Professor allegedly banned from campus

(Courtesy of framingham.edu)

Finance professor Francis Kemegue has accused members of the business department of “rushing” him out of his position.

Kemegue said after confronting the chair of the business department, Patricia Thomas, he was perceived as a threat and asked to leave campus.

He said he is now on administrative leave and his terminal contract ends May 31.

He emailed some of his students on Thursday, Jan. 21 asking them to “vouch” for him and contact elected officials.

Kemegue alleges the root of the conflict stems from his application for tenure, which he submitted in September 2015. He alleges the following evaluation was “capricious.

“They would say great things about me, great things about my contribution. But in the end, they would argue that they did not think that I deserved tenure,” he said.

He alleged that somebody “violated the privacy” of the tenure process by speaking with evaluators, which allegedly led to a negative review of Kemegue.

Kemegue alleged he spoke with Thomas to “stand up” for himself.

In addition to being denied tenure, he said he was unhappy that she was allegedly “removing” or blocking him from committees on which “she knew I would contribute immensely.”

As a result of this conversation, Kemegue alleged he was perceived as a threat. 

He said, “The only thing I did was stand up for myself and explain that your current actions and your past actions are leading to me being excluded.”

Kemegue said he believes “the nature of the argument” against him to be racist.

“‘Dr. Kemegue did not present his work really well. Dr. Kemegue presents a threat’ – I mean, these are things that can be said about any black man,” he said.

When asked why he alleges the University and members of the business department perceive him as a threat, Kemegue said, “Maybe they will explain better as to why they think I’m a threat.”

Rita Colucci, chief of staff and general counsel, professor and former chair Sandra Rahman and Thomas both declined to comment.

As of Thursday evening, Linda Vaden-Goad, provost and vice president of academic affairs, had not returned a request for comment.

“The only threat I do represent, and I’m not ashamed of it, is intellectual threat,” Kemegue said.

After sending the email to his students, Kemegue said he received the letter asking him to leave the campus the following morning.

“I felt like my students, who actually know me from having been in my classroom, some of them for about four years in four different classes, could actually attest to my character,” Kemegue said.

In the email, Kemegue wrote that Thomas wrote a “capricious” evaluation of him, and that she “diffuses” his work while promoting others with “less experience and less publications.”

Additionally, Kemegue wrote in the email that Rahman “got me reprimanded for going to South Africa for a dissertation defense.”

He also alleged in the email that Rahman manipulated co-workers into giving him a “rushed” evaluation.

“My students need to understand that I was being bullied and mobbed,” he said.

“There were those students who appreciated me as a mentor and I thought they needed to understand in this particular situation that when they hear about Dr. Kemegue being mentally unfit, or Dr. Kemegue not having qualifications for his job, or that Dr. Kemegue represents a threat toward anyone, that all of that is not correct.”

Junior and former student  of Kemegue Campbell Marchant said he was a “good” and “fair professor” who was “targeted.”

Austin Gaudreau, junior and another former student of Kemegue’s, said he was a “nice and interesting professor.”

However, he did not feel it was appropriate of Kemegue to send the email to his students.

“I never really developed a great relationship with him and I feel as if other students felt that way, too,” he said. “So for him to ask us to vouch for him was very weird and uncomfortable.”

15 Comments on Professor allegedly banned from campus

  1. Alexandra, thank you. You cared and reached out to me. I really really appreciate that.
    To Campbell, thanks for your comment and good luck with Football. To Austin, it is okay to find my request weird. After all, the process was confidential, my interactions with students are limited to me being a faculty member who otherwise has his hands extremely full. The problem at hand is that no one at Framingham State would contest to my qualifications or contest to the quality of my work, yet I am rushed out at a place that values diversity and inclusion! That tells you that something is very wrong. I am being bullied with abuses of processes, just because I find myself in minority and antagonized against the articulated interests of colleagues who do not want to see innovation in the classroom, do not want to do research nor seek higher accreditation for our program. If I am not rewarded for representing the idea of that, at least I should not be punished. The situation is quite complex because protecting some other interests is the technology of abuse here. Injustice is done, the quality of education would suffer, yet no one cares because someone can always make a case for some other interests being protected. The expectation of those who abuse the process is that I either simply get another job and start over (I got my Ph.D. in 2005) or leave the country without redress when my visa expires. In a sense, I am discriminated against on racial grounds(stereotypical lies about an inefficient black male), and with no redress because of my national origin. Elected officials have the possibility to check into the matter and into how it affects many other people in my situation.The country stands for justice for all but elected officials technically respond to their american citizens constituents. Elected officials can look into the matter and Students are constituents of the elected official. Obviously not all colleagues would speak well for me. So, make sure they talk to Karen Druffel.

