Thursday, April 3, 2008

Northwestern University Students Claim Dan Seals Has Jeopardized NU's Academic Reputation (UPDATED x3 with Class Report)

Dan Seals probably thought that "Professor-Gate" was going to quietly go away after he finally started teaching his night class at Northwestern University. Sorry, Danno, no such luck.

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.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those students writing the letter are absolutely correct. Northwestern University is embarrassing itself and its reputation.

Seals clearly is not embarrassed by this. He has been busy promoting himself as an adjunct professor for nearly a year now. His web site still refers to this title.

Now he is finally teaching a class. No one is allowed to record his pearls of wisdom? Kids have to show their student ID's to get into class? Is this true? Do they have guards in front of every classroom and lecture hall doing the same thing?

Does Northwestern get any federal funding for research? If so, do they not have to disclose their political activities? Like supporting Seals in his quest to fool the voters into thinking he is an "adjunct professor?" Is this why Northwestern has now deleted references to the Seals candidacy?

Questions, questions, questions! And no answers forthcoming from Seals.


Louis G. Atsaves

Anonymous said...

Yes, Lou, Northwestern receives a great deal of federal money. I hope that this whole issue opens up a lot of interest in this issue. Are you saying that ID's are required to enter his classrom? While I'm sure that security measures are in place in most instances, it would seem more than unlikely that ID's are required to enter each Northwestern classroom since it's a huge venue, as you know. Let's get some answers to all of the very thoughtfully relevant questions you are asking. Let's get them NOW.

Team America said...

According to reports (see comments on the last post), there was an NU campus cop checking IDs at the door before the beginning of Seals' class on Tuesday. I doubt this is SOP over at NU.

Anonymous said...

TA:

Seals is so "popular", he had cops checking everyone for IDs at the door of this class.
Unemployed, unqualified and now with cops keeping people out.
...And this guy is already a one-time loser.

Get a job and go back to Chicago.

Publia said...

Time for Dan Seals to deliver a major and controversial speech to take the heat off!

Does posting the security person qualify as an in-kind contribution to a political campaign?

No syllabus, no reading list, and did not keep the class for the full period? This is only one baby step above ghost payrolling, that's for sure. Glad I don't have a degree from Northwestern!

Anonymous said...

I just spoke to a Northwestern undergraduate student who told me that he has never been asked for his student ID when entering a classroom. So what gives? Did you so frighten The Pup, TA, that he paid for guards to check ID's? I'd hate to think that the University paid for these dudes to stand guard and protect this 'lecturer' from outsiders! If this wasn't such a slam at the prestigious Northwestern University, it could be funny. No comment from The Pup. No comment from Northwestern. Let's keep the pressure on and see who finally has the decency to own up to this most recent debacle.

Anonymous said...

TA:

So Seals has his first class and calls the cops to protect him from the public!

I was at Kirk's town hall, hundreds came -- some happy and some sad -- and no cops anywhere.

Anonymous said...

TA, the letter from the Northwestern Student Leadership is well done, to the point, and requires an answer from President Bienen. To say that he didn't know about this won't suffice. The 'buck' stops with him as president. As an aside: what's the salary for teaching these 10 sessions? Any idea?

Anne said...

Seals is one slippery guy:)

http://backyardconservative.blogspot.com/2008/04/slippery-seals.html

Anonymous said...

Mark controls Northwestern's federal funding-no joke, if I were them, the last thing I would do is hire the opponent of the man they depend on for federal dough. Revenge is a dish best served....

Also top schools, which Northwestern is clearly not with this stunt, usually only hire former Ambassadors, Senators and Congressmen to teach classes, not congressional interns.

In most campaigns you can get a lot of mileage out of this by taking the next step which is to call on Dan to release his taxes, as Kirk has to do every year. You put out a daily press release, slam Dan for not being ethical and ask him to do something he won't, because it will show a) he doesn't live in the district and b)who he owes political favors to.

The media will pick it up because it's a serious ethical matter, and they love corruption stories.

