen's office and VQR was unusual and is a factor in the sad outcome transpiring at VQR not just for Morrissey but for the very talented staff working there.
6) there may be legal issues and contracts preventing the university from removing Genoway at this time. If the public and national outrage increases UVA may decide it is better to remove him now and pay the price of a lawsuit.
7) The new president has her hands full with a PR crisis not of her making, but by which she will be judged.
8) The bullying expert, hired at UVA, had inside knowledge of the troubles at VQR and believes Genoway is a bully, but that there were no procedures that allowed UVA to remove him.
9)The fact that the president's office was so intimately connected with VQR may have caused #8 to be true.
10) Morrissey did attempt more than many people would have to address the problems at VQR short of an official complaint, that, even the Ombudsman says very few file for fear of future employment problems.
11)UVA's current system of addressing these problems is woefully inadequate and has caused the loss of valuable resources both personel and financial at the University, and until resolved will tarnish it's reputation nationwide.
12) VQR is a work of true genius; it was the vision of one man and the work of a creative, brilliant staff that made this possible.
13) Was the price worth cost ?
That little exclamation point in you quote suggests clearly you perceive Mr. Jaquith to be overpaid, regardless of whether you are willing to admit it.
Well, women employees who are IT professionals also make big bucks at UVa.
so, you have special perceptual powers regarding punctuation marks?
Your point is absurd - since I've explained the meaning several times - and your point amoral regarding the circumstances of others ... when my question clearly asked a question about morality in the institution.
... and that unjust amorality in the institution is a big part of this story.
Is it true what Waldo Jaquith posted late last night? Is Ted Genoways still -- or again -- in charge of the Virginia Quarterly Review, in the middle of this tragic mess he seems to have helped create? Are his supervisors at the university so arrogant, or clueless, or dumb, or fettered by their own bureaucratic chains that they have not yet placed him on some kind of leave, at the very least? Or, even worse, have they reinstated him to oversee the magazine and its staff, while they are conducting an investigation into allegations of numerous serious transgressions by Mr. Genoways himself, into his purported violations of university rules and regulations, and into suspicions of collusion by the former university president's office? If this is indeed true, have the people responsible for such boneheaded fortress mentality completely lost their faculty of judgment? Do they believe they can make the scandal -- more and more a scandal of national dimensions and implications -- go away by circling their wagons?
I find this a highly problematic situation. How can they investigate him while he is still in charge ? I heard yesterday that a professional bullying expert has been advising UVA for months now, but I don't know if she was looking into the VQR situation. I can't understand why she would not advise the University to place him on leave while they investigate ? This was on Waldo's blog
# 14 Waldo Jaquith Aug 20th, 2010 at 11:31 pm
FWIW, Ted Genoways is still the editor of VQR, which means he’s still in charge of our work on the issue, and is telling us what to do.
I never could have forecast that the university would allow us to remain in this situation. Hence, Wednesday is my last day, finished issue or no.
@yes and @ ahem (who are almost certainly the same person):
Why the cheap, irrelevant, and (despite an apparent attempt) extremely un-witty attack on Waldo? Did he run over your cat or something?
PS the fee Genoways paid for the Afghanistan piece was cheap by national standards. If UVA doesn't want to have a national level magazine, they can go back to paying what Staige Blackford quite reasonably did when VQR was a well-respected but not untypical academic journal
Dignified silence by Jaquith. What a joke!!! He's been manipulating this story from day one. No need to let the University, the family, or the press figure out what really happened. Waldo can just tell them all what the "facts" are. Give me a break.
I am a long-term UVa employee, and as a low-level manager (the very lowest level), I've sat through mandatory harassment training sessions with Mr. Cohn (who impressed me).
I'm just kind of stunned...clearly there is far more monkey-business going on at UVa than I imagined possible. I realize that the world does not operate on the kind of squeaky clean meritocratic and formalized set of ideals that a state institution of higher education purports to embody and promote in the world, but wow. If the picture described here is in fact true, it certainly exceeds the worst I'd imagine of any kind of outfit, anywhere. It's inconceivable to me. I can only see this kind of thing developing because the VQR was so small-potatoes for so many years that it remained under the radar within the broader university.
I work in a more objective (and therefore slightly less vulnerable to subjective politics) field, and I realize that the world of "literature" is less concrete. Still, in my mid-forties, mid-career, I'm left feeling like a naive twenty-something (rather unlike an "intern" who makes seven-figure donations) and a bit demoralized. Is it really any wonder there are openings for partisan witch-hunts like the current investigation of Michael Mann's tenure at UVa by the AG?
Clearly, some of us are clearly sweating bullets over what is, by orders of magnitude, insignificant minutiae.
The level of speculation on here in the comments is just over the top. I'm stunned to see Snook, Maria Morrissey and others commenting on this. Thanks to Hawes and McNair for this great article. I hope some of these emails are ultimately brought to light - some clear-cut factual information comes out.
Yes is right: not the same.
Bystander is right too: my comments were out of line and mean, except to point out that folks are naive if they don't think Waldo, as a staff member who contributed to the office atmosphere, has a vested interest in this. It's fair to question what--if anything--he added to the contentious mix at VQR.
@yes and @ ahem (who are almost certainly the same person):
Brilliant deduction. Wrong, but brilliant.
I merely pointed out that Waldo was obviously unqualified to be editor-in-chief of the VQR, despite the provincial good intentions of "kudos to Waldo."
Has anyone else in this town both a) worked in the NY magazine world and b) found Ted Genoways' management style completely unremarkable for a successful, Type A editor? I did find a few -- very few -- nice guys in NY media. They never won any prizes. The more creative and cutting-edge my job was, the more my bosses would be emotionally dysfunctional, abusive, and nepotism-prone. I became seriously ill after working in one of those environments, and I know the stress was a factor but truly, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I had a very rewarding time, even as I demanded an in-house mediator to stop the misogyny, tantrums, and intrigue.
And I bet Kevin for the most part loved his job, too. Maybe the internal conflicts (should I stay or should I go?) became untenable for him; I feel very sympathetic about that. But I betcha this was his special emotional "dance" with Ted, and that his suicide was a crazy, self-destructive trump card in an escalating guilt trip/power battle. He could have quit any time. So could I have done. I chose to stay in the game because it was exciting. I know I'll be pilloried for this post: how "un-nice" in the town where everyone is nice to each others' faces and takes out their aggression in malicious gossip. Or in this case, piling on a very talented & screwed up editor, Genoways.
After aking all you Cville hypocrites to please step aside, can any other editor/writer out there relate?
What seems clear to me is that there has been a pattern here -- and it's mostly about the office space. Mr. Genoways harrassed Ms. Pugh out of the office she occupied so that he could install Mr. Morrissey.
Now he was trying to do the same thing to Morrissey so he could install Ms. Levinson.
@ former ny editor:
thank you for taking the time to explain to those of us in the hinterlands that we are hypocrites, whereas you are not.
frankly, i don't think holding up the machinations of "the new york magazine world" as a gold standard earns you much traction for courageous non-hypocrisy; nor does your ratification of the "nice guys finish last" credo. in my experience (20+ years as an editor), a significant majority of *truly* gifted authors and publishing people behave like plausible human beings, while the tyrannical, self-aggrandizing jerks have a very strong tendency toward mediocrity. i don't see any logical reason why being "creative" should provide anybody with a get-of-jail-free card when it comes to common decency. those who are impressed by and cater to polecats are pawns and enablers, pure and simple.
"Seriously" at least made me laugh: "The literary community of highly published creative writers is much smaller than you know (or cared to find out) and they all know one another from conferences, magazines, readings, residencies and graduate programs. Many even live in this area because UVA HAS one of the top graduate programs in the country. [Therefore] Your conspiracy/nepotism theories are ignorant and assinine . . . ."
Could somebody post the time/date details for The Today Show, please?
Here's the link to WaPo
I have no interest in answering that question. My only point is that Mr. Jaquith is in fact underpaid when one considers his real market value.
@$$$$ Thanks for the link to Genoways' "manifesto":
Genoways says in that piece: "If excellence is no insurance, history no buffer, then our security lasts only as long as our current president."
It is sad to see the commentary here turn into a Morrissey vs Genoways ....
It appears that not only was Morrissey "uncredentialed," but that Genoways himself did not have tenure in a department. (unverified. does anyone know for sure?)
Without the usual academic safety gear, VQR was flying into a mountain wall, and everyone could see it coming. There were two ways to survive: first, an endowment; second, they could also survive by scaling back their pretensions, but without the glitz and glitter of photo-spreads and the like, the award-winning aspects of print journalism that validated their "excellence," they were destined to join the accumulating ranks of the failed print journals/magazines. Needless to say, everyone was a little tense.
VQR is a microcosm of the crumbling United States' economy. Print as a medium for art, including fiction, and commentary seems doomed unless someone can re-imagine how to fill the same needs that Genoways and, certainly, the rest of the staff could clearly see. The automobile drove blacksmiths pretty much out of business in very much the same way.... Surely they all knew that.
I'm tempted to go on and write about Genoways' "Death of Fiction" at Mother Jones and Theroux' "Minor Watt" in a recent issue of VQR ...
I guess that also makes the VQR an ant compared The Hook, with its 19K copies and 45K readers per issue (and something like 50 issues a year).
More importantly, the VQR bleeds other people's money, including the taxpayers'.
There are so many eye-popping bits of info in this valuable article. (btw, reading this side-by-side with the Chronicle of Higher Education article - found at http://chronicle.com/article/What-Killed-Kevin-Morrissey-/123902/ - is worthwhile.