  2. I took multiple courses with Dr. Kemegue throughout my college career. I can say from experience that he is an extremely nice guy who is highly intelligent, and knows his stuff. I don’t think there is any problem with his character or his credentials.

    However, I can see why he lost his job as a college professor. The real problem has nothing to do with his character, or his credentials, (and definitely not his race) but rather his teaching methods. His courses are structured so that students don’t have to learn the material to succeed. More specifically, a typical course was structured so that students were told specifically what standardized test questions would be on a test, and with the assistance of a cheat sheet, students could write down solutions to all of the test questions in detail and use while taking the test. The only unknown factor on the test would be that he changed the numbers to the problems which are largely irrelevant once you write down the solution.

    With that said, one might argue that it is up to the student whether or not they want to learn from the test questions, or take the easy road and write down the solutions without attempting to learn or understand the material. To that I say that it would be nearly impossible to pass one of those tests without a detailed cheat sheet. Many of the problems (in Finance II especially) were extremely long (up to 25-30 minutes with a cheat sheet) and had very complicated multi-step solutions. We were given tests with up to 20-30 problems and were expected to finish them in under 2 hours. The sheer volume and complexity of the material necessitated a cheat sheet and greatly reduced the ability of students to learn from or even comprehend the material.

    On top of that, Dr. Kemegue was largely ineffective at lecturing and presenting the fundamentals of the subject matter in a comprehensive manner. He relied almost exclusively on powerpoint presentations which were very cluttered, and incomprehensible. Furthermore, the powerpoints that accompanied the textbooks provided little if any utility for solving the complex standardized problems for the homework/tests. It was as if the homework and the text didn’t match up at all in many cases. It really made me give up trying to make an honest effort to learn the material because the resources I was given did not help at all with what I needed to learn to pass the tests.

    In summation, Dr. Kemegue is an extremely nice guy. He is respectful to everyone, he is pleasant and friendly. He is properly educated and highly intelligent. There is nothing about his character as a person or his qualifications as an academic that should be questioned. He needs to restructure his courses so that students actually learn and retain knowledge. I wish Dr. Kemegue the best of luck in the future and I hope he gets another chance at things somewhere else.

  3. The opinion about ineffective presentation because of accent is absolutely incorrect. I am a big fan of structured writing, and structured presentations. I wish the writer to have gone trough 4 years of targeted bullying in all aspects of his or her life to see if it is not possible to find evidence of a bad day in a course in development. I can say that the writer compiles ideas but it is clearly not my student. I do not believe any of my students would buy in the idea that despite all his great work, Dr Kemegue did not deserve stability because of his accent. At best, he should hold an inferior position and write research papers for other faculty members, some of whom have slightly better accent. Smart students do not buy into these stereotypes:
    See my teaching philosophy here (about 12 years in the classroom to understand how best to deliver): https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/159f5657d4d9e6ed
    See Sample feedback from students here:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_0arOp_O3hBaVVMaUtvQ0Qzb1k/view

  4. Unfortunately, none of the accused members of the Business Department are going to comment on this story. Knowing both Thomas and Rahman, I can assure readers that each takes her job seriously and has provided great service to the university. The accusations of racism or the submission of a capricious evaluation lack evidence and are outrageous. Thomas and Rahman are women of extremely high character. It is disappointing that Kemegue chose to attempt to impugn their character. The yearly evaluation process provides faculty members with chances to address identified areas of weakness. If these areas are not improved to meet the standard, then the individual will not earn tenure.