Simply put, how does one afford to live on the North Shore for 3 years without a job while raising 3 kids and with 2 sets of student loans?

Anonymous said...

Seals called the cops to protect his class?

Pathetic

Anonymous said...

What D’Angelo and Upton left out in their article may have said as much about the reason for their complaint as anything else: D’Angelo is the current president and Upton the vice-president of the university’s College Republicans organization.

Team America said...

Anon 9:53- if you're going to plagerize another blog, at least credit them: Clout Street

I think the more interesting part of the Clout Street post is that Seals refused to comment, and that it was noted that Seals has been under heavy criticism for weeks, and it's not going away.

Anonymous said...

If a line in Seal's resume is what Kirk is basing his campaign on, he's in deep doo-doo.

Mr. Wolf said...

Anon 10:10
I think Dan should be worried that his resume only has one line and it's a lie!

Anonymous said...

TA,

Very interesting spin by Arch Pundit -- yet false. I actually know people who worked for Jeff Smith in St. Louis. Jeff Smith was never a professor at Washington University. Also, Jim Talent started teaching after he was elected -- and the Democrats in Missouri flipped out!!! Do a google search for Talent professor controversy and you'll see why Arch Pundit is more than a hypocrite.

joe mccarthy and the red scarecrows said...

TA:

In response to the temper tantrum Arch Pundit is throwing, a few comments:

1) He says it is the same for Seals to call himself an adjunct professor OR lecturer.

Not true. According to the Daily Herald via NU, he is a lecturer:

"But Seals doesn't begin his position as a part-time School of Continuing Studies lecturer until April, a Northwestern spokesman said. Shrugging it off as a miscue, Seals has started calling himself a lecturer in public forums, though as of Tuesday afternoon, his Web site still listed him as an adjunct professor.

"What it might show is I don't know what the proper terms are," said Seals, 36."

So, Seals knows he shouldn't be referencing himself as a professor, but two months after the fact he won't stop.

2)ArchPundit isn't READING the Faculty Handbook. You can't give your NU title unless you make clear you don't speak on behalf of the University. In order to comply with the rules, Seals would need a disclaimer on his Web site, mention it in public speeches, etc. It's inconvenient I know, but it's NU's rule to make sure people don't abuse their title. Like what Seals is doing. But I guess you can't abuse a title you don't actually have.

Team America said...

Joe- I think it's pretty clear ArchPundit doesn't care about the NU faculty Handbook; he didn't care about the point of the post at all. He (of the "Frank Burns" mentality) and Rob N. at Illinois Reason (who has now turned his sights on Anne Leary of BackyardConservative... big mistake, that) are simply trying to redirect attention by obtusely missing the point and falling back on personal attacks to protect their guy from what could develop into an absolute s**tstorm.

If they figure out at NU who made this pitiful and improper hiring decision (which it may become clear was politically motivated), and his/her head rolls, Seals' may follow for failure to follow the policy.

Being fired from NU would be a pretty serious blow to his campaign credentials, considering it's 50% of his usual bio ("Dan Seals is a business consultant and adjunct professor at Northwestern University").

Chris said...

I've gotta agree with ArchPundit on this one. But I also think Seals would have been better off to leave any sort of reference to "professor" off his bio.

Team America said...

Chris- if Seals left off the 'professor' gig, what else would he have to sell? He's done virtually nothing to benefit the 10th District since he ran last time.

And, I really could not care less what ArchPundit thinks (who, if I am a partisan, is equally guilty). I care slightly more about what MSM says, but the real test (and decision power) lies with the voters. We'll see what they think of all of this.

Anonymous said...

Placement of a security officer is a reasonable precautionary measure because nut cases like you and your lunatic disciples may be capable of almost anything. NU, at least in my last experience, didn't find it necessary to have metal detectors. The poison pen you and your cronies wield can incite even mild mannered folks into extreme acts.

Team America said...

Well, I don't know that I have any cronies or disciples, but it's nice to know I'm getting through to someone out there, as your comment indicates...

