Refutation of the disinformation about Monica Pignotti

Posts tagged ‘Diversity’

Monica Pignotti and Florida State University: Setting the Record Straight

As detailed in the lead article on this blog, I have been the target of an ongoing internet smear campaign for the past two and a half years, which has included the posting of highly defamatory fabrications about my life and career by individuals who are upset by my expression of concern and criticisms of the claims being made by proponents of certain mental health interventions.  The purpose of this posting is to set the record straight regarding my relationship with Florida State University (FSU). Here are the facts:

  • I attended FSU from 2006 to 2009 as a PhD Student/PhD Candidate..
  • I graduated from FSU with a PhD in 2009.
  • While I was a PhD candidate I was a teaching assistant and also independently taught courses at the College of Social Work to undergraduates.
  • All PhD Social Work Students and Candidates at FSU are paid a set amount every year for their first three years (at the time I was there, it was $12,000 per year, although it may be more currently). In exchange, the student is a research assistant for the first two years and teaches during the third year and in some cases later years for as long as they are a student/candidate.
  • All of my teaching at FSU was done under the above arrangement. I only taught as a PhD Candidate.
  • FSU Social Work has a policy against hiring their own PhD students as tenure track faculty and since priority for non-tenure track is given to existing students, once someone graduates, they do not teach at FSU, not because they were ‘fired’ but because that is the arrangement.
  • I have not been “fired” from FSU.
  • No student ever complained about my teaching. Since FSU is very diligent about giving their instructors feedback, they definitely would have let me know if anyone had.
  • I received acceptable teaching evaluations. Several students commented that they found me highly approachable, easy to talk to, kind, tolerant and open minded. One of the questions on the evaluation asked if the instructor was arrogant and 0% (none) of my students agreed with that statement (I mention this because the lie has repeatedly been posted that my students found me arrogant and dogmatic when precisely the opposite was the case).
  • I never, at any time, was involved in any kind of sexual misconduct whatsoever.
  • I never, at any time made any derogatory remarks about faculty, students or anyone else at FSU.
  • I left FSU in good standing in every way.
  • Since graduating from FSU, I have delivered a number of guest lectures to both Graduate and Undergraduate social work students at FSU, the most recent being two in October 2011. These were lectures that I was invited to give, something that obviously would not have been possible, had I been “fired”.
  • To anyone with a legitimate reason, I can provide references of people I actually worked with at FSU who can verify all of the above.

The following falsehoods have been posted about me and FSU:

  • The lie that I flunked out of FSU. Click here for proof that I graduated.
  • After I presented irrefutable proof from the FSU website that I did, in fact, graduate, the lie was posted that I was allowed to graduate only because FSU was afraid I would sue them. This is ludicrous defamation, not only against me, but also FSU. FSU would never allow someone to graduate out of fear of lawsuit. In fact, PhD students and candidates are evaluated on a yearly basis and FSU has not hesitated to dismiss PhD students or candidates who were not performing up to par. I passed all my evaluations, fulfilled all the requirements ahead of schedule and was the first in my particular cohort to graduate. My transcript, which I will provide to anyone with a legitimate reason for needing to see it, demonstrates that I fully and honestly met all the requirements, including a 3.9 GPA and passing my preliminary examination and dissertation.
  • The additional lie was posted that I graduated and then was “fired”. Again, this is false. All of the teaching I did at FSU was as a PhD candidate. I held no other position at FSU because, as I mentioned above, they have a policy against hiring their own graduates in tenure track positions and give priority to their candidates for all the others, so there are no open slots for graduates to teach there. The fact, verifiable via my references, is that I left FSU in good standing in every way.

The following absurd fabrications were posted about me and FSU. Although absurd and unlikely to be believed, I want to state them here, for the record, just to demonstrate how sick and ugly this smear campaign has gotten. I am not mentioning the names of the faculty members because I do not want to add to the way in which their names have already been denigrated.