    When an individual fails to meet the standards of tenure, it is always an emotional scenario. It is disappointing that Kemegue has chosen to attack his colleagues rather than evaluate how he can improve. The idea that any business faculty member viewed Kemegue as an “intellectual threat” is preposterous. The faculty members attempt to hire people of high intellect who will teach effectively and produce quality research. Kemegue would serve himself well by attempting to move forward and not engaging in character assassination.

  5. The only evidence in this message is that it seems obvious that Dr. Kemegue did not meet the criteria, and implying that it would be obvious and acting to hide or diffuse evidence is the thrust of racial abuse.

    Here is what the writer says :

    The accusations of racism or the submission of a capricious evaluation lack evidence and are outrageous.”

    “When an individual fails to meet the standards of tenure, it is always an emotional scenario. “

    “The idea that any business faculty member viewed Kemegue as an “intellectual threat” is preposterous. “

    What is preposterous is that the primary evidence is available:

    CV
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_0arOp_O3hBQTZ5OTBhRXhTVWM/view

    and a sample syllabus like this
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3or0xZaBZDAZzdfTVVOcVZXOEk/view

    and contributions like this
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_0arOp_O3hBcWFibDNJU3JtVFE/view

    and this
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_0arOp_O3hBZHBrc2NtNm40XzQ/view

    The secondary evidence is in the tenure evaluation letters and the respective responses to those evaluations with the associated grievances.
    There is no criteria and no standard for tenure that I did not meet. This is about bullying and evidence is available.

  6. When did anyone say you had ineffective presentations because of your accent? I certainly never mentioned anything about that. It had nothing to do with how you speak. I understood the words you were saying perfectly. The problem was the inefficiency in teaching the fundamental concepts of the courses. I took 4 courses with you. Succeeding in each course required students to learn how to do the quizzes, make a cheat sheet with detailed instructions on how to solve the problems and that was it. In Finance we were also required to fill in complex excel spreadsheets as well. My point is that I didn’t learn the concepts nearly as well as I could have because I spent more energy finding the most efficient ways to write down solutions to isolated problems that in most cases were extremely complex and didn’t better my understanding of the material. On paper maybe it appeared as if you were doing a good job given that students were passing these complex tests, but in reality nobody was actually walking away with any real substantial knowledge.

    There are a lot of great professors at FSU such as, Donald MacRitchie, Jorge Riveras, Zhe Li, Michael Paul etc… These professors all have a trait in common. They focus directly on the core concepts and lay them out in a very organized and methodical manner. They clearly explain the concepts so everyone can clearly understand them by pacing themselves and using examples. Students take notes on the core fundamentals and are eventually tested on those core concepts. Ultimately, students leave with a more lasting understanding of the subject. I learned a great deal from those professors.

    It’s not only the way you taught however, you also frequently came to class unprepared. You gave us quizzes with the wrong numbers posted on them so we wasted hours of our time struggling with material that was impossible to solve. You went to Africa one semester over Thanksgiving break and didn’t let anyone know you were staying an extra week (until we all showed up to class and got emails in 2 consecutive classes that you weren’t coming) and you still tested us on over 2 chapters of material you never even went over in class. Those are just 2 examples. I have many others.

    The reason why you got fired was because you were ineffective at teaching the material, and you also regularly exhibited unprofessional behavior. That email that you sent out to former students is clear proof of that. It’s frustrating hearing you cite racial reasons and outright conspiracy theories as to why you were fired. That’s disrespectful to Dr. Thomas being that (if she is the Dr. Thomas I’m referring to) she is a black woman. She gave you a bad evaluation because you’re an ineffective teacher, not because you’re African. Why would Dr. Tomas be racist against someone of her own race? Or maybe it’s Dr. Rahmen who’s racist? Have you seen her office? She has traveled all over the world and has items from numerous different cultures posted on her walls. She’s an extremely pleasant and kind woman who is nothing but professional. It saddens me to hear you attempt to throw these two women under the bus with nefarious accusations because you can’t own up to your own shortcomings as a professor. Not to mention dragging your own students into it with inappropriate, and overly revealing emails attempting to victimize yourself, and unjustly slander your former colleagues in the Business Department.

