Team America regulars know that in his second campaign against 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk, Dem candidate Dan Seals has claimed for months, since at least October, that he was an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, despite not ever having spent a minute in an NU classroom teaching a student. On Tuesday evening, he finally began to teach his 10-hour night class, which was the basis for his long-made claim to 'professorship' (and which did not go too well, see comments to last post below). For some more background, see here and here, for starters.
A group of NU students are not so willing to let Seals slide, however. In addition to less formal protests against Seals from NU students, a formal letter has been sent to NU President Henry S. Bienen, and a letter has also been sent to the Daily Northwestern student newspaper. TA will hopefully have a copy of the Bienen letter later today.
Among other issues, these students have noted:
The School of Continuing Studies recently appointed Seals to teach a Special Topics class in Federal Policymaking one night a week for two months in Spring Quarter. While NU faculty members certainly have run for political office in the past, we are aware of no situation where the university has hired an active political candidate. Not only does this create a questionable legal dilemma, but it appears to be in violation of the rules and regulations as outlined in the Faculty Handbook.
Pages 16-17 of the handbook state: "Outside activities must not interfere with University responsibilities. In no case may such activities be carried on either directly or by implication in the name of the University without the consent of the president of the University, who shall from time to time report such arrangements to the Board of Trustees. Consent should be requested through the appropriate dean's office. Faculty members shall not use the name Northwestern University in connection with outside activities in a manner that implies the university's sanction or support, unless the required consent has been obtained..."
When responding to inquiries in their fields of professional competence or acting as private citizens on issues of general public interest, faculty members may use their academic titles for purposes of identification but should make it clear that they speak, write, and act for themselves and not for the institution."
Seals repeatedly uses the title of "adjunct professor" on his campaign material, in debates and in interviews with the media, even though the university has publicly responded that he is only a visiting lecturer. His own political Web site states, "Dan is a business consultant and adjunct professor at Northwestern University."
Many media outlets throughout the area also have referred to Seals as a professor here at NU. Despite his use of a university title, Seals has never indicated that he does not speak or politick on behalf of the university, as the Faculty Handbook requires. Failure to issue this disclaimer results in using the NU brand to further his partisan pursuits.
Read the whole letter here.
As the students so aptly put, "NU's prestigious name should not be used to pad the resumes of would-be elected officials."
Ow. Not only that, it appears that someone at NU whitewashed Seals' bio on the NU School of Continuing Studies webpage to delete the fact that Seals is a current congressional candidate, even though that information was there back in December.
Seals admitted to the Daily Herald as early as this past January that he may have improperly used the title of 'professor' instead of lecturer, but the claim to be a professor (without any disclaimers as noted above) is still apparent on his website.
What do you think the response from Seals' camp to the NU students and administration will be? Maybe they will call Barack Obama and ask him to write a nice 'apology' speech and change the subject. Or maybe he should call State Senator Terry Link, who has also had practice lately explaining away scandal.
UPDATED: THE SEALS APOLOGISTS ARE OUT: The Seals apologists are already active in the Blogosphere this morning trying to spin Seals out of this mess. Check out Archpundit and Illinois Reason, and you tell me if you have ever read two posts that were less on topic and more ridiculous than these two. Much of both rants are directed at Team America personally. I guess TA has gotten inside both of their heads, as well as Seals'. A good morning's work.
UPDATED x2: Here is the letter that was sent to the university president, Henry S. Bienen. It's very well-written and notes that this issue has been covered by the Daily Herald. It also makes the point that while NU can't stop current employees from running for office, hiring an active candidate is another totally different issue for the university.
UPDATED x3: REPORT FROM SEAL U: Someone who signed up for the Seals class has volunteered as a new TA cub reporter (codename: SealTracker). Here are a few observations s/he made on that first night:
- A NU was security officer checking IDs outside 417 Wieboldt Hall
- There were other classes on the same floor without an NU security officer checking IDs
- Seals seemed nervous
- Seals either had someone who worked for him, a friend or something who seemed like they were there to help him or something
- Seals wouldn't allow a video camera to record the class
- The lecturer did not seem prepared and seemed more concerned about who the students were in the class which seemed troubling... I paid for the class and showed up ready, but the lecturer wasn't prepared for us and was more concerned about himself
- So this guy is running for office and it seemed like several of his supporters were in the class because several folks seemed to know the guy
- I think it is unacceptable that we didn't get a reading list
- He ended the class early
- When a few of us noticed after class that the NU security officer walked Seals out of the building and presumably to his car...we wondered if there was a security threat or what Seals was afraid of because the NU security officer was only walking Seals out and only checking IDs going into Seals class in 417 Wieboldt
- A few of us wondered, if this guy is a candidate for office, will he be having his campaign staff trying to teach the class, trying to get us to help him on his campaign
- This was just the first class hopefully next week we can have a good discussion and not have the distraction of the NU security officers and whatever seemed to be on Seals mind at our first class
So, there you have it, folks. Thanks to our new boots-on-the-ground source, SealTracker!!!
LINK OPPONENT NAMED: The Lake County GOP has announced its opponent against Terry Link, Waukegan businessman Keith Gray. Read the Daily Herald article here. Lots more on this to come.