Appeal of the Written Reprimand

July 26, 2018

To Whom It May Concern,

Dr. Michael Klug and Dr. Marie Kube are hereby appealing the written reprimand issued by the Vice President of Academic Affairs of Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), dated July 2, 2018, with a carbon copy to “Michael Klug Personnel File” that can be viewed at https://myspiritualconnectionblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/michael-klug-letter-06282018.pdf . Please note that Dr. Marie Kube is incorrectly referred to as “Maria” in the written reprimand.

We are appealing the false accusations on which the written reprimand is based. We are innocent until proven guilty in accordance with the laws of the United States of America that govern us all. We have not done anything wrong. There is no evidence that we did anything wrong. In fact, we have both volunteered a lot of extra time to serve the college, especially for the biotechnology program that was shut down despite increasing enrollment and student demand that is still present. Further, we have already established our innocence, as detailed below.

The written reprimand claims that “allowing someone other than the faculty to assist in grading was a violation of College Policy 3.08, which states the “evaluation of a student’s performance is determined by the instructor of the course.””

In contrast to the false statements made in the written reprimand, Dr. Michael Klug, the instructor of the course, evaluated each student’s performance, in accordance with College Policy 3.08. Dr. Marie Kube volunteered her expertise to assist an overworked instructor in developing and implementing grading rubrics without sharing any private student data. For example, student names were covered with post-it notes, which is regarded as a current best practice in teaching because it is more objective. All of Dr. Kube’s work was reviewed and approved by Dr. Klug, who was responsible for evaluating each student’s performance.

Again, we both hereby attest that we never shared any private student data, so the second accusation made in the written reprimand is also false.

Dr. Kube was laid off in 2010 when the Minnesota biotechnology start-up company she was working for failed. The CEO paid himself with the investor’s money from the University of Minnesota start-up company and meanwhile did not pay the people or companies doing the important work required by the FDA. When they laid her off, the businessmen in charge told Dr. Kube that it would be a long time before she ever got a job again. This is the reward for being an honest, hard-working and extremely successful scientist (more details along with Dr. Kube’s CV can be viewed in Appendix B of Dr. Klug’s portfolio at https://myspiritualconnectionblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/mctc-michael-klug-portfolio-redacted-final-vgok.pdf

So, Dr. Kube started helping Dr. Klug with his teaching load at MCTC. We both got worked to near death even though we never had any children and we made every sacrifice to meet the ever-increasing demands, including even sacrificing our marriage.

As stated in the written reprimand, the false accusations made therein were: “based on the available evidence, which comprised your statements from the Feb. 5 conversation with myself and President Pierce and the information you included in the portfolio.”

Contrary to what the written reprimand would suggest, Dr. Michael Klug certainly did not incriminate himself or do anything wrong, not in any conversation nor in his portfolio which he submitted in response to his nomination as Outstanding Educator by the students of the college, which can be viewed at https://myspiritualconnection.org/2018/07/07/outstanding-educator/

In fact, the college rescinded Dr. Klug’s nomination against the wishes of the students, presumably because the college is against the sharing of the truth in Dr. Klug’s portfolio, even though answers for improving student success are contained therein.

If the college really believed that private student data were shared, then wouldn’t the college have notified any affected students?

The written reprimand also incorrectly states that, “As the investigator explained to you, that conversation was not designed to be an investigative interview. The investigator therefore gave you an opportunity to be interviewed, but you declined. Dr. Kube also declined to be interviewed as a witness.”

The investigator did not explain anything to either of us. We never had any contact with them.

Dr. Kube received an email from a human resources assistant at the college stating that an “investigator is conducting an investigation on the issue of sharing private student data. Please contact me to schedule a meeting” to discuss this issue. Dr. Kube replied as follows in an email dated April 20, 2018: “To Whom it May Concern, I do not have any private student data or any access to any private student data, and I never did, so I cannot possibly share any private student data and there is therefore nothing to discuss. Sincerely, Dr. Marie Kube.”

Dr. Klug also responded in an email dated April 26, 2018 to the college human resources that an investigative meeting with an external attorney for an entire hour will waste a lot of money and time given that “I believe that my ex-wife has clearly pointed out in the email forwarded below that she never had any access to private student data. Via this email and during a conversation that I had with Vice President O’Kane and President Pierce back in February before all of these expenses got initiated, I am confirming that she is telling the truth. Given our severe budget shortfall, I would like to do my part to save the college money and hereby offer to forfeit the investigative meeting.”

The college human resources responded, “Thanks for the email. You may choose not to attend the investigatory meeting. If you waive your right to attend, the investigator will complete the investigation based on the information he has available – primarily from the portfolio you submitted in support of your nomination for Outstanding Educator. He will then submit his findings to Vice President O’Kane.”

The written reprimand states that these allegations are serious. If that is true, then why did the college wait so long from February 5 to the end of April to make these false accusations at the end of the semester when instructors are the busiest and the students need them the most?

