- Rationale

Introduction

"We expect our professors to criticize each other, to debate, to question authority...the actions themselves fall under the realm of educational employment in a university setting...the actions themselves, the actions of criticizing, debating, and questioning authority do serve a legitimate purpose...". [Zeke Wiedenfeld, Court Commissioner, Walworth County Circuit Court]

My name is Chris Henige. I have taught art history at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater since 2001.

The purpose of this site is to provide all of the documentation associated with my experiences at the university starting in 2012 and carrying through to the present day. I will be starting with the current and moving backward through time, and more materials will continue to appear on this site over time.

The documents, audio and commentary contained in this site are all a matter of public record.

- TRO

Exhibit 99 - Jan 14, 2015 - Background

Email requesting agenda items for the upcoming meeting
Commentary:

After a brief exchange about access to historical public documents, I requested 12 additional agenda items, all of which were relevant to department business, and all of which were likely to make some people uneasy.

Exhibit 80 - Jan 17, 2015 - Background

Service
Commentary:

At 1:05 am, January 17, 2015, Walworth County Sheriff's Deputies pounded on my door, at home, and served me with a Temporary Restraining Order filed by Renee Melton.

Exhibit 81 - Jan 17, 2015 - Temporary Restraining Order

Substance
Commentary:

I have deleted the application form, as it contains information of a personal nature to both petitioner and respondent. The key language contained in the application relates to the harassment statute, cited by Melton in her opening paragraph: "Engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts which harass or intimidate another person and which serve no legitimate purpose."

Exhibit 82 - Jan 17, 2015 - TRO Annotated

Commentary
Commentary:

This is the same text as above with my interspersed commentary. Melton did not provide me with a copy of the "evidence" which she presented at the hearing two weeks later, so I will include the relevant communications below for your reference.

Exhibit 224 - Jan 27, 2015 - Dismissal

TRO Hearing
Commentary:

At a hearing in Walworth County Circuit Court, Court Commissioner Zeke Wiedenfeld dismissed the petition, concluding that my communications "serve legitimate purpose", and that "We expect our professors to criticize each other, to debate, to question authority...the actions themselves fall under the realm of educational employment in a university setting...the actions themselves, the actions of criticizing, debating, and questioning authority do serve a legitimate purpose...".

Exhibit 87 - Jan 17, 2015 - Aftermath

Emails to the administration following the filing of the TRO
Commentary:

The circumstances of my absence from the Department, and my voluntary relocation as a result are crystal clear. The Dean will lie to the faculty regarding that absence at the March 9, 2015 Department meeting (see below).

Exhibit 86 - Mar 9, 2015 - Aftermath

McPhail's Comments at the March 9 Faculty Meeting regarding my absence
Commentary:

This now infamous meeting featured Dean McPhail lying to the faculty about the circumstances of my absence. The "Post-TRO Documentation" file above demonstrates this. When he learned he had been recorded, he initiated a witch hunt to identify and prosecute the "offender", who legally recorded that meeting, and me for having "colluded" with them, in legally recording a public meeting. To this day, certain members of the faculty caught defaming me and behaving in other questionable ways on this recording persist in harassing and intimidating the individual who recorded them in an attempt to compel them to cease this lawful act. The administration has declined to intervene.

Exhibit 89 - Mar 9, 2015 - Aftermath

An agenda item - and the chair quits...
Commentary:

An attempt is made to get the "Meeting Rules of Conduct" document restored to the agenda, a document which purports to dictate how meetings are conducted, and a debate ensues. No one seems to understand why a document which purports to govern how meetings are conducted might need to be addressed before any further meetings are conducted. Yes, that's the chair quitting her post and leaving the meeting when directed by the Dean to add the item to the agenda. (Isn't that insubordination?) You may hear her saying to Mr. Porcaro on the way out that "I will not be scrutinized". The dysfunction of the department is once again laid bare.