In no particular order of eye-popping:
a. it is astounding that an attorney involved in this situation would make any comment without the client's permission; and in a blog?!~ (triple eye-eye-eye-popping!)
b. Waldo Jaquith makes Seventy thousand dollars!? ... many high-performing, professional people working at the University for decades don't come close to that salary ... even with advanced degrees, and exemplary records of service to the University and to the community. So, what's up with salary equity at UVA?!
c. rich young person - whose Daddy promised a boatload of money to President Casteen's fundraising apparatus - without significant work experience or other professional contributions, makes a big donation from funds she did not earn, and gets put on the Board of the Curry School's foundation ! : that sounds crassly motivated, undemocratic, unsettling, and in very bad taste by the Curry School; AND THEN rich young person gets a 'job' through means outside the accepted processes for University Human Resources? AND THEN rich young person WHAT THE HECK is going on with UVA HR?! AND THEN rich young person treats co-workers disrespectfully and perhaps abusively? WHAT THE DEEP DARK HECK?!~ ... Paris Hilton meets Thomas Jefferson, I guess! One supposes that a 'Rock Star' faculty like Genoways needed another 'Diva' by his side? for trips? lavish spending? Was Virginia Tax Payers money subsidizing the Rock Star and the Diva? VERY DEFINITELY the Taxpayers of Virginia want to know that? That audit had best be released to the public and the media for scrutiny!
d. key persons in the 'story', didn't attend the memorial services for the deceased? : no John Casteen? no Ted Genoways? it makes no difference that Genoways was implicated in some bad behavior (which he denies). It is simply disrespectful not to attend, or to send spouse/partner, or other surrogate, with apologies that he (Genoways) was unable to attend. What has happened to basic human feelings, with these 'Rock Star' faculty?
e. UVA PAYS OFF PEOPLE NOT TO TALK OR NOT TO SUE?! WOW! is that a sign of a corrupt regime, or is not not? AND WITH TAXPAYERS MONEY?!!!!!!!!!
f. in the CHR article, someone has blogged about the UVA 'Plantation'. Those of us participating in the community-wide Dialogue on Race heard the word 'plantation' many times in reference to UVA, during our dialogue! This story certainly brings out many aspects of inhumane, disgraceful, undemocratic behavior at the University, apparently condoned, or let to continue, by UVA Human Resources, by the Office of the President, ... by the Board of Visitors!? Is the Board of Visitors - appointed by the Governor - involved in this bad behavior?
etc etc etc
Waldo is an IT professional. 70k is not his salary...it is his salary and fringe. If you think he is overpaid you know nothing about the market for IT professionals.
(Speaking as the former Grammar Guerrilla)
Is it just me, or does it seem to others like the plural for "Genoways" should be "Genowayses"? Like "Jones" and "Joneses"?
Okay--now I'll go back to avidly reading more substantive contributions.
More from Genoways letter to colleagues two days after the suicide are on the ABC site:
On Aug. 1, two days after Morrissey's death, Genoways sent an e-mail informing friends and colleagues of the suicide and defending himself against the accusations of bullying.
Genoways said he had known Morrissey since 2000 and they had been close friends. When Genoways' son was born in 2002, the first flowers to arrive at the hospital were from Morrissey. He hired his friend as managing editor in 2004, Genoways wrote.
"But I never had any illusions about who Kevin was," he continued in the e-mail, which ABC News has obtained. "He was prickly, mercurial, often brooding."
Genoways said the two men basked in the small review's recent literary success, but that Morrissey had become withdrawn and "his mood darkened" in recent months, leading to strained relations with his boss.
Genoways wrote that Morrissey "felt less important to me professionally as our staff grew. I know that he came to feel trapped, paradoxically, by a job he considered too good to quit. As Kevin struggled through these issues, particularly in the last year, his work suffered and his demeanor, to my mind, was often unacceptable for the workplace. We feuded over this often, and the majority of the VQR staff sided with Kevin.
"That tension between my staff and me grew poisonous," he wrote.
"Kevin in particular had a history of disagreeing with his bosses, and now that I was the boss I should expect to be hated," Genoways wrote.
"I don't doubt that these conflicts fed Kevin's depression, but I cannot accept the final blame. ... I feel unspeakably saddened by Kevin's death, but I do not feel responsible," Genoways wrote
@ "former NY editor":
Most people here (including me) are hiding behind a pseudonym, but you, in trying to assert a circumscribed identity as a "former NY editor," don't sound genuine at all; especially your ranting and raving against "Cville hypocrites" gives you away.
Your illogical attempt to compare the man-eats-man big time commercial publishing world in New York with an institutional non-profit literary magazine in Charlottesville sent me to look at the numbers. Regarding the "very talented ... editor" Ted Genoways' supposed success in leading VQR to its heights, I'd like to know: What were the magazine's sales and subscription figures before he took the helm? We know now that the most recent data is about 1,600 subscriptions and 800 to 900 direct sales, for a total of approx. 2,500. In 2006, when VQR received its national awards, its editor spoke of a circulation of 6,000. Both numbers, 2,500 and 6,000, are a pittance even in comparison to major cultural / intellectual magazines, but beg the question: Does the discrepancy mean that VQR lost more than half its readers over the past four years, while its editor commanded higher and higher salaries for himself? Or was the public floating of higher circulation figures always just self-aggrandizing hype? I don't think such deception would work in New York's publishing world, bullying or not.
deleted by moderator
Looks like Majunga is back!
Whenever you have
(1) Managers spending other people's money
(2) Employees (including managers) who can't get fired
you will have a horrible workplace. The most common form of bullying is to shout down those who disagree (verbal violence). If successful, shouting progresses to slamming doors and throwing things around (threat of physical violence). If not fired, the employee realizes he doesn't have to follow other rules. Every time you say he "has to" follow the rules after he just broke a rule AND wasn't held accountable, you appear to be a liar. So the bully's contempt for you grows even though the bully lies constantly. Eventually he'll test the rule that assault is not allowed in the workplace. The bully's lawyer will argue in court that he broke all the rules and was not fired THEREFORE the actual company policy differs from the written policy. So the bully stays on while good people leave for sanity and safety. The more the company ignores problems, the more they'll claim to be addressing the problems.
Even if Mr. Morrissey's sister had contacted the media -- so what? It's her right. The same would have been true for Mr. Jaquith. Ms. Morrissey has provided information of utmost importance, for which some posters vilified her in apparent attempts of sidetracking / obfuscating the real issues and culprits.
And I haven't read anything Mr. Jaquith has written or said that could be construed as out of bounds. There are, to no-one's surprise, a number of postings here that either snipe or posture, or both, whereas Mr. Jaquith has shown remarkable restraint under the circumstances, even in the face of personal attacks that do not sound as if they were coming from disinterested parties in this sordid tale.
@ local girl:
The Today show piece is airing tomorrow (Monday) morning.
Prior to my initial post I had not seen a post from a family member requesting that we stop blogging about Kevin's death. My apologies I would not want the circumstances of the tragic death of one of my family members incessently blogged either. My deep condolances to the Morriesey family on their loss. The issue of workplace bullying is an interesting and important one, and I hope the Hook will take it up further, but outside this specific context.
How do we know, that when someone posts a name, that it is really said person ?
When someone posts a comment with a name attached to it, how do we know that is the person's real name ?
Has anyone wondered why; outside of family members, staff at VQR, friends of the deceased and alleged bully, so many are passionate about this issue. Here are my thoughts :
1) Most commenters have been bullied at sometime in their lives or have witnessed the bullying of a family member or friend.
2)UVA has a national reputation and has had a string of unfortunate deaths on campus this year.
3)The first woman president in UVA's history has just taken
4)Similarly to the Morgan Harrington tragedy, the family of the deceased has been willing to step into the media spotlight.
5)Charlottesville has a talented weekly: ready, willing, and able to do the thorough legwork needed to tell a good story.
6)The president of UVA has shown the ability to engage the community in a process of change by stepping forward to investigate.
7)Charlottesville news revolves largely around happenings at UVA
8)VQR had become nationally prominent in recent years, garnering awards on a par with the New Yorker, and Atlantic Monthly; a new phenomena for this publication and for the University.
9)Ted Genoway is a rising star in the world of magazine publishing and is asked to speak at many conferences and is widely quoted in the field of magazine publishing.
10)Suicides often go unreported both in Charlottesville and elsewhere, and are called by any other name.
11)This is a highly unusual confluence of circumstances that has garnered interest from those in: literature, psychologhy, education, workplace matters, and just plain human interest.
12) Most news stories are here today gone tomorrow -will this be the case here ?
@ Just Wow:
why on earth should you be "stunned" that I am commenting on an article about my brother's death, when my comments are frequently to refute allegations brought against me by Mr. Snook in the article or in this very comments thread?
Should I just stand by and allow my family to be smeared with insinuations of "shopping the story to the media" when that is a complete falsehood?
Um, sorry, NO. I won't be quiet.
This is why emotionally-invested family members are not good spokespeople:
"I will tell you, as I told Mr. Snooks, neither me nor any member of my family have contacted anyone in the media. Period. I couldn’t care less that Mr. Snooks asserts otherwise. That is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth....
I have been contacted by, and am happy to tell Kevin’s story to, the C-Ville News, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Hook, ABC News, The Washington Post, NBC’s Today Show, GQ magazine, and Inside Edition. Interestingly, the Inside Edition interview has been postponed by them because they cannot get Genoways or Snook to agree to an interview."