  7. Dear Anonymous, If I was that ineffective at teaching the material how come students say so many great things about my teachings?
    About coming to class unprepared, I am sorry, I do not have to walk around with notes to show you that I read from prepared materials; and random behavior of the technology has never prevented me from delivering my lectures. That is enough evidence of preparation.

    You need to know that I started being bullied even before the beginning of my job at FSU. It is not my fault if colleagues (some of whom knew me personally) were in a middle of a difficult transition, some faculty members wanted no change at all, and considered any innovation in research and teaching as making them look bad and kinda paving the way for higher level of accreditation that would impose research requirements on them. The result is the research centers that deliver no actual actionable results for the community because of their methodologies that learn nothing from other disciplines, and graduate programs that are struggling because the participation of some faculty members would make others look bad. As I introduced changes in my teachings, I wrote about them in my applications for reappointment, they were adopted by almost everyone and I should be praised for that. I was never nominated for anything because it would make those who abused me look bad.
    I am sorry if you are offended by the reference to racial abuse. Like you, I believe that all those people are actually good people. It is just that in the process of bullying me, in the process of sabotaging my academic career to teach me a lesson, they exposed themselves to saying things that were not true, but believable only as stereotypes on black males. When I actually politely stood up for myself they scrambled to find ways of saying that I looked threatening. Unless you agree with them, you should take it for what it is. Abuse of processes covered with racial stereotypes. Remember that teaching effectiveness is not the reason behind me being banned from campus. It is that they are somehow concerned about me being threat.
    Working hard to find isolated justifications to arguments such as “unprofessional” because you sent an email to former students or “ineffective teacher” because you devise a method for teaching extremely complex problems to finance students at FSU (Finance being a relatively difficult material that you make accessible to everyone), and that as announced in your expectations,you had to spend two extra days in South Africa to renew your visa (since your permanent residency is constantly sabotaged as you needed to be grounded to teach you a lesson). It is only because I am being bullied that there is a question about my teaching effectiveness. There were irregularities in my tenure process, It is very professional and responsible not to hide, and actually have elected officials look into the issue.

  8. In the context of bullying it sounds like Dr. Kemegue, you sir are the one acting like the bully. You talk about acting as a professional with high intellect, but based on various actions such as emailing students shows quite the opposite of professionalism. Part of any career advancement includes being able to take criticism to aid in personal development, not to take it as personal attracts on character. If the latter is the case then that shows a lack of humility and self awareness. The fact that former students are attacked for expressing their opinion is a shame as professors should not only be there to teach a particular subject matter but also help these young individuals develop as positive members of society. I hope students are able to learn that acting in this manner shows a lack of maturity and professionalism.

  9. For a fact, there were students in my classes who reported to the Chair. For a fact some colleagues wrote that they witnessed things that happened when they were not visiting my class. For a fact on 3 classes that I was teaching, all evaluators showed up one semester in a single class which was later taken away. Where were you when I quietly took hits since 2011? Have you ever been called a demon? Been rumored to be smelly and older than you really are? Is asking to check actual evidence so bad? What does high intellect means when my stability, my immigration and the care of my children is deliberately compromised by a group who is trying to teach me a lesson? There is absolutely no legitimately formulated advice that I did not take.

  10. If you want the hard truth, students gave you good reviews because you were an easy A. Your “evidence” on that front is easily debunked if one looks at the structure of your courses. I’ve laid it out very clearly multiple times now why your courses did not foster learning, and I feel it’s redundant to do it again. Also, if students really thought you were such a great teacher then why were they reporting complaints with the chair?

    I gave an honest attempt to give you constructive criticism in hopes that you could get a fresh start somewhere else and not run into the same problems again. However, it seems as though you refuse to take any accountability for any of the issues that have led to you not earning tenure. Instead you’ve opted to rely on false accusations and character assassination against your former students and colleagues. I guess I can take back my original comment about their not being an issue with your character.

