The long-awaited meeting of the University of California, Santa Barbara anthropology department to consider archaeologist Danielle Kurin's bid for tenure apparently took place in the afternoon of January 29.
Whether or not Kurin will actually get tenure has been a burning question for the archaeology community. Between 2016-2019 she was put on a three year administrative leave after a university Title IX proceeding found that she had retaliated against students who reported her then partner (and later husband) for sexual harassment. I have reported extensively on this and other allegations, and she has filed a $10 million defamation suit against me because of my accurate reporting about her.
I have only one source for the January 29 meeting, but it's a source I consider reliable in this particular situation: Kurin's own attorney.
In a letter to my legal team this morning, February 8, Kurin's counsel told us about the meeting, and then went on to conclude that I had a mole in the room who told me about it as it was going on.
What made the attorney think this?
By a pretty remarkable coincidence, just as the meeting was going on, I made a comment about the tenure process on Twitter in response to a query by a follower:
Someone on Kurin's team interpreted this comment, which was meant just generally (it is true that Kurin's tenure process is taking longer than usual) to mean that I had a source in the meeting, and that the source had told me that the meeting was taking longer than usual. Unfortunately, Kurin's team has jumped to incorrect conclusions.
Kurin is now demanding that I identify the nonexistent source in the meeting, and that if I don't, her team will go to the judge and ask him to compel me to identify the source. If I don't, we were told, they would ask the judge for sanctions and court costs.
Again, there is no such source. But Kurin's threat to file motions and seek sanctions against me is just one more example of the kind of tactics that I have had to endure as she desperately tries to stop both me and the survivors from speaking the truth. It has not worked up to now, and it will not work ever.
Update Feb 9, 2021: On sources.
As is clear from the above and previous events, Kurin has made it clear that she is determined to try to force me to reveal my confidential sources. For a journalist, having sources is not a bad thing, it's a good thing--and the more sources the better. They allow us to confirm and cross-check our information, and they give us tips for story leads that we should follow up.
What does it mean when a source asks to remain anonymous? Usually, it is because they fear retaliation or other negative consequences if they speak publicly. In the case of Danielle Kurin, many of her colleagues in archaeology, knowing her long history of retaliation, bullying, and litigiousness, have only talked to me under conditions of confidentiality. But they talk to me, because they too want the truth to come out.