Exhibit 88 - Mar 9, 2015 - Aftermath

Defamatory comments made by Wilk and Messer during the March 9 meeting
Commentary:

Wilk claims "harassment" "for years", by email, and yet I had no contact with her by email after December 2012, except a single email offering technical assistance. Messer similarly makes claims of "physical intimidation and threats", but cites not a single example.

Exhibit 264 - Mar 9, 2015 - Aftermath

Minutes for the March 9 Meeting
Commentary:

There is a notation that "Melton withdrew from meeting", but no mention that she quit her post as chair. There is also a list of business that was obviously never discussed. It would seem the intention here is to obscure the fact that rather than conduct business the department chose to discuss other things.

Exhibit 265 - Mar 12, 2015 - Aftermath

Ominous Message
Commentary:

I received an Outlook Invitation for the a meeting with the Chancellor (see header), and I asked what it was about.

Exhibit 98 - Mar 16, 2015 - Aftermath

Utopian vision espoused by Dr. Wilk
Commentary:

Dr. Wilk's statement is absolutely indicative of a philosophy that the only "safe environment" is one in which there is no conflict, no dispute, and everyone is allowed to do whatever they please. Her stated commitment to the students is belied by her actions, but her philosophy is a clear reflection of those same actions. I will do what I want, regardless of the consequences to my colleagues and my students, and your job is to be "positive, and respectful, and productive, and kind and supportive, and collegial." No, Dr. Wilk, it is not.

Exhibit 341 - Mar 29, 2015 - Aftermath

Faculty Thoughts on Recording Open and Public Meetings
Commentary:

This document was referenced in the exhibits to one of the complaints, but I only made an open records request for it in May, 2017. There are many remarkable comments, not least of which is Wilk's assertion that "I had an expectation of privacy at the meeting" - at an open and public department meeting. Perhaps if the Department spent all of its time conducting business on behalf of the students, and none of its time discussing internal personnel matters in open session, there would be less concern. If you don't want to be caught lying to and defaming your colleagues at open and public department meetings, don't lie to and defame your colleagues at open and public department meetings.

Exhibit 223 - May 1, 2015 - Aftermath

Restoration to the Department
Commentary:

I returned to my original office, had a new computer installed there, and moved some personal belongings into that office at the end of the Spring semester. Obviously the administration did not view me as a threat of any kind to the department.

Exhibit 97 - Aug 27, 2015 - Aftermath

Discussion in an open faculty meeting regarding the recording of those meetings
Commentary:

There is much discussion here about "breaches of trust", without noting the obvious fact that the person who did the recording did so because they didn't trust what was being said at meetings. That mistrust was not misplaced, and the only persons to speak out here are the ones who were embarrassed by what they did and said in those recordings. Voices, in order of appearance: Denis Dale (interim chair), Renee Melton, Susan Messer, Adrienne Foster. This is a clear attempt to quash the legal recording of meetings, and surely must constitute harassment of the individual who did so.

- Contents

Background
2001-2012

As You Read
Things to consider...

The Long Summary
A 28-page document summarizing the events of the last several years

All My Communications
(Those attached to complaints)

Initial "Complaint"
Filed May 8, 2013

Second Complaint
Filed December 30, 2013

Third Complaints
Filed September 5 and 15, 2014

First Kangaroo Court
December 29, 2014 to June 12, 2015

Temporary Restraining Order
January 17, 2015

Fourth Complaint
Filed January 26, 2015

Second Kangaroo Court
October 2, 2015 to January 4, 2016

More to come in between...

Appeal to the Regents
Filed July 29, 2016

Sixth Complaint
Filed September 4, 2016

Seventh Complaint (Seeking Dismissal for Cause)
Filed February 21, 2017

Third Kangaroo Court (Seeking Dismissal for Cause)
February 21, 2017 to present

Dismissal Hearing Video
September 8, 2017

Hearing Aftermath
After September 8, 2017

Proceedings with the Regents
October 27, 2017 to present

Positions Taken by the UWW
From the beginning to the present

Exhibits
Exhibits relevant to the Hearings