October 24, 2006

THE CAMPUS LEDGER: Letter to the Community

This editorial was originally published in The Campus Ledger Oct. 19
Walking on the Ledge:I take it all back

by Miguel M. Morales

After quickly reading the 12-page report from Betsy Badger of Badger & Levings, LLC., into the allegations of unlawful harassment by former president Charles Carlsen, I knew I had to take it back.
I reread my story. I reviewed my notes and documentation. I again listened to my recorded interviews. I even revisited the letters Badger sent in May and July asking for those with information to come forward.
All that documentation convinced me to do something I should have done a long time ago -- take it all back.
So after a discussion with the staff of The Campus Ledger, here’s my letter to the community.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

With the authorization from The Campus Ledger I will re-open the investigation into unlawful harassment against former president Charles Carlsen.
Nineteen months ago, we began an investigation into the allegations of unlawful harassment against Carlsen.
The result, published April 13 in The Ledger, launched another four-month investigation costing almost $400,000.
Many who cooperated with Betsy Badger of Badger & Levings, LLC., who the Board of Trustees named as independent investigator have contacted The Ledger saying they felt betrayed.
According to the report, many of you came forward and some provided documentation at your own risk.
“Many we interviewed also said they were reluctant to talk to us because they feared the Board would learn who had made a negative comment about Carlsen or the college. We did not promise anonymity or confidentiality to anyone,” the report reads.
The report also goes on to say the investigators would reveal identities and other information at the board’s request.
Our investigation will offer what Badger’s could not -- confidentiality.
By offering this, we place ourselves at great risk because Kansas does not have a Shield Law to protect journalists from being forced to reveal their sources.
However, The Ledger staff has made this commitment.
Our risk will honor the risk you take in coming forward.
While Badger’s report confirms our original story, it also cites rumor and speculation.
“It appears that Lee enabled the release …”
“One person told us that a Ledger representative stated …”
Another misconception is that The Ledger refused to participate in the investigation.
Not true.
Investigators never asked for information from The Ledger.
In fact, I had to approach the investigators to ask why we had not been contacted.
Badger said she did not want to contact us because she knew I’d want to write about it.
That is far different from what appears in her report.
“We did not ask the Ledger how it obtained Lee’s typewritten narrative because representatives of the Ledger did not agree to speak with us off the record.”
Our report will investigate the culture of fear that, according to many, allowed the incident to happen.
Our report will talk to experts in the field.
Our report will reveal the names of publicly elected officials and their role in the incident.
Our report will reveal what Badger’s report did not.
We need those who participated in the investigation to contact us.
We also need those who did not participate.
I promise to protect you.
We just need to get at the truth.

Thank you
For your protection, do not make contact by using a JCCC e-mail address. Contact Miguel Morales at latinoreporter [[at]] gmail [[dot]] com or Send documentation to:
P. O. Box 4635
Olathe, KS. 66063