During what has now turned into literally hundreds of hours of research and investigation, Page One has uncovered information that suggests former UofL Dean Robert Felner’s troubles go back as far as the 1980s during his days at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).
Multiple sources at UIUC who worked with Felner during his time at the school have revealed some interesting information. It should be noted, however, that no one we spoke with held any personal grudges against Felner, never offered personal opinions and made it very clear that they only want to deal with facts. So that’s what we’re going to do.
Felner was a member of the Clinical/Community PhD program in the Department of Psychology at UIUC from roughly 1986 to 1990 and was the program’s director (Director of Clinical Training) from 1987 to 1989. Sometime during the late fall of 1989 that program’s faculty (who selects the DCT) asked Felner to step down. According to our sources and our own research, no other DCT has ever been asked to step down.
Read the rest including details about why Felner was forced to step down after the jump…
The reasons include (and we’re not leveling personal accusations, just reporting what multiple, unconnected individuals have confirmed) reports of attempts to interfere with the achievements of colleagues– or an attempt to keep someone from reaching tenure, allegations of sexual harassment, intimidation of students, inappropriate treatment of staff members and multiple allegations of direct and personal intimidation. There are multiple, specific incidences of each reported problem with the exception of the tenure situation. Again, we’re not saying Felner absolutely is responsible for anything, just that these allegations were officially made while he was at UIUC.
After Felner stepped down from his DCT position and was moved to the Institute of Government Affairs, there was an investigation undertaken by UIUC legal counsel (separate from, though possibly connected to, the faculty issues.) University officials refuse to reveal the scope of the investigation to us but assure us that the department (and colleagues) Felner was affiliated with was exhonerated of whatever it was.
One individual we spoke with says that in 1986 when UIUC was in the process of hiring Felner, concerns that exist today about Felner were made apparent. However, during the research and backgrounding process, other institutions with which Felner was affiliated provided firm reassurances of his scholarly integrity. So it appears there existed in the 80s questions about Felner but he was given a completely fair and honest shake.
Everyone we spoke with at UIUC reiterate to us that the decision to ask Felner to step down was one of the most difficult decisions they have made in their respective professional careers. Every individual with first-hand knowledge of the situation also made it clear that the decision was reached after extensive and exhaustive discussions and research. Everyone still stands by their decision today.
All that said, how can there be continual allegations of wrongdoing for more than two decades without anything changing? How could someone so controversial get hired– repeatedly– if there are professional issues major enough to cause him to be effectively fired or demoted? How could and why would so many academic professionals overlook so much for so long? Why is it when someone is a bad employee in academia that those who hire them allow their eagerness to get rid of them to override their integrity when it comes to passing along information about character negatives?
And how could the mainstream media continue to ignore this story?
So many questions.