You might not have contacted them first, but if you're talking to the media or commenting on this board, it's basically the same thing. I understand you want to combat falsehoods - and that's 100 percent fine - but you can't also say you haven't contacted the media. Did you call anybody back? Yes? Well, then you contacted the media.
I think that's fine, I think your family should do that - but you're letting your emotions put you on a high horse that is hurting your position. You're going after a lawyer, first of all. He doesn't care - he's a paid employee doing what his client wants. He is not emotionally invested, which means he will ALWAYS win this kind of fight in the media - he sounds reasonable, you don't (and you shouldn't! I wouldn't be reasonable either, if I were in your shoes)
Stick to the facts and leave personalities out of it. Your stridency, while totally appreciated, is not helping you. Frankly, that's why Genoways hired a lawyer to speak for him - because there is NO emotion.
Honestly, you shouldn't be the spokesperson, and while I understand why you want to comment, you shouldn't. You should hire your own lawyer and let them do the work for you.
Seriously, while you and your cause ARE just, you are not helping it.
Thanks. I appreciate that. I'm feeling a little beat up myself from all the personal attacks against me and other innocent parties, like my friend Waldo and my brother Kevin.
Your point that, were it not for "emotional" protests against injustice, we would not have elected Obama and stopped the war in Vietnam is well taken. I personally have never understood why some people think it is wrong to express emotion. Humans are emotional creatures. And anger can be a very motivating emotion. I am angry to the core of my soul about Kevin not getting the help he was so clearly asking for.
Anyway, I appreciate all the support I am receiving here for speaking out, and don't worry, I won't let the bullies win by backing down and shutting up. I intend to do whatever I can to make sure that we get laws and policies in place to protect targets of workplace bullies, along with systems and people who can insure that filing a formal complaint does not further jeopardize that target's safety.
I thought the facts of Kevin's suicide were bad enough. But this line of posts is horrific. Very, very few of you are considering that you are all feasting on this event. Hardly any of you are writing things that you'll be able to look back on without regret. You all ought seriously to consider whether continuing this line of comments, with horrific slanders flinging all over the place, is worth it.
As someone who knows Ted and his family, and knew Kevin, and was pretty well acquainted with VQR, I am terribly, terribly sad about all this. But these posts don't seem to be serving any recognizable good.
A technical point: the comment system is set up so that anyone can post under any name. (I have a hard time thinking that the post by "Gary Namie" was actually by Gary Namie.) So please understand this is my only post.
My heartfelt condolences go out to all, and especially Kevin's family and the VQR staff -- including Ted -- who were, are, and will always be affected by these terrible events.
Thank you for this illuminating, if painful, primer on the sad circumstances surrounding a suicide.
I've never read VQR, but the journal obviously attracted a number of committed writers and editors who create a valuable cultural product. Alas, it seems that a hostile workplace required exceptional sacrifices. This story also illuminates the downside of nepotism from the wealthy donor with business cards and benefits to economic dependence on an arbitrary boss.
Clearly the university failed to contain a highly problematic editor. Workplace bullying shouldn't exist. And a kinder, gentler workplace would benefit millions of Americans. The university should clearly adopt anti-bullying policy.
We also live in a time of astonishing choices and opportunities. Suicide so often reflects a profound lack of imagination. People can change jobs, move, and recreate more satisfying lives. There are a million ways to reinvent ourselves - even if we lack a college degree and love the academic life. Kevin lost perspective, felt trapped, and made a tragic choice.
Genoways acted like a mega-jerk and seems at best callous and cruel to staffers. Mr. Morrissey, a gentler and weaker man, suffered too much. And I admire the way Maria, the sister informed Genoways. Somehow, I suspect, Genoways will never forget that call.
Well, I'll try posting again in an effort to prove that The Hook is not purposefully suppressing comments made by African Americans. Like I said in my post that did not make "the cut," I am African American and I was laid off by ACPS (Albemarle County Public Schools) under the guise of budget cuts, the mechanism ACPS managers, principals, whatever you want to call them, used to get rid of anyone they did not like. My only contribution to this forum is to say that workplace bullying, intimidation, using... all that stuff is real and that people should not put up with it. ACPS did not pay my unemployment on to of it so I was let go with nothing. And, as I said in my first comment, contrary to what one might think, not having a job and not having any money is not the worse thing in the world. It's better to be happy with nothing than to be miserable with something. Never put up with abuse.
After reading this well-written and -researched story in the printed HOOK as well as Saturday's online follow-up, it seems to me a case of kicking the weak and bowing to the mighty -- until the victim (by all accounts a gentle, collegial, smart intellectual suffering from clinical depression) buckled under unrelenting verbal abuse and opted to end it by killing himself. Both the UVA ombudsman and the outside bullying expert might have tried their best but ran into an unusual roadblock: that the VQR editor was answerable only to the university's president, with whom he ostensibly had established a cozy relationship! This curious circumstance might also have contributed to the victim's reluctance to file an official complaint. Most probably, such a complaint would have fed the perpetrator's tendency to retaliate -- after all, he believed himself invincible. As I said: Kicking the weak and bowing to the mighty --in this case with disastrous consequences.
"Excuse me. Kevin was my cousin. I am fascinated by all these comments but I am requesting a short pause. I have a heartache and you are giving me a headache. Thank you."
@JB Thank You
@MRJ I never typed that anyone should stop blogging about Kevin's death. I requested a pause, a break a respite. That's all.
A moment of keyboard silence perhaps?
To the Morrissey family: I'm so sorry for your loss. Even if not literally (only morally), it's a crime that anyone has to suffer such cruelty without any real recourse. Unfortunately, that's the state of the workplace in many jobs. Like a lot of people, I have seen my share of workplace bullies, but fortunately I work in an industry and live in a region where other opportunities abound. Given enough time to lay the groundwork, I was able to hang in and tolerate the abuse until I had another job to escape to. It's a shame it has to come to that, but I feel fortunate to have had the option that it seems Mr. Morrissey did not.
What I don't understand is why Genoways had to hire Levinson-LaBrosse to raise money for him. He got it all backwards. Given her millions (1.5 million already to UVa; her father’s gift of $20 million) and the fact that Genoways chafed at UVa rules and found his entire staff to be a group of mutinous incompetent complaining trolls who had to be terrorized to make them behave, why does he even need UVa? With her money to bankroll it and his genius, they could go off to create the Magic Magazine they both envision--the Greatest Magazine the World Has Ever Seen. And then they can try to get more than 2400 people to read it. I know some people who will subscribe--all the people who signed the letter praising him! He could even hire a few of them and then they'd see what it's actually like to work in an office with him. This is a great plan if Uva decides to boot him. Too bad the duo didn't go off to enact their Master Plan before Kevin Morrissey died.
Not to be a pedant-bully or anything, but one logically could be hoisted up into the air "by" one's own petard, or "on" one's own petard, but never "to" one's own petard. One would be hoisted (on)to one's own petard only as a direct act by someone else, which would ruin the irony of the manifestation.
Mr. Morrissey clearly was suffering from the symptoms of a mental illness. The term Ã¢â?¬Ë?psychiatric disability’ is used when mental illness significantly interferes with the performance of major life activities, such as learning, working and communicating. If UVA knew Mr. Morrissey had a psychiatric disability, and his boss was harassing him, then it is a case of discrimination. Pure and simple. "Chicken and egg" doesn't matter. Mr. Morrissey had a disability and was in a protected class according to ADA. Maria should consult a good discrimination lawyer.
take[s] all fees
oh, and it's 'hoist to one's own petard', gasbag.
if psychiatrically disabled and "unable to work, learn, or communicate", that wouldn't make him a very good managing editor would it? he was a good one, people say. if "unable to work, learn, communicate" he would have been a liability to VQR and should have been removed from those duties, and given instead some position of lesser responsibility under 'protected status' or disability. TG allegedly said he was doing and saying inappropriate things in the office. that accords with your insanity theory Mental Ilnness Is A Disability, but not with anything we've heard about KM from friends and coworkers. also, if KM were insane, how could he buy a handgun? he would have had to lie on state/federal forms, and that is also not like what we've heard about him.
Huh? What you talkin' bout, Willis?
I think Zero Degree was speaking of one's petard.
from memory, mind you, but a petard is an explosion and the verb hoist is not used in the idiom in the modern sense but in another sense common at the time of the expression's coining. you are using it as if a petard were a derrick and someone were tugging on the end of a rope.
the expression is, please, hoist to one's own petard...almost like being blown up by one's own bomb.
It's "hoist with [his/her] own petard." From Brewer's Concise Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:
"Hoist with his own petard.
The petard was a thick iron engine of war, filled with gunpowder, and fastened to gates, barricades, etc., to blow them up. The danger was lest the engineer who fired the petard should be blown up by the explosion."
The entry then quotes Hamlet, III, iv, "...Hoist with his own petard."
Interesting theory forward. Might be a bit easy to believe if you could find your word "hoiser" in use as a French word somewhere. I can't. I know it defies convention to put a French degree to practical use, but perhaps someone else might weigh in on that.
easier that is
@JP-I am only interested in the facts JP and this is the quote from Mr. Jaquith Ã¢â?¬Å?Every day, there’s at least one situation with one author who has been left in a bad situation by Ted and it’s our job to clean it up,”
You say, At least one VQR contributor has already posted in the comments section to dispute this. It doesn’t square with what I’ve heard from other VQR contributors."
Notice Mr. Jaquith didn't say all contributors he said " at least one ."
