Exclusive: Scholl criticizes “culture of bullying”

white rose

Photo courtesy of Sophie Scholl

By Spencer Schneier, News Editor

Published in print Apr. 22, 2015

Editor’s note: The pronoun “she” is used frequently throughout this article, but this is due only to the fact that Scholl is a female persona. This is meant in no way to either reveal or obfuscate the employee’s identity.

Looking around nervously, she stares at her arm and then back up with confidence.

“My grandmother has numbers tattooed on her arm,” she said with conviction.

After thinking again for a few seconds, she drew the inspiration to continue.

Her grandmother had survived the Holocaust, but the numbers that were inscribed on her grandmother’s arm remained with her the rest of her life.

“She was never afraid. When you see things that are wrong, you stand up and say something,” she said passionately.

In the midst of a tumultuous period in UNCG’s history, Sophie Scholl is a university employee who is standing up to what she views as a pattern of abuse that begins with former Chancellor Linda Brady.

“[Brady] has created and cultivated an atmosphere of administrative abuse,” Scholl claimed in an exclusive interview with The Carolinian.

“Sophie exists because the chancellor made her,” she explained.

Scholl has received criticism from administration, who have accused her of bullying.

“If the persons responsible for this website care about UNCG as they say they do, I urge them to consider the harm they are doing,” acting Chancellor Dana Dunn exclaimed at a recent Faculty Senate meeting.

Scholl, who was critical of administration, said she did not know Dunn personally and that she had not heard the comments.

The anonymous employee expressed frustration with administration’s lack of communication with faculty and staff.

“My personality, and that I’ve never been very good at watching other people be bullied and keeping my mouth shut— it just seemed like there was no other way to communicate with the people who needed to hear it and who needed to know that people knew they were doing shitty things,” Scholl said emphatically.

She expressed her frustration with administration, saying, “Faculty and staff want to work here 30 years; administration are eyeing the next job.”

Scholl continued, “I just felt like someone needs to say, ‘Hey we see this.’ And it didn’t matter who I was.”

When asked if there was a class system in place, with administrative employees being valued more than faculty and staff, Scholl agreed with this sentiment.

Scholl said that one of the most egregious examples of the system of abuse and bullying was the Athletics Department.

She singled out Athletic Director Kim Record for her tactics, referring to her on multiple occasions as a “resource strangler.”

On Monday, Scholl updated her blog addressing Record and the Athletics department specifically.

In her interview with The Carolinian, Scholl addressed the dismissal of Brian Battle. She claims that Battle tried to strangle a soccer player on the field, which led to his dismissal as senior associate athletic director.

This contrasts with a report from the News and Record, which includes a quote from Battle on his dismissal.

“I just decided I didn’t want to work there anymore,” Battle told the News and Record.

Record refused to comment on whether the dismissal had anything to do with the workplace environment when the New and Record requested comment.

Scholl, however, noted that after conversations with many former employees, it was clear to her that Athletics had fostered a toxic culture for its employees. She was visibly shaken when choosing her words, and finally settled on describing the department as “a special and bizarre set of circumstances.”

She stressed, however, that Athletics was only emblematic of the problems at UNCG.

Describing the culture of bullying’s impact on the campus as “cancerous,” she also discussed the “UNCG-Three” scandal in detail.

On Paul Mason, who was at the center of the “UNCG-Three” scandal, Scholl said that he was not “out of his element” at UNCG. She said that he “has a history of using the courts to get people out of his way.”

Scholl stressed that the scandal was symbolic of the larger issues UNCG is dealing with. She argued that “bullies like Mason” are in prominent roles throughout campus, and that transparency will be important as the university looks to move past this era.

She noted that Mason had someone from University Relations investigate the Three, and that dissatisfaction on administration’s end led Mason to initiate the investigation.

Scholl claimed that the culture of bullying also led to the excessive punishment that the Three received.

Scholl expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of new evidence released by the university in the aftermath.

She came back to the topic of transparency, criticizing the current lack of it on campus.

“[It’s] a discourse of bullshit,” she retorted.

When The Carolinian asked her if she fears losing her job, she did not need much time to answer.

“I don’t care. It’s  a thing that will either happen or it won’t,” Scholl said calmly.

She stressed that while the situation is not life or death, it is important to speak up.

“If people speak up when death stares them in the face, how can we not speak up when the consequences are so few?”

Emily Bruzzo contributed reporting to this piece.

Categories: News, spencer schneier

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