Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tracey Owens Patton: Remembering a Racist, Iowa State University Faculty Terrorist

Posted by Nicholas Stix

I’m posting this because I followed up on the charges in this and other articles at the time, interviewed representatives from both the campus and the Ames, Iowa police departments, and published my own investigative report in Middle American News in late 2002 or 2003. Both police departments confirmed to me that no white supremacist groups existed on campus or in Ames proper. However, neither of the police officials I spoke with would come out and say that Patton had lied. I haven’t re-published my MAN report, because I have yet to find the old storage disk or drive it’s on.

What happened was that Patton would constantly rant in class, in which she would lie and say that innocent black men all over the country were routinely arrested and railroaded into prison by racist police. Graduate student Jay Gardner made the mistake of challenging her with Justice Department statistics (from the Bureau of Justice Statistics) that debunked her lies. She retaliated by defaming Gardner, lying to ISU officials that he was a member of a (non-existent) white supremacist group and claiming that her life was in danger, and lying about both the campus and city police, in order to get Gardner expelled from her class.

The ISU administration completely backed up Patton, and refused to even consider Gardner’s counter-claims.

Based on what I have seen of similar cases in graduate teacher education programs and professional diversity training workshops, I believe that Patton was not only engaging in classroom indoctrination, but laying a trap for any student with the integrity to call her out on her racist lies. She was looking to destroy such a student, and make an example of him.

Meanwhile, rather than Tracey Owens Patton’s gross misconduct having short-circuited her academic career, it seems as if she were rewarded for it. Shortly after Patton terrorized Jay Gardner, ISU and other schools and academic organizations began showering her with honors and promotions.

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EDITORIAL: Geoffroy ignores lies
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Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2002 12:00 am
EDITORIAL:Geoffroy ignores lies
By Editorial Board
Iowa State Daily

Someone is still lying, and ISU President Gregory Geoffroy doesn't care.

Graduate student Jay Gardner was removed from a journalism class on ethnicity and gender in the spring semester at the request of the assistant professor teaching the class, Tracey Owens-Patton.

Among other complaints and reasons for removing Gardner from her class, Owens-Patton told university administrators that a sergeant with the Department of Public Safety told her that Gardner was a member of a white supremacist group. She claimed campus police offered to place officers outside her class room for her protection.

But when asked, Sgt. Gene Deisinger has said he knows of no white supremacist groups on campus, though he has declined to say what, if anything, he told Owens-Patton.

This situation clearly represents a fundamental problem. Someone is lying.

As part of the reason to get him kicked out of her class, Owens-Patton told administrators that the police told her Gardner was a member of a white supremacist group. The police have said that the group he allegedly belonged to doesn't exist. Either Owens-Patton lied to the administrators, or Deisinger is lying now.

This is a problem because this university is either employing a professor who would make up dire police warnings to put the screws on a student whose opinions she dislikes or a police sergeant who will lie through his teeth about matters of public interest and safety. That fact will not go away. It has to be one or the other and neither is appealing.

Understandably, neither the campus police or Owens-Patton has made any move to clear this up. I'm sure both parties would prefer this stand-off of fact be swept under the porch and forgotten. Apparently Geoffroy feels the same way.

It is reported in today's Daily that the ISU president has decided he will not review Gardner's appeal of his removal.

Geoffroy declined to investigate the charges of racism leveled against Gardner because his personal beliefs were not the reason he was kicked out of the class.

That may be, but what about the obvious dichotomy between what Owens-Patton and Deisinger have publicly said? Why is Geoffroy ignoring this? Simply because it's easier to do so than to find out the truth?

This is disappointing behavior from a president who has until now dealt wisely and openly with the university's struggles and missteps. He has called for a review of private gift accounts in response to the declining trust in the ISU Foundation. He has kept furloughs and firings off the table while dealing with the budget crisis.

The Gardner situation is a different type of challenge, one that calls more for a display of conscience and integrity than of sensitivity or statesmanship.

Someone is still lying. Geoffroy should care.

Editorial Board: Dave Roepke, Erin Randolph, Charlie Weaver, Megan Hinds, Rachel Faber Machacha

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