It seems obvious now that we are being targeted by Administrators who are supposed to be supporting us in educating the students. Perhaps there is something motivating the Administration to care more about gentrification than success of the current students? Indeed, during the current Administration, the college has been losing funding due to lack of student success, especially among under-represented students. Dr. Klug has been an outspoken advocate for under-represented students and faculty. Indeed, Dr. Klug was one of the most outspoken advocates resulting in the vote of no confidence against the former MCTC President who originally hired the current Vice President who issued the written reprimand being appealed hereby. Since that vote of no confidence, there have been many circumstances and changes and events that, taken together, seem to establish a pattern of being targeted, for myself and others.

Further, all of the harassment has made us and others, especially those who care the most about equity, gravely ill. Dr. Marie Kube has PTSD. Instead of helping her, Minnesota science has destroyed her and other leading scientists, especially female scientists. Indeed, the college even hired people with lower degrees and less to no experience rather than ever hire Dr. Kube, even for a laboratory assistant position, even though there is a need and a demand for her expertise. In fact, one faculty even said, “no PhDs!” But should not the students have the best instructors with the most relevant knowledge and experience and proven success in the real world? Especially for biotechnology? See Appendix B of Dr. Klug’s portfolio at https://myspiritualconnectionblog.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/mctc-michael-klug-portfolio-redacted-final-vgok.pdf for more details and to view Dr. Kube’s CV.

Dr. Klug has been gravely injured by administrative policies of the college as well. Unable to teach this summer, he asked the college for a leave of absence in an email dated July 19, 2018:

“I have spent the past month resting and trying to recover, but I am still unable to teach. I ended up teaching more anatomy labs with dissection chemicals than was originally planned due to an issue with how annual fulltime teaching load with lab contact hours versus credits are calculated for UFT faculty. I was over-exposed to chemicals when I was in graduate and medical school, and I am still being exposed to those chemicals in the anatomy dissection lab as I have been for almost ten (10) years of teaching anatomy at MCTC. My current condition precludes me from teaching this summer, and I am still not well. Indeed, I usually teach during the summers, but I had to back out of teaching this summer. Furthermore, Spring semester was particularly stressful with the added stress of the threats of investigation into still un-resolved and false accusations. That stress was in addition to the need to re-plan the anatomy lab practical exams to Accommodate students in the face of reduced faculty support. Even though the stakes (point value) are relatively low for those exams, the recently increased requirement of the MCTC Nursing program that students have an A, or maybe a B, where a C was once acceptable have made students scrutinize every little thing in the anatomy course. So, making changes is extremely stressful for everyone involved, especially given that many students repeat the course and are expecting consistency. I am requesting a leave starting this Fall 2018. I have 87.17 sick days and Fall semester is only 78 scheduled duty days.”

Sadly, Administration refuses to grant Dr. Klug’s request for a leave of absence, even though he has already earned the days and even though his health has been compromised by doing his job in accordance with MCTC’s administrative policies. Administration says that a medical doctor must sign a form in order for Dr. Klug to be able to take a leave of absence.

So, Dr. Klug asked the college what medical doctor is even capable of doing what is necessary in this case, which is the following:

“If you require a Medical Doctor to sign a form so that I can take a leave of absence because I have been sickened by chemicals in the anatomy dissection laboratory for about ten (10) years, then please send me the contact information of any Medical Doctors who can do the following that is needed for my case:

1. Determine what chemicals I have been exposed to over all these years when the dissection specimens rotted because we had to use them past the expiration date because of the way the budget is spent. You see, in past years, money was taken out of our laboratory supply budget after students were already enrolled, making it impossible to order the correct number of specimens needed for that semester. We, therefore, put students in larger groups. Because of that budget scare, the ongoing budget uncertainties, and the fact that there are optimal times of the year for the specimens to be shipped, the specimens have been ordered too far in advance and the chemicals decomposed by the time the specimens were used in the laboratory. For example, the specimens were overgrown with mold and the stench was unbearable.

2. Determine the risks of long-term exposure to the chemicals identified in step #1 above.

3. Examine me for damage to my health, particularly with regard to known risks associated with long-term exposures to the chemicals identified in step #1 above and risks identified in step #2 above.

4. Decide whether to sign the form required by Human Resources so that I can take the days off that I earned.”

The college could not recommend anyone who could sign the form they require to be signed. Presumably this is because no such person exists. Sadly, by law, the employer could grant Dr. Klug his days off that he has supposedly already earned to try and recover from the damage done by his workplace, but his employer has refused to help Dr. Klug, even though they have hurt him greatly and he has done an excellent job teaching as evidenced by his nomination for Outstanding Educator by the students.

Please let us know of any factual inaccuracies herein so that they can be corrected.

Otherwise, understand that we are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the United States of America.

Sincerely,

Dr. Michael Klug and Dr. Marie Kube

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