As a frequent contributor to the VQR (including the forthcoming Fall issue),I would like to second Patrick Phillips' unqualified support of Ted's treatment of his writers. This is the comment I posted on the Style Weekly story where Jaquith was quoted:
"Waldo Jaquith's claim that Ã¢â?¬Å?Every day, there’s at least one situation with one author who has been left in a bad situation by Ted and it’s our job to clean it up” is preposterous. I have contributed to VQR for several years (including in the forthcoming Fall issue), and have always worked directly and happily with Genoways. He has invariably been a responsive, thoughtful and hard-working editor and a tireless champion of his writers.
In the past several weeks, as this sickening pillorying of his character has been conducted, I have spoken to literally dozens of other VQR writers and photographers, every one of whom has been united in support of Genoways. This tragic episode has been turned into a shameful witch hunt."
I have worked with Ted Genoways for the last few years and contributed reporting from Cuba, and Afghanistan, among other places. Never once was I left Ã¢â?¬Å?in a bad situation” by Genoways, as Waldo Jaquith alleges happened regularly to VQR authors. Nor were any of the other dozen or so VQR contributors I have met and spoken with. Genoways always supported, encouraged, and provided us with what we needed to do good work. As others have mentioned and more would agree, you don’t contribute to VQR for the moneyÃ¢â?¬â?there was barely enough to buy airline tickets. You don’t make your living writing for VQR. You do it because you love the work, and you loved joining the environment that Genoways created. Under his direction, VQR became one of the few places remaining in American writing and photography where this kind of collaboration is possible.
"The fact that they (the staff) went to John Casteen’s office and were told Ã¢â?¬Å?Creative people aren’t expected to be good managers; deal with it.”
And here are John Casteen's remarks to the University community at the vigil for Yeardley Love:
"..take something away from this event. Take with you the determination that you will speak up for yourself, that you will act when you see or hear about abuse or violence in the world around you. If your relationship is unhealthy or toxic, seek help, seek support. Talk to your dean. Seek out a faculty member. Come talk to me.....Seek the support that belongs to you, because you belong to us. Demand and expect support, respect, and assistance when you do that. Speak out. Find me."
I thought Brendan Wolfe was married to Molly Minturn. That hardly seems like a secret. Is that incorrect?
this posting and parsing of comments is a very paranoid subculture. it seems to me that post really was from Molly Minturn.
@Another County: No apology necessary. The Style article reported that someone claimed Genoways's e-mail was hacked; that's quite different from this actually being true. Tom Bissell argued this morning that if the e-mail Ted Genoways sent to "Friends of VQR" ended up in the hands of people besides the intended recipients, then it must have been because his Gmail account was hacked. Occam's Razor suggests that there are more obvious, and therefore more likely, explanations -- such as that someone on the recipient list leaked it.
A computer was not stolen from VQR "immediately after the tragedy."
@NT: You're correct. I'm married to Molly Minturn. It wasn't my intention to hide that fact, nor has it ever been my intention to attack anyone personally or to make claims -- about Ted Genoways or anyone else -- that I can't back up. And it's true that I haven't posted this evidence, as Steve (above) pointed out:
"You haven't actually presented any arguments. You've presented statements that I can agree with without any evidence, or question at least until some true documentation comes to light. You have no first-hand knowledge -- none. You have heard 'testimony' from people that you've chosen to trust, and I respect that."
I think Steve is wrong. I have presented arguments. Here is an example: Ted Genoways, over the last two weeks of Kevin Morrissey's life, did the following things. Those things add up to bullying and are sufficient to create a toxic work environment and to have provoked greater intervention by the university.
You could respond by saying, "I don't think Ted Genoways did those things." But people don't, in fact, respond that way. Instead, they attack motives, or make claims about Genoways's character that don't bear on what he is actually accused of doing.
You could also respond by saying, "I don't think you actually have the documentation to prove that." But people don't, in fact, respond that way. Instead, they argue that you must have stolen the e-mails.
Steve argues that I have no "first-hand knowledge. None." That isn't true. I have read a number of e-mails, seen notes that Kevin Morrissey took, and talked to multiple people involved. And I have lived very close to this situation for a long time. It's true that I have chosen to trust certain people, but that trust, in no small part, is the result of the fact that they all tell similar stories, have told them for a long time to no personal advantage, and those stories are backed up by documentation.
I can't trust or not trust Ted Genoways's claims; he refuses to speak for himself.
I notice that Mr. Wolfe is ultra-quick to quote and then rebut everything that rankles him. Cyber-bully, perhaps? ("Oh, no. Truth seeker," he's likely to say. "Fact checker. Corrector of inaccuracies.") Yes, yes, everyone has his or her reasons. Like "another country," however, I'm curious what the real agenda is, and, as this blog proves about human nature, I'm not likely to believe Mr. Wolfe himself. Why should I? It's only his word against...my speculation, which is much more lurid and interesting. ("But I'm stating facts...I've seen the evidence...I know what you don't...") Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Whose computer was it: Genoways', Morrissey's, or Levinson-LaBrosse'? It would change motive and meaning greatly depending on which.
Anyone needing money would steal several computers, and the timing and contention here makes random-burglar unlikely.
Are university staff in the habit of sharing internal University e-mails with all and sundry, showing them to friends and family and passing around copies? This would not fly in most corporate settings, many e-mails obligatorily have a line at the bottom saying 'For intended recicipent(s) only and otherwise proprietary and confidential'. It seems here that some persons not employed by VQR are freely reading private privileged professional internal communications. Are UVA's human resources and psychological services staff as free to show their work e-mail to anybody who happens to be in the room with them, without curtailment or reprimand or order to desist?
Thank you for clearing that up, Mr. Wolfe. I didn't think you were in any way hiding your relationship to the case, I just didn't understand what that relationship is. Good for you for shouldering the burden of this and preventing your wife from having to comment and relive in this forum her anguish. I guess that's why your comments stood out so much to me, because they sounded like a spokesperson not just one of us onlookers, sounded like Mr. Snook Esq.'s standing-in remarks.
Can someone tell us if the undercover Mexico reporter is OK?
Can someone explain why he blamed Morrissey for putting the mexican journalist's life in danger?
The computer was stolen weeks before all this, tho U.Va has a full backup system, so they wouldn't have lost any data. Who would have the motive to steal a computer? Anybody who needed money!
These posts have gotten progressively nastier over the last couple of days. I suspect many of us project our own experiences on to Kevin & truly want the bully to pay. Regrettably, Kevin was being treated for depression; therefore, prosecuting Genoways or the University of Virginia will be no easy task. Peace to Kevin and his friends and family.
Anissa, what do you mean by "Brendan Wolfe of The Hook?" A brief search on Google shows him to currently be working as an editor at UVA, a former senior editor at a publishing house, a writer who has been published in VQR(!), and a local blogger who has written a book about jazz legend Bix Beiderbeck.
Nowhere do I see that he is a journalist for the Hook. Doing a search on Brendan Wolfe on this site shows that, up until now, he's rarely even posted here.
So what conflict of interest does this pose?
Zero Degree - you are totally right. I just did as you suggested and Brendan Wolfe is not an employee of The Hook. Clearly, I should have fact checked before my comment. I apologize for my confusion.
I will say that I assumed that Brendan was working with David on this article because of the assertions that he made in his responses. I, wrongly, assumed that he was speaking on behalf of The Hook. My other posts also assumed same of Brendan.
Clearly, he is not a journalist in his dealings with this blog, and would not be held to the journalistic ethics code that I suggested. I apologize to him for my oversight.
The best way to avoid working for a bully is to check around with people who may have information about a boss in a job you're interested in applying for. Word of mouth is the best. There are different levels and types of difficulty in all bosses but some should come with poison labels. There ARE many excellent bosses at UVA! Believe it or not!
Get off your high horse.
Oh no, somebody posted inaccurate info on an anonymous internet comment board. How can "Annisa" possibly ever earn back their credibility so they can be trusted by "ISpy?"
@ Joy McGuire
You write: "In the private sector, there is no understanding of diseases like depression. You produce, or you fail. There are thousands of stories like Kevin’s out there. Severe depression is a disease much like diabetes, cancer, etc. Until it is recognized as such, placing blame is moot."
First of all, depression is categorized as a disability under ADA laws, NOT a disease. Many people who suffer from depression, including Kevin, are highly functioning individuals who contribute to society on a daily basis. So, your remark, "You produce, or you fail," is not really relevant to the discussion. There is not question that Kevin produced, in spite of the occasional "bad day" when he was trying new medication. For Waldo's opionion on what an exceptional manager Kevin was, go here: http://www.vqronline.org/blog/2010/08/10/new-issue/?utm_source=feedburne...
Secondly, placing blame is not the central issue here. What IS the central issue for me is, what constitutes workplace bullying, what is the target of a workplace bully supposed to do, given the absence of laws or policies against it, and why is the US the only western democracy with no laws against workplace bullying?
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There's going to be another round of outrage when the financial audit comes in. Not just that Genoways has spent hundreds of thousands from the rainy day fund hoard left by by his predecessor, though combing through old hotel bills may prove illuminating. No, it will be Genoways' open, in-your-face self-dealing. He wrote his own contract. Is there any other literary quarterly in the country where the editor pays himself a salary bigger than that of a Federal District Judge? And then he took advantage of the ongoing managerial vacuum in the Office of the President to renew the five year contract 3 1/2 years early. VQR has dwindled to 2500 subscriptions, at $35 each. VQR spends on Genoways' $170,000 salary alone--not counting the perqs--twice that. Sometime in October, after VQR has endured sufficient indecision by the Office of President that a new staff can't be hired until oh, say 2011, I bet money is why U Va finally decides to oust Genoways. Rather sad that money offers easier justification than the death of Morrissee after Genoways' badgering. Its easier to quantify, for a labor statistician.