Seriously, you guys are pretty thin-skinned to be talking about "poisoned pens" all of a sudden. Clearly you are not familiar with Ellen of the Tenth, who wields an instrument of such bile and venom that it would long ago have killed any mere mortal, but luckily Mark Kirk is made of tougher stuff than your average Congressman. It looks to me like the Dems can dish it out pretty well, but can't take much.

How does it feel to be on the receiving end for a change?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:26,

I'm not a Republican, and I agree with TA on this one. Seals is inflating his credentials, and that is dishonest.

Anonymous said...

Looks like cops protecting Seals's class (and no one else's) is an illegal in-kind contribution from NU to the Seals for Congress campaign.

Anonymous said...

TA, I'm glad that you called out the posters who think that you have 'disciples' or something worse that would disrupt or otherwise intrude on The Pup while he's 'teaching'. The nice thing about your posters is that there's civility here, unlike what that sicko catwoman spewed on a daily basis. You and we are calling it as we see it: others will see the truth as well. What's The Pup afraid of? And yes, that kind of security detail would be an in-kind contribution from Northwestern to the Seals coffers.
This just continues to get more an more interesting. By the way, TA, any word from anyone down there in Evanston? This little story made it into the national edition of House Race Hotline today. Now people nation-wide will know all about The Pup! Not sure it's the kind of publicity he was seeking.

Anonymous said...

TA,

If I were the Student Government students who wrote the letter to Bienen, I would seek an ASG investigation into student tuition funds being used to finance a private security detail for a political candidate. Has any faculty member at Northwestern ever been issued a detail in school history? Is Dan Seals paying for this service or is the university using student tuition to do it? What are the stated security threats -- or is this to keep reporters away during a campaign?

biggus dickus said...

TA,

Do we know how many people are in the class? And what is the breakdown of campaign supporters v. real students? In other words, how many people is Dan Seals actually teaching?

BD

Anonymous said...

I would not want to be a Northwestern faculty member, student, employee, or lobbyist right now. How dumb are you to hire the opponent of the man who controls your federal funding? After Mark wins November 4 and they pass an appropriations act good luck getting any funding. HAH!

Also Dan, like Jeremiah Obama has no public service record to run on and has done diddly for the district, and since the man has never had the time to move into our community to spend 5 minutes on a school board it is dead on to question his ethics. He's a conniving man that wants $200 for passing go, without going around the board.

Since we know he has had no job all winter and lives a fancy life on the North Shore it is now time for the State GOP to call on him to release his tax returns from the last 4 years in the name of the ethics he preaches but does not practice.

Also we should make sure that he has no interns in the class and his campaign reimburses Northwestern for the security since students shouldn't have to waste tuition dollars on his morass.

Team America said...

Hi everyone- a couple people have raised some factual questions regarding Professor-Gate, so I will do my best to answer, to the extent I can.

Campus cops: I don't know if the Seals campaign plans on reimbursing NU for the patrol, or if this is going to be a regular weekly thing. As far as I know, no one that was not enrolled in the class tried to crash. But someone I exchanged e-mails with today implied that Seals requested the cop because I suggested here that people who were not registered for the class should show up. What I said on Sunday was:

"The class itself is at Wieboldt Hall at NU, Room 417. I'd encourage everyone to show up, but I'm assuming that NU would not appreciate those who have not signed up for the class (and, more importantly, not paid) attending just for kicks."

I think that the statement was: 1) clearly tounge-in-cheek; and 2) I believe what I essentially said was, even though it would be funny, don't go if you're not registered.

But, the real point is, if Seals is so scared of a few gate-crashers at his class that he has to hire extra security, what kind of Congressman does he think he's going to make? If anyone doesn't think TA has gotten inside Seals' head, I guess you'd be mistaken...

Next, someone asked how many were in attendance. According to SealTracker, it was around 18 or 20. At least a few people appeared to SealTracker as if they knew Seals well or were associated with his campaign. Interestingly, some Seals NU supporters wrote to the student newspaper today to 'protest' the protest letter we wrote about in our post. Wonder if any of these students are in the class...