  11. Hey I respect your comment even if it says that the majority who do not get an A in my classes are stupid. Always feel free to meet with me over a cup of coffee, I welcome open discussions and also respect your open support for my esteemed colleagues. I am bounded by my commitment to diversity and inclusion. Not fostering learning is a fraudulent misrepresentation that borrows on my national origin to obviously construct an opinion that would sound relevant for the objective of stealing my well deserved stability. It makes no sense to say you are great but not for FSU. Go spend a few more years figuring out another job and get your procedures copied and be bullied to a different line of work. You would be unprofessional and be considered a threat if you stand up for yourself. To prove that I am bullied, I can provide you with evidence of the complete opposite in any of my years of teaching. Think of what you said about me just giving quizzes, doing maths problems with wrong numbers kinda like not really being able to understand what I teach? Cmon this is 2017, and stereotypical constructions either planted (hacked exams) or Inconsistent(one time error) are offensive to anyone who actually puts honest effort in doing a good job. In my classes that have matured in level of preparation, the learning progression from quizzes to homework and exams is seamless. Students enjoy challenging customized versions of exams in Finance that they receive by email and can take from coffe shops with open books and even working in groups yet with individually customized exams. I can assure you that at this time I can do the same customization with cases in Business. I have recently required my students to write executive summaries on what they learned over the chapters just to make sure they could consistently articulate the learnings of value creation from the chapters. I developed all that while being abused in processes and being quiet about it. Colleagues now will do the same thing and claim in emails that they introduced new things that worked perfectly! Fine, but I do not help anyone by being abused in the actual process then being misrepresented to protect bullies who believe that affording me any visibility would make them look bad.
    I came to FSU because stability in life, in immigration and the care of my children were more important to me than advising Ph.D.’s dissertations. I would do no favor to anyone by letting a few established bullies make you believe that I am a fraud on the basis of stereotypes. Best,

  12. It’s pretty disappointing how you twist the words of others, and try to manipulate facts, and manufacture conspiracies to antagonize others and paint yourself as the victim. It’s not doing your credibility any favors. Thanks, but no thanks on the cup of coffee. This isn’t worth my time. Good luck.

  13. “twist the words of others”, and try to “manipulate facts”, : You mean that I should let you say that the only reason why students give me good review is because the class is an easy A yet 70% of the students do not have an A? That I should agree with you that fostering learning is something impossible to achieve by me even after 12 years in the classroom devising ways of doing it in subjects that have the reputation of being difficult? That I should agree when all what you find in me is kindness, raw and imperfect technical abilities but poor delivery… and not tell you that that is cliche? Despite all my evidence which other criteria of effective teaching in Finance do you think that I have not met?

    and “manufacture conspiracies” to “antagonize others and paint yourself as the victim”: Woah! No wonder why I am banned from campus. Who else have their job on the line? let’s keep things practical. My performance is way better than what you had in mind and I showed you some of the evidence and can show some more. Why did you not know about this before? and why do you think it is “unprofessional” for me to privately talk to my former students? Maybe I look unprofessional despite wearing suits more than my colleagues most of the time. Where do you get the “unprofessional” from?

    “It’s not doing your credibility any favors”: I may not have enough friends to make believe rumors that are not true, and my credibility can be as good as the smell of my deodorant. The point is that there is evidence of abuse of process and elected officials should take a look at it. No valid legal decision should be based on a contract that was abused. I am sorry if you feel that doing this way throw people under the bus, but covering up is actually really bizarre! specifically when you cover up by trying beyond evidence to say that my teaching is not effective because you have patchy facts collected over years that you interpret incorrectly and abusively, that I am unprofessional because I politely stand up for myself, not credible because you used the term conspiracy.
    The process and the contract are being abused and that’s against the law. This is a state school, have elected officials talk to me and to the school.

  14. Anyone who reads Dr. Kemegue’s own words in this comment section will be able to easily surmise why he did not earn tenure.

  15. Logic, The process was confidential, my comments shed some light on my perspective. I insist that all academic arguments used were stereotypical lies and I do have evidence for that. We should all be ashamed anytime that abuse of processes are perpetrated against a foreigner in the hope that as long as he is isolated and made despicable, he would have nowhere to seek for help and would be deported.

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