Try being a supervisor in the Federal Government.
Additional comment: I'm pretty sure there are dozens of incredibly talented young people in New York who would gladly work at VQR for a pittance if given the chance; in fact they're probably sending in their resumes right now. This whole story seems so ivory tower.
It is no surprise that writers published by VQR would defend Mr. Genoways.
First, there certainly appears to be an "old boys" dynamic going on: I haven't seen defenses rising from any female contributors.
Second, it is very prestigious to be published in a magazine with VQR's stature, even if the money isn't the greatest (though it sounds pretty good to me).
Third, writers published by VQR are certainly aware that Mr. Genoways would probably move on to other prestigious publishing organizations, so he could hold the key to their future success, publication, and employment.
Fourth, I'm sure Mr. Genoways was and is charming and delightful with people he cultivated, people who might someday do something for him.
To those claiming that bullying is just what you have to expect in the workplace, and that the "academic types" involved in this case are just too sensitive or (it is implied) spoiled: The standards are different when the institution is publicly funded. And so it should be. I wish the standards were different everywhere.
And besides, calling a victim "too sensitive" is a really poor way of dealing with victimization.
Just cancelled my VQR subscription. For anyone else who might wish to do the same, it's easy. Just call 1-866-239-1394. They'll send you a refund.
They're accepting applications? Do I send my CV to Genoways, Woods, or to Sullivan?
So Genoways, at the request of staffer Minturn, published a piece by husband Wolfe? And a BA-JMU was allowed to blog for VQR as a web voice for the journal? And Genoways published his own book? Did VQR publish Morrissey--I found a couple interviews of him speaking for the magazine about favorite books and so on.
Levinson-LaBrosse is the only one is this whole gaudy debacle who seems utterly blameless of shabby or shady politics before or after the death, publish-a-pal nepotism, or back-stabbing (up or down the ladder). She also seems to be the only one who is not getting paid to make television appearances to run-down UVA-VQR-Genoways, is not giving interviews to national magazines, is not commenting on this board or having a spouse or partner comment for her, etc.
It'll be a pleasure to work for her on the new VQR staff.
Is LLoyd Snook charging Ted Genoways for the time he spends commenting on internet threads?
Nice way to bill the hour.
After -"How likely is it that UVA would ever hire a literary magazine editor with no college degree; this fellow was working there by the grace of his patron, employed by the breath of princes." Believe it or not, there are a great many TALENTED people out there that do not hold advanced degrees that are employed for their talents NOT "by the breath of princes." That's a class society statement at it's best.
" as someone who lives a long way from Charlottesville." I guess Bill just proved my point Mr. Snook.
As to the allegations of workplace bullying, Ted has consistently said that he is not permitted to talk about internal UVA personnel matters. That is the University policy, and all involved here Ã¢â?¬â? Ted and the other VQR employees Ã¢â?¬â? are all supposed to be adhering to the policy. Ted has consistently said that he will address the merits of the allegations with the University, not with the media. He will adhere to the policy even when those on the other side are NOT adhering to the policy.
This is simply not true, Lloyd. We employees of VQR have been told repeatedly by Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Carol Wood that there are no strictures whatsoever on our ability to speak freely. Although we have chosen not to avail ourselves fully of that right, we've been assured that we possess it. If you can cite any university policy to the contrary, I'm sure we'd all find that very interesting.
Fascinating, I've never seen a lawyer in a case comment like this, before long he is going to need a lawyer.
Oops, should have read "absurdly long application process" in my last post.
Does Genoways see any irony at all in his claim that Morrissey's "demeanor, to my mind, was often unacceptable for the workplace” (from Genoways' email) when apparently Genoways's own demeanor (screaming at employees, inventing humiliating punishments that deviate from university policy) was unacceptable itself? Does he just not see that?
an MA is an advanced degree and generally means a BA also. the deceased didn't even have a BA. how would he have done in the absurdly long application process. come to think of it, she may have been the only VQR staffer with an advanced degree of any kind. and this at a top ranked research oriented PhD English factory.
@after many a summer:
Genoways holds both an MA and an MFA (the latter considered a terminal degree in creative writing). So does associate editor Sheila McMillen. Associate editor Molly Minturn holds an MFA (not sure about an MA).
genoways' making the magazine a national award winning publication also deviated from the university's policy of VQR being, for 90 years prior to genoways' management of it, a xerox and staples undergrad 'zine read in bathroom stalls all over cville and not beyond. he must have been doing something right. maybe tougher and demanding and aggressive management meant a better product.
@after a many summer-"an MA is an advanced degree and generally means a BA also." Ya know, I pretty sure most people on here knew that already, but thanks for clearing that up
Speaking as someone who holds an MA, does this mean that I am qualified for the job, too? You fail to explain to any degree how having an MA in education made her more qualified for this job than anyone else in this town with an advanced degree.
As far as the deceased goes, he had years of experience which the young woman does not appear to do so.
The important point is- did the University follow proper procedures when she was hired. Given the thoroughness of the Hook's reporting I am sure they are checking into this. Another first rate piece of investigative journalism by Dave McNair and the Hook.
after many a summer writes, "maybe tougher and demanding and aggressive management meant a better product."
maybe. or maybe spending the $800,000 kitty that the previous editor left the journal with down to $305,000 led to a "better product." and since the rise in the quality of the journal seems to have had everything to do with the kinds of (expensive) material VQR began to publish, I think it would be hard, aftermanyasummer, to argue that the rise in quality had anything to do with an "aggressive" approach to office management.
I encourage Maria Morrissey to continue her new work against workplace bullying and if she can make a dent at UVA, she will have cracked one of the toughest nuts in the United States. Bullying is commonplace there. That's the culture and it starts at the top. I worked in two jobs at UVA, on both the academic and medical center sides, and observed first-hand the bullying. I experienced it myself in both positions, which is why I left Charlottesville, at great financial expense to myself, as well as leaving wonderful friendships.
Power is protected in this university that has such a high opinion of itself. Mistakes by people in power are never admitted and because there are so few professional jobs in Charlottesville outside the university, UVA can buy people off, as they did Ms. Pugh. While I use that term "buy people off," I use it with compasson and understanding because the reality is, in a place as isolated as Charlottesville, where faculty spouses are part of a very rich pool of smart and talented Central Virginians, UVA can make a person's life very difficult. I personally saw someone else who'd been bullied by someone at the top of one of UVA's biggest organizations, be offered another job by the University -- after threatening to sue. While this person was concerned that their children would think they didn't have integrity if they didn't fight, they also knew that they would be unemployed if they didn't take the job UVA offered and promise not to sue. Particularly when you're the family's main breadwinner, reality has to take the front seat in these decisions.
UVA is also indirectly supported in its bullying workplace culture by Virginia's "employment-at-will" laws. Another UVA colleague of mine was let go for no reason at all. A local attorney told this person that under Virginia law, UVA could legally fire an employee if they didn't like that person's hair color that day. Which makes it easy, if you're an organization so inclined, to push those boundaries to the limit.
I implore the media, in looking at this story, to broaden the scope of investigation to exploring bullying at UVA. It is a brutal and cruel place to be a staff member. (I don't know how it is for faculty.) For years, domination of the employment market has allowed it -- ironically, an institution of higher learning, a proud product of the Enlightenment, which should be enlightened in its employment practices -- to cover up the damage its culture does to the people in its employ.
After, an intern that donates 1.5 million then lands a job with a title, has an office in her bosses office and is ONLY 24 years old, doubtfully will be given any breaks unless you can prove she is a child prodigy...then we can all throw wide eye awe at the wonderful degrees she holds. Ã¢â?¬Å?[The hiring] occured without the usual advertisement and competition to ensure compliance with equal-opportunity law.”
Snook, I have never seen a lawyer jump to the defense of a client on a blog. Trying to discredit the journalist or the article seems terribly unprofessional.
merely suggesting that someone with an MA might be on paper more qualified than someone without even a BA. a lot of uva classifieds say simply 'advanced degree required'. was the departed hired by proper procedures, and a waiver for the advanced degree. seems if genoways had latitude to make a good choice and hire the departed, uva would give him the same trust and latitude in hiring her.
you really are ganging up on genoways and his intern. seems they made a good magazine.
seems this terrible tragedy will put an end to VQR as he made it and as we now admire it.
after, why do you keep bringing up that the deceased did not have a degree? Why are you suggesting that there is some sort of personal vendetta against Garroways or his intern when there are many (legitimate) unanswered questions as to way this woman was hired and if it even followed proper procedures?
FWIW, I don't know any of these people, and I would be asking these questions of regardless who was involved.
"seems if genoways had latitude to make a good choice and hire the departed, uva would give him the same trust and latitude in hiring her."
Did you read the article? It says, "[The hiring] occured without the usual advertisement and competition to ensure compliance with equal-opportunity law."
BTW, how do you know that Morrissey's position required an advanced degree or any degree at all, much less that said requirement was wavied?
after, you're giving "the intern" a LOT of credit...."seems they made a good magazine"...THEY? she's been with the journal for less than a year. why don't you suggest that the ENTIRE STAFF made a good magazine, particularly the ones who've been there all along?
