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Letter to the editor

Political science professor says goodbye, thanks supporters

May 4, 2012

I write this letter to express my profound gratitude for your steadfast support and assistance over the past 6 months in fighting to reverse the UW-River Falls political science department’s decision not to renew me in my tenure track position here at UWRF. I am continuing in the appeals process and my attorney and I are confident the decision will be reversed. It is with deeply mixed feelings that I must tell you that I will not be back at UWRF next fall regardless of the outcome of the appeal. I have accepted a tenure track position at UW-Eau Claire to begin this fall. Nevertheless, I am continuing my appeal in order to restore my name and reputation.

This was an extremely difficult decision for me. I hold the students at UWRF in the highest regard and will miss all of you very much. My department’s decision to dismiss me after one year remains a mystery to me and I may never find out their motives. But, in the end that is not important. What is important to me is you, the students. I want to tell you just how moved I was by the outpouring of support and assistance from all of you over the past 6 months. When this all began back in November, my mentor at UW-Madison, Professor Booth Fowler, wrote me an email of encouragement. He told me about a similar situation he had gone through. He said: “As long as I live I will never forget, with great gratitude, the student support I got in 1973 when it looked like my time at UW-Madison was over.” I now understand exactly what he means. In fact, every time I think about the groundswell of support and the tremendous time and effort put in by each and every one of you, the students, it truly brings tears to my eyes. I would love to name and thank each one of you individually, but I know there is not room to print all of your names and, I also know that, unfortunately, many of you still fear grade retaliation.

I would also like to thank faculty who wrote letters and offered support on my behalf: Professors Terry Ferris and Don Leake at UWRF and Professors Don Downs, R. Booth Fowler, Brian DiSarro, Larry Becker, Jennifer De Maio, David Seimers, Phil O’Leary and James Sefton at other institutions. I would also like to thank former students, colleagues and friends including: Lucy Hunt, Katherine Bowyer, Juvenal Caporale, Brian Manda, Bijan Hansen, UWRF Newman Center Deacon Tom Weiss, and UWRF Sociocultural Coordinator Ashley Olson. I know I have left out many, many others who offered support and assistance. Believe me, I am very grateful to each one of you named and unnamed.

To my students at UWRF, I am truly impressed by you! I hope UWRF faculty and administrators learn from your wisdom and your example of moral courage and integrity. And one last thing, when it comes to college softball, I am and will always be a Falcon! What is a Blugold anyway?

With humility and gratitude,

John Evans
UWRF Political Science Professor