  • The lie that I called a faculty member a “bag lady”. I would never call anyone by such a derogatory name.
  • The lie that I denigrated a faculty member for wearing sexy clothing and called her a “tramp”. Again, an absurd lie.
  • The lie that I propositioned two faculty members who are a married couple and that they reported me and had me fired for “voyeurism”. I was not fired and this is a complete fabrication.
  • The lie that I called for the end to the College of Education and that their dean asked to have me “fired”. On the contrary, I hold a certificate in statistics and measurement from the FSU College of Education and have never said anything negative about them.
  • The lie that I “wasted class time” talking about my experiences in Scientology and “time travel”. I have never discussed my experiences in Scientology with any of my classes, nor have I discussed “time travel”.  The only time I have discussed Scientology at all is when I presented some scholarly qualitative research that was done on it, which was a relevant topic of the course being taught.
  • I have also been denigrated by smear campaigners for talking about Thought Field Therapy (TFT). Since I have published research and other peer reviewed articles on TFT, this is a legitimate topic and in fact, I have been invited by faculty members to guest lecture to their classes on TFT and present the research I published in a peer reviewed journal, a controlled study showing no difference between TFT Voice Technology (VT) and a sham VT control group. I also was a guest lecturer, by invitation, to a group of PhD psychology students at SUNY Binghamton. Again, this was all by invitation by people who obviously found my work in that area of enough value to their students to want me to speak to them on that topic and I obliged them. The feedback I received on my presentations was very positive.
  • That I “wasted class time” talking about “being single”. Although I have done no such thing, what I have done is spent time presenting on discrimination and stigmatization against people who are single. Again, I have published research on this topic in a top ranked social work journal. This is a legitimate topic, given that diversity is part of the social work curriculum and in fact, I was invited by one of the FSU faculty members to speak to his diversity class on this topic.

These are the facts about my relationship with FSU. If anyone has further questions, I will be glad to address them.

Monica Pignotti Taught Multiple Perspectives on Feminism

I just can’t imagine who has the time to go through everything I have written online with a fine toothed comb and grasp at any straw they can to slam me. My guess is that someone with no other life is either devoting their life to finding anything they can to malign me or it is someone’s job. In any case, the latest in the smear campaign against me is an anonymous posting slamming me as “harassing students” for making the  following statement:

I am probably the only one in my department who exposed students in my diversity class to both the writings of radical feminists and the writings of more conservative feminists, such as Christina Hoff-Sommers (who I actually agree with
on a number of points) because I wanted them to have both points of view.

I committed what one of my cyber stalkers apparently considers the sin of actually exposing students to multiple perspectives on feminism in a diversity class. Imagine that! Not sure if this individual feels it is horrible I taught about radical feminism or horrible I taught about Christina Hoff-Sommers’ work (who is highly critical of radical feminism) or horrible that I gave students multiple perspectives and encouraged them to think critically about whatever they read. That’s the whole point. I don’t just teach perspectives that I agree with because the whole purpose of education, by my philosophy, is to teach students how to think, not what to think. In other words:

Teaching students how to think in a rational, critical manner, is education.

Teaching students what to think is not teaching or education at all; it’s indoctrination. If students just absorb material like sponges and then just uncritically regurgitate it back on some test to please the instructor, that is a complete waste of time and of the good money they are paying to get an education. Of course there are certain facts and skill sets that need to be taught and learned, but at the end of the day, it is how they think, not what they think, that counts and makes them a professional rather than a mere technician.

The final assignment I gave that class, by the way, was to have them pick a controversial issue, identify what their position is on it and then turn around and play devil’s advocate, producing the very best arguments they can find for the opposing position and then write about their conclusions and what they learned from doing so [I did this very thing on my potentially harmful therapies blog, by the way, when I gave the very best arguments I could possibly find for prone restraint and thoughtfully examined them]. I always graded students on the quality of their arguments and students who produced well-written, sound arguments got high marks, regardless of whether I agreed with their position.

It this is their best shot against me, someone must be getting pretty desperate. Talk about grasping at straws. And of course the post is continued with the usual untrue and completely unsupported assertions that I was fired from FSU and that I “ranted” to the class about various topics I did not. This is easily refuted by references I am happy to provide from people who actually worked with me at FSU. Who will people believe? Those who worked with me and know me or an anonymous coward? A real head scratcher — not.

Although I have yet to identify the anonymous individual is or individuals are who has been posting libelous material about me and yet lacks the courage to put his name to what he or she posts, it is interesting to note that whoever they are, have been literally flooding the internet with libelous and defamatory postings of all kinds about me since the dismissal of Federici v Pignotti. Perhaps whoever it is was unhappy with the outcome?

Just a guess on my part but it is interesting to note that during the three months this case was active, there were very few derogatory postings about me and even those were quite mild, compared to the overtly libelous ones that have been posted since March 4, 2011. And before anyone attempts to put words in my mouth, again, please note that I am not accusing Dr. Federici of making these postings, but whoever the anonymous individuals are seem to have stepped up their activities posting untrue statements about me since the dismissal. While a few might just be internet trolls jumping in on the action, it is a big stretch to think that all of the posters are just trolls, given the timing and the nature of the postings and that some had knowledge of things that were not in the public domain that a so-called “troll” could not have found out about by being online.

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