@after many a summer: Your continual harping on paper degrees speaks volumes about your own personal insecurities, and doesn't reflect on Morrissey one bit.
Everyone agrees that Morrissey was an extremely talented and dedicated editor. He was paid to do his job, not to hold a diploma. I've edited for an Ivy League journal, sans undergraduate degree.
i need to go back and re read murdock, luce, sulzberger bios and re watch citizen cane and devil wears prada before i reply. investment equals critical acclaim. got it.
Mr. Snooks is an attorney, an actor of sorts...that play out scenarios in courtrooms everyday. It is his JOB to present the "facts" to the advantage of the person who is paying him...his client. So if he seems to bring out a few "misconceptions" then we can chalk it up to his "job". That IS what he is getting paid to do. It is Ms. Morrissey's right to defend these "misconceptions" here or in any venue she so desires. If she is emotional (and rightfully so) then that too is her right. Without intense emotion, there would never be anyone that created protest for any cause or change (isn't that what got Obama elected???? the need for CHANGE)....Jesus, we could still BE in Vietnam if not for the intense emotions against a 10 year policing situation. So Ms. Morrissey if you choose to use this blog as a venue to protest the "workplace bully" and speak for your brother, then it is your right. By all means "knock yourself out" and ignore all the others that prefer to just accept the status quo...it will be their loss.
Nice that Hawes Specner is keeping on top of things but the article should have linked directly to the Today show video, which is here:
Mr/Mrs/Miss afraid, I think it's pretty obvious that the weak won't rise up against the bully because they often do not have the backing of their fellow employees. Back during the decade plus (1984-1996) that I was subjected to workplace bullying, the fellow employees feared for their own job security if they had elected to join in and take a stand against the bully in any shape, fashion or form.
Yes, it was a disappointment that the Today show correspondent said that Kevin's suicide note blamed Ted Genoways. Since they had a copy of the actual note, I have no idea why they would say that. As I said in an earlier post, Kevin had too much integrity to blame anyone else for his death.I appreciate The Hook taking the trouble to correct this.
As to "blame where there may be none," let me lay these facts before you: While Ted was on leave and Kevin was in a leadership role at VQR in his absence, Ted kicked Kevin out of the office via email for a week for unexplained reasons. This is a classic bullying technique--public humiliation, social ostracism, and separating the target from his co-workers. The very next week, after Ted had been told not to retaliate against VQR staff for complaining about him, Ted sent an email to Kevin on the morning of his death accusing him of nearly causing the death of a journalist in Mexico. This is another classic bullying technique: falsely accusing someone of Ã¢â?¬Å?errors” not actually made. I have read the original email from this journalist and at no time did he ask Kevin for help saving his life. To this day, I cannot fathom why Ted chose to engage in this egregious attack on Kevin's character after he had been told not to retaliate.
These are but two examples, but from all that I have learned from first-hand witness accounts, emails, phone records, etc., they are the most flagrant examples of a pattern of workplace bullying that stretched out over a period of three years. The problem with bullying is that it has a tendency to escalate when it goes unchecked, as it certainly seemed to in the last two weeks of Kevin's life.
The updated comments infer that workplace policies will prevent this type of tragedy from recurring. Personal experience tells me otherwise. Policies can be violated with impunity unless there is legislation that demands appropriate action. Managerial prerogative prevails wherever it is exists. Power imbalances need to be addressed by having an appropriate source of (legislated) power for workers to plug into.
Morrissey’s plight: As Sullivan probes, new VQR details emerge
Note: this story has been updated to include changes to some of Ms. Cade’s statements. Ms. Cade felt that she was misquoted in several instances and wanted to clarify her position.
You write: "What a horrible error the Today show made by saying that Morrissey blamed Genoways in his suicide note."
The error they made by saying that Mr. Morrissey blamed Mr. Genoways in his suicide note wasn't "horrible" -- it was minor, and possibly not even an error but, in the report's context and in hindsight, a journalistic interpretation of Mr. Morrison's laconic final "I can't bear it anymore" note.
You continue: "As if the tenor of this was not already way out of balance, now major television media is helping lay blame where there may be none. Very bad coverage of these events, dealing so much with rumor and anonymous sources."
This is certainly not a fair assessment, but very judgmental instead, as if you belonged to an interested party. First of all, the Hook's "coverage of these events" has been exemplary, one of the most outstanding "human interest" pieces I've read recently, on par with the best investigative New Yorker stories. And on the Today Show Mr. Jaquith, one of the closest people to the situation but understandably reluctant early on to join the public fray, said clearly, unequivocally, on camera: "It was a toxic environment for Kevin, absolutely. ... Ted's treatment of Kevin in the last two weeks of his life was just egregious, and it just ate Kevin up." That's not rumor, that's not an anonymous source -- that's a credible eye and ear witness speaking!
I'll bet Ms. Cade wanted her comments changes as they painted her as someone who doesn't understand the dynamics of workplace bullying and as a shill for UVA.
It's too bad her revised comments are just as bad:
Ã¢â?¬Å?UVA offered him time off, employee counseling, and a chance to switch departments, but Kevin was the one who said don’t do anything."
Really, Ms Cade--he said "don't do anything"? Not some form of, time off and employee counseling won't help--please take appropriate and immediate action to address this situation"? If he didn't want anything done, why did he make almost 20 calls to UVA officals in the week before his suicide?
And this comment below, in which it is clear she's doing damage control for the university. Too bad that her concerns and UVA's are focused on whether the unversity is getting enough credit for dealing with other bullies its flawed work culture has created:
"Consultant Cade worries that the recent spate of media coverage has overshadowed the bullying cases UVA has successfully overcome, along with the fact that many in the University Ã¢â?¬Å?definitely” want to enact preventive policies."
It's great UVA Ã¢â?¬Å?definitely wants" to enact policies, but saying you "want" to do somthing is meaningless unless it involves action.
People are smarter than this, Ms. Cade and UVA. You're insulting their intelligence with these kind of comments. I suggest you come up with some more plausible way to control the damage. Or try evaluating these events with some honesty.
HR depts in all fields need to implement tools that employees can use to "Rat" out bullies or blow the whistle. He had the balls to bring it up, but I know of cases where employees are scared to report a misconduct fearing that the complaint box may be in cahoots with the "misconductor".
All employees should be given access to a website and unique access so that they can anonymously file their concerns. HR needs to look for a pattern and take action against the bully before someone loses a life.
Just watched the TODAY show broadcast...found some of the things the "expert" said very interesting....like the fact that Kevin being depressed actually may have had some effect on the way that they handled the situation and the chicken and egg situation. This story still makes me sad to think that someone reached out and UVa just seemed to try to sweep it under the rug, yet again. This makes me go back to everyone that stated Yeardley Love should have reached out...whould SHE have been taken seriously? This is just a question for thought...no accusation intended.
I guess if Ted Genoways wanted his 15 minutes of fame, he got it. Although not the way he probably would have wanted.
OK so the system for filing complaints against bullies doesn't work. Quitting is one solution what are some others? Is there some way to finesse them? I've lost my temper a few times with bullies and that worked very well but maybe I was just lucky.
then again, google "hoist to his/one's own petard" and you'll come up with plenty of solid entries. the verb is 'hoise' i think, but can't find it, and it probably did take a 'to' much as in 'victim to'. shakespeare was always messing with stuff, so my citing him was example not authority: i think he leaves off the 'd' in 'petard' also, but don't have the text in front of me.
Brewer's isn't very good, generally. google book, same.
i think either version would be correct, though, especially since most seem to know it from the Bard thereby forgiving their 'with' in lieu of the proper 'to'.
yes, so you say. and yet 'to' is correct also, even by preference. if it's 'hoiser' it would be 'hoiser a', and we typically import the whole. of course it was a device.
let's let it drop. i'm still surpeised by the extraneous [s]s.
So now the senior spokes person of the university, Carol Wood, who has been "ensconced" at the VQR office, has teamed up with Genoways to finish the magazine (proofing etc.), while the rest of the staff has extracted themselves, and taken their names of the magazine's masthead? What is going on?
HAS HELL FROZEN OVER?
The following is allegedly an actual question given in a University of Washington chemistry mid-term exam.
Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?
First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.
As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their faith, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can reliably project that all souls go to Hell.
With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.
"when hell freezes over":
This gives two possibilities:
1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls
enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase
until all Hell breaks loose.
2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in
Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell
So which is it?
The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls,leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being, which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God!"
An excellent article, masterful. Having only recently finished a BA in English in my 50's I can imagine how insecure Kevin Morrissey must have felt at his workplace when his mentor seemed to turn against him. Lacking academic credentials and then having his boss turn against him - who can blame him for worrying about his future? It's easy to see the position he was in.
The Observer article failed to mention nepotism, misuse of funds, and conflict of interest within VQR. What is so surprising that Genoways could act one way to one set of people and another way to another set of people? It's a basic reality of life. Everyone does that if not in such an extreme manner.
"I realize that no one who did not work at VQR every day can claim to understand all of what happened there..."
That is right. No one can. Ted treated many of his contributors very well. No one is arguing that he wasn't a talented, devoted editor to those he took interest in. The allegations against Ted of creating a toxic work environment and bullying Kevin must be very confusing to his friends and VQR contributors to whom Ted was always polite of whom he was was always supportive.