Next, someone asked if NU administration has made any statements. As far as I know, the president has not answered the student letter (dated March 18th), and no one from NU has made any formal statement on the issue.

What that tells TA is that they are circling the wagons because someone made a politically motivated hiring decision of an unqualified instructor, and then did not make Seals comply with the policy, so they are deciding either whose head is going to roll, or how to cover it up. Considering someone also recently edited the Seals bio to remove his candidacy information from the school website, either someone is going to get caught out, or the administration is conspiring to protect Seals.

joe mccarthy and the red scarecrows said...

If I had any compassion for Seals (which I don't) I'd feel sorry for him.

For 9 more classes he's got to stand before all those faces, knowing that there are people in the room waiting for him to screw up.

Who is it? The woman in the front row? The guy in the back? Everywhere, spies! Guess that means no handouts, no homework and no record of anything lest it fall into enemy hands.

Seals should take a lesson from my second grade teacher - pop in a Disney movie and turn off the lights. And pray that summer break comes soon.

Happy teaching, Professor Seals. Hope it was worth it.

Anonymous said...

I love this. People losing their homes and jobs, Iraqi government is collapsing and we have no clue how to extract ourselves, we're in debt up to our eyeballs to the Chinese and you're talking about this stuff. Don't stop.

Team America said...

Anon 7:17- don't fret, Congressman Kirk is out there, attending to all of the ills of the world that you have outlined, and more. If you paid attention to the news, you would know that. Seals, on the other hand, is a do-nothing, has-done-nothing (except lie) and will-do-nothing.

Our guy has the solutions--your's doesn't have jack, except a propensity to pad his resume and live off his campaigning. That's why we are intent here on exposing Seals--so Mark Kirk can continue his work on behalf of the people of the 10th District.

BTW, we are not bringing to light anything that Seals has not brought on himself. Too bad, Seal Pup. I'm with Joe McCarthy- no sympathy deserved!

Anonymous said...

Pup, on top of all this, when are you going to release your tax returns?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:17. TA is correct: Seals has done zilch in 3 years to show that he's even aware that there are problems in society, let alone right here in the 10th. This pathetic person lives off the largesse of Dems who send support to his campaign. How special. What HAS he done these past 3 years to help with all the problems facing the less fortunate? Has he found time to volunteer? Has he come up with anything other than the talking points supplied to him from the local Dems to show that he even understands a fraction of what Mark Kirk has been helping to solve each day? We know the answer.

Sorry, Anon 7:17, your guy is a rank amateur with nothing to show for himself over the past several years. Nobody on this Blog has made statements that aren't verifiable. Get over it: your guy is a real loser.

Anonymous said...

Seals could end all this criticism if he just made his tax returns public. Sure the resume puffing would still be there but at least we would know if he is really an honest hard working citizen of the wait, which district does he live?

Anonymous said...

Here’s a question: Did he paid taxes on the huge check he wrote himself from his own campaign?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:17 here. Hey, I'm loving it. Please, keep your focus on this. It's obviously the number one issue among voters in this election cycle, much more important than the mess (Iraq and economy) you've left us with.

biggus dickus said...

Anon 7:17,

I know you hate America and everything this nation stands for and I know you only read Daily Kos to get your news, but back in the real world, even the New York Times reports on how we are winning the war in Iraq.

Sorry. I know how much you wanted 4000 Americans to have died in vain but history has other plans.

BD

Anonymous said...

TA, I apologize in advance since this is way off topic, but just read that Evanston lost a native son this morning. Charlton Heston passed away at 83 last night. He was also a Northwestern student. Now there's someone with a resume.

Condolences to the family.

Anonymous said...

BD, why is asking that we have an intelligent conversation about Iraq and the economy mean that I hate America? What are you afraid of? Maybe your username says it all! How embarrassing for you.

Jackline said...

Hi Nice Blog .I think HR understands the importance of other people tracking time--IT, Lawyers, non-exempt employees, but struggles with the idea of employee time attendance.