Records will show that VQR worked as a somewhat happy team up until the winter of 2009. Read the Hook article again. The reporter took the time to investigate what led to the toxic work environment. Emails document all of it. Outside sources saying, "Ted was always so nice to me! He is an amazing editor!" do not help Ted's case. If an outside source, or even Ted himself could explain why he decided to ban his coworkers from the office for a week, THAT might help his case. If outside sources or Ted himself would like to take the time to explain why he systematically shut the staff out of planning meetings regarding VQR's future, that might help his case.
Finally, I would like to say that I have always enjoyed working with Mr. Phillips, Mr. Morris, Mr. Bissell, Mr. Kenarov, Mr. Woods, et al. I have enjoyed developmentally editing and fact-checking their pieces. I have enjoyed assigning their work to VQR interns (at Ted's request) to edit. I loved my job and felt incredibly grateful to work here. I am devastated these contributors for whom the staff has done so much work, have decided label us "disgruntled" and "mutinous." And I would love to know from where that line of thinking came.
They were his subordinates not his coworkers. He gave them a paid week off work a year ago, what reason did he give then and why is it only an issue now? Why would he include his staff in meetings held to discuss the future of his staff?
Attackers said contributors were left in the lurch. Dozens of contributors have said they were not; no contributor has said that she or he was. We have sketchy details that maybe the writer in Mexico was left in a bad place, but haven't heard from her/him.
I would like to identify a group of folks, who are strangers to Mr. Morrissey, but who keenly identify with the pain he must have felt as an older worker being bullied out of the last job he might ever have.
Molly Minturn's statement (assuming it's actually her) is finally something credible (Jacquith was trying to claim an objectivity that he didn't seem to have, which made him less reliable). Minturn is not emotional, while making clear that the office was fractured.
I agree that contributors lose credibility if they attack the staff. If contributors were happy with their work, they should understand that it took a team effort - and they were part of that team, whether they dealt with other staffers or not.
It's sad that her references to VQR are in the past tense.
@Need a Program to Keep Track: "Wasn't it Carol Wood ... wasn't she the person who ignored Morrissee's repeated pleas for help? Isn't she the one who should be, with Genoways, fired?"
The answer is no.
@forwarded without comment: "it was also said earlier that someone broke into VQR offices and stole a computer. was this Morrissey's or Genoways computer? was that computer the one that had these e-mails everyone is circulating?"
The answer is no.
@Matthew Power: "This tragic episode has been turned into a shameful witch hunt." It almost seems as if it's in Ted Genoways's interest to see this as a "shameful witch hunt" rather than answer the actual charges being made about how he treated staff. Reminder: You are not nor were you ever staff. So how he treated you is simply not relevant.
As I wrote earlier, I think it's admirable that Genoways's stable of writers wants to reach out in his support. But those writers would do well to acknowledge all that they do not and cannot possibly know about this situation.
To all the "contributors" to VQR and Ted Genoways' friends - I applauded your rush to defend Mr. Genoways as "a great guy". But face it, you were not in the office with him 8 to 10 hours a day. You see him as the person you send articles to, the guy next door, the "friend" who has never raised his voice. You don't live with him, you don't work DIRECTLY for him. For all practical purposes, if you work with/for someone, you LIVE with them at least 8 hours a day. So while I repeat my statement of applaud for your efforts...the emails from Mr. Genoways to his staff are ON PAPER, the requests from help from the ENTIRE staff (less the pet intern he kept in his office) and eye witness accounts of Mr. Genoways day to day dealings with his staff speak volumes more than "well, I go to his house for BBQs and he NEVER acts that way!" or "I just wrote an article for him and he was GREAT!".... Both the articles from the Hook and Mr. Bissell stated the office environment was TOXIC, to both the staff and Genoways. How did it get that way? The fact that they (the staff) went to John Casteen's office and were told "Creative people aren’t expected to be good managers; deal with it." shows Casteen's "stick my head in the sand" or to "totally ignore this, I am on my way out anyway...won't be my problem in a couple of months" attitude. Casteen's attitude contributed to the toxic atmosphere. Genoways was in a MANAGEMENT POSTION, therefore the expectation should BE that he MANAGE people. When all management of staff was taken away from Genoways and given to Morrisey, that should have been a very HUGE RED FLAG that was NOT heeded by UVa but that is of no surprise, their track record lately has not been one to brag about. So when you jump to his defense after all this time (Tom Bissell included), it may come off as sounding "after the fact" and more of a "cover my butt, will ya? Or I won't accept anymore of your articles, invite you to my BBQs, etc. Okay, again I am off the soapbox. Next?
Most offices aren't run by consensus or even with the involvement and discussion of all staff. If the people responsible for copyediting, fact checking, and coordinating of print and web publishing were left out of conversations about VQR's future, that is not a surprise. If Mr. Morrissey was left out of those conversations, I'm sure that would have been frustrating and perhaps poor management. It seems clear from the article that the person ostracized and isolated in the office was Ms. Levinson-Labrosse, if the others were like family to one another. If she was tasked with connecting the magazine to funders to secure its future, that would put her on a team by herself, working on projects without the involvement of the editorial staff. It seems clear from the quotes above that she was resented by the rest of the staff. If they were hostile or rude, that would be normal grounds for reprimand in any organization.
NY Post is covering this story:
"Many of Genoways’ emails have been released. It’s interesting to contrast his written word to his staff with the internet comments of so many contributors to VQR. The emails certainly make him look to be a complete jerk."
I've seen the last one to Morrissey (which is very harsh) quoted a few places, but no others. Is there an additional story I totally missed?
"I don’t care how many purring kittens he patted on the head."
Purring kittens? Guys who reported from Iraq and Afghanistan? If anything, Genoways was probably intimidated by them, not the other way around. In any event, once again it's an insult against one group to support somebody else - net result, no gain.
Wow...that NY Post story is reprehenisble and melodramatic...truly awful "journalism."
@sad for all: "If they were hostile or rude ..." That's a fairly big "if." And I don't think the article does make it clear that Ms. Levinson-LaBrosse was ostracized. I do, however, think she was in an extremely difficult and awkward position at VQR, and it's completely unfair for anyone to attack her for it.
@Need a program to keep track: "... what Mr. Genoways did, which was hound a fragile underling to death." I'm not convinced that anyone on staff is making that argument. Speaking for myself, no one can know why Kevin Morrissey killed himself. What we can know, what is documented, is how Ted Genoways ran the office and treated his staff. That's what's relevant.
Have search warrants for staff homes been issued in the felony breaking and entering case to attempt to recover the stolen computer? Are federal officers investigating the hacking of Genoways' e-mail?
Does anyone know what happened to the undercover reporter in Mexico? Does anyone know where people got these private e-mails now in wide circulation?
Does anyone know what Genoways did to Brendan Wolfe? I feel sorry for both Waldo and the Intern, who are each taking a thumping here and elsewhere.
@Another County: "Have search warrants for staff homes been issued ..." It's news to me that there is any reason at all to suspect that staff would steal one of their own computers. Maybe you can provide it.
"Are federal officers investigating the hacking of Genoways' e-mail?" It's also news to me that there is any reason at all to suspect that Genoways's e-mail has been hacked. Maybe you can provide it.
"Does anyone know what Genoways did to Brendan Wolfe?" Rather than actually respond to the arguments I make, you attack my motives and float theories without presenting even the slightest bit of evidence. I guess the better question is, what did I ever do to you?
My understanding is that it was Waldo Jaquith's computer, that it was stolen some time before all this tragedy began to unfold and that it was a computer easily visible from an office window, therefore tempting to a thief. Laptops are stolen frequently at the university. I don't think it's particularly relevant to the ongoing discussion here.
Oh, so GENOWAYS is the brilliant, misunderstood soul who suffered at the hands of HIS staff. Got it. That explains the investigation that the university has launched into the staff.
What's that? They're investigating Genoways, and NOT the staff? Well, how about that.
First, let me say that we appreciate your interest in commenting on this story and value your input. But in the interest of keeping this very long comment thread from getting out of hand we'd like to insist on a few things.
Please remember that posting unverified and/or potentially libelous allegations, or engaging in off-topic digression, is discouraged and can get your comment deleted.
Also, we would ask that people not post under multiple pseudonyms. Not only is it easy for us to tell who is doing it, it's not fair to those who are using their real names or the same pseudonyms, and who believe they are addressing different commentors, when in fact it is one commentor using multiple pseudonyms. If it continues, we'll be forced to out the many names that one commentor is using.
Again, thanks for commenting.
Thank you, Dave for clarifying blog etiquette. For the record, I have also posted on this thread as "writer" and as "afraid." I will stick with "old person" from now on. Sorry for confusing communications here.
yes, thank you. i didn't know about that convention, sorry. stick with this name from now on.
also, my deleted comment was intended as an enthusiastic nomination for the post not in any way a statement of fact or rumor, i should have made that clear.
well said, brendan:
"How do they know this? From Genoways, of course, and I don’t doubt that they sincerely believe his side of the story. I don’t doubt that Genoways sincerely believes his side of the story. The difference is that the VQR staff can document theirs."
- thought it worth reposting! :)
PTSD in response to an email?? As "diagnosed" by an HR person (not a doctor)?? Possibly the dumbest and most absurd thing I have EVER heard. And I've been reading this thread...!
This letter may quell your idea that no female VQR writers are standing up for Ted Genoways. It has been sent out to every media outlet covering this story.
To Whom it May Concern:
We are writing in response to the recent tragic events at the Virginia Quarterly Review. The suicide of Mr. Kevin Morrissey, the managing editor of the magazine, has been painful and heartrending for all who knew him. We mourn his passing and would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Kevin’s service at the magazine was always valuable and productive, despite his lifelong battle with depression. Sadly, on July 30th he made his final and irrevocable choice Ã¢â?¬â?? a choice we all wish could have been different.
The tragedy of Kevin Morrissey’s death has also affected the wider community of VQR. Unable to explain his decision and often guided by their own personal agendas, several individuals related to the case have rushed to conclusions, accusing the editor-in-chief, Ted Genoways, of workplace bullying. Unfortunately, speculative accounts and egregious errors have already found their way into mainstream media outlets, which have been all too eager to generate news without carefully investigating the matter. Suicide is a difficult and complex issue, requiring sensitive analysis. It is easy to assign blame, but truth demands more than opinions and spontaneous emotion. Both Mr. Morrissey and Mr. Genoways deserve better.
All of the undersigned are contributors to the Virginia Quarterly Review. In our many dealings with Ted Genoways, we have found him to be professional, tactful, and respectful. Under his expert management, and thanks to his excellent interpersonal and communication skills, VQR attracted a loyal community of writers and journalists, of which we are proudly a part. Genoways is the person who turned a previously small and obscure literary quarterly into one of the leading US journals, a winner of the most prestigious national awards and a true model for innovative journalism. We find it deeply disturbing that the journalistic standards to which we and VQR are committed have not been applied in coverage of these tragic events. We emphatically believe that Genoways, and Morrissey deserve a full and impartial investigation from the University of Virginia.
Roberto (Bear) Guerra
David J. Morris
Elliott D. Woods
The mental stress of a bad work situation can cause damage to the psyche of an individual. I've experienced it personally and the longer it continues, the more damage it causes. I remember having to ask a co-worker to tell my boss that I was going to be out for a week for mental health treatment. That seemed embarrassing at the time, but it may have saved my life. I made a job change shortly thereafter and things have steadily improved. It's far better to acknowledge the problem and get help than to try and live with it. Unfortunately, Mr. Morrissey apparently didn't get the help he needed when he asked.
The now infamous email that Ted Genoways sent 'friends' after Kevin Morrissey's death proofs that he is his own worst advocate. It is an atrocious letter, daring to declare himself a victim while accusing Kevin of "unacceptable demeanor in the workplace" over time. How is it that the staff that worked for him has nothing but praise for his work ethic, his thoughtfulness, his reliability, his accountability? Are we talking about two different realities? Exactly who's demeanor was "unacceptable in the workplace"?
The staff did as well as they could in keeping operations going under increasingly bizarre circumstances with Genoways reigning inconsistently and in absentio. Staff's work included extensive and substantial editing, with individually highlighted changes miraculously 'erased' in later versions while the edits remained. Thus receiving no credit for work well done.
Like Molly mentioned multiple times, what is under investigation is how UVA, and the President's Office in specific, chose to leave a rogue manager in place, who had created a toxic, isolating, unworkable environment at the expense of the staff.
Now things are beginning to really add up. I mentioned Mr. Genoways unmemorable talent in an earlier post. The shallowness of the email (above) is consistent with his poetry, totally career driven. Google what you can, Mr. Genoway’s behavior suggests a egoistic, possessive opportunist, stridently on the make to the exclusion of any introspective or empathetic consideration. Mr. Morrissey may have been depressed but the most sadistic principal I’ve encountered so far is Mr. Genoways. Instead of marshaling his prerogative, intelligence, and memory of their friendship to work out a humane intervention through appropriate channels he rather uses those--consciously, with malice aforethought--to bait and exacerbate Mr. Morrissey’s depressive difficulties even further, perhaps in hope he would tender his resignation. I am not a depressed person yet even with my ego defenses intact I have enough imagination to feel the devastation and sense of betrayal Mr. Morrissey must have felt upon receiving this email. God help anyone with a boss and fair weather friend like Mr. Genoways. Mr. Morrissey’s completely non-paranoid response is telling, and bespeaks a man civilized to the core despite the ravages of his affliction.
This magazine is not the Manhatton Project... it is a magazine.
It was well funded and had talented people in every area.
I should have run as smooth as clockwork.
To compare it to the pressures of a live daily TV show is ridiculous.
It is obvious that Mr G has a lot of explaining to do.
The Emperor has no clothes....
No Ax to Grind makes a comparison with "most people in charge of shows (especially Ã¢â?¬Å?Today” Ã¢â?¬â? home of the office bully expose!!), magazines, and newspapers." But isn't there a fundamental difference between a large Corporate operation "Today"--"NBC"--"General Electric" and a university quarterly with a staff in single digits?
Genoways' email ordering Morrissey not to come to work might just be conceivable in that corporate environment. It is very hard for me to see how someone in a university setting could send that email to an old friend and colleague whom he knows is having mental troubles.
Having worked in universities (and in journals of various kinds, including literary ones) for forty years, I simply can't imagine even the worst colleague I've had all those years sending out such an email. It's completely unprofessional.
deleted by moderator
re: hysteria. I just wish that we were all writing with the reserve and moderation of people who have no direct evidence, just inference and rumor. You have been admirable in this regard Mr. Wolfe.
If, as has been implied here, Genoways is responsible for Mr. Morrissey's suicide, that would be a moral crime, not legal manslaughter, although I imagine a civil suit might have more success in proving legal liability (and I certainly hope that's not where these suffering families are headed).
And if Mr. Weschler did indeed defend Genoways in an open letter under the pressure of these serious charges, and if he were mistaken and confused about Genoways' character, then indeed he would be "gulled".
Mr. Smith: The pressure to produce a national-award winning magazine with a very limited budget and relatively small staff would, in itself, constitute a high-pressure environment in media, especially if future funding was uncertain, as stated in Genoways' essay on the dilemma of small university magazines. It doesn't matter whether or not GE owns the company. And perhaps you have seen that, on occasion, depressed people can be immensely self-destructive in their behavior, sometimes suffering beyond the help of friends who grow increasingly frustrated with difficult behaviors. Again this is no comment on Mr. Morrissey, because very few of us have observed the evolution of his long-time friendship and collaboration with Mr. Genoways.
The email Mr. Genoways sent out was (am I wrong?) explicitly meant to be confidential. Our discussion of it may be a violation of his privacy.
Two points for No Ax:
1. No staff members, to my knowledge, have accused Ted Genoways of causing Kevin Morrissey's death. They have focused on the way Genoways has long treated his staff and made specific allegations about what occurred in the last two weeks of Morrissey's life.
2. I don't argue that Weschler is "confused about Genoways' character" because I've never opined one way or the other on Genoways's character.
Genoways has been accused of mistreating his staff; his defenders have argued that this is not possible because he is a good person or he has been good to them. This is not an adequate response because a) it's possible to be a good person and still mistreat your staff; and b) it's possible to treat your freelance writers like they walk on water and still mistreat your staff.
Writing to express my sympathy for the VQR staff. How cold and cruel of U.Va. to bring Ted Genoways back from his leave of absence to finish the magazine after giving you the go-ahead and the time to complete what would have been Kevin's last issue. It has pulled the rug out from under you. Actions speak louder than words, as they say.
Seems to me that Ted Genoways was trying to create a paper trail of his own with this preposterous email, so he would have proof of Kevin Morrissey's "unacceptable demeanor in the workplace"; only problem is, Kevin didn't take the bait.
Seems UVa has become a model for the norm in the private sector as well...hire em for political reasons and ignore if they don't really have any management skills, tell the staff to "deal with it"... I highly agree with GingerQuill...given the millions that the "intern" and her daddy had, Genoways really didn't need VQR....don't understand what his delay was in departing with his newly found benefactor to create that "Magic Magazine".....
UFA who: It sounds to me that your bully has done a number on you. Here's wishing you strength at work and peace at home. And I agree. There should be a law. The Virginia workplace is no picnic. It is a battleground.
What does this mean:
"May I just say that Laurie Casteen has shown her very nasty shadow."
In response to abc123:
"Those who have suffered bullying:
with honesty, and to the extent that you can share your story, write your legislators about protective legislation; and consider supporting such groups as NAMI that support collective action on behalf of persons with mental illness; and find out why organizations don’t want to hear you, or put barriers in your way to be heard, and find supporters to help you challenges that inhumanity and injustice, so that others after you won’t be so harmed..."
It's been 4 years since I went on disability, quitting the management job I loved when the bullying became so intense I feared the next suicide attempt would be for real. I endured monthly Electro Convulsive Therapy treatments, 15 hospitalizations in 6 years, multiple medications and weekly therapy trying to deal with both my illness and the work situation. I stayed in bed for a year after I quit work. It's taken another 3 years to develop somewhat of a healthy life again. I'm just now able to think about advocating for depression and those of us who deal with it. There's no way I could have done it at the time. I just know I couldn't get help at the time from anyone I turned to -- HR, union reps, the university physician, deans, etc. Thank you for your awareness of this illness and for so passionately wanting things to be better.
And a comment for BK:
It's not as complicated as you want to make it. Kevin suffered deeply from depression, which wrecks havoc on rational thinking. None of us can climb into KM's head and know his final justifications for his decision, but having been down that road several times, I can tell you that he was in THE PIT, as I call it. It's a very dark, sad, lonely, inescapable place where rational thought as you would define it does not exist. What I do know for sure, is that suicide offers an end to the torturous pain of depression. Deep depression is like a bad dream that never ends. It alters our perceptions of ourselves and the world, and causes unbelievable suffering. Is that complicated enough for you?
See front-page coverage in today's New York Times online edition: