This past July, I settled a defamation suit against me, filed by University of California, Santa Barbara archaeologist Danielle Kurin in June 2020, as described in a blog post I published at the time. Kurin had sued me for my accurate and fully supported reporting about her history of misconduct.
Today I have sent the following notice to Kurin's attorney, David Scher of the Hoyer Law Group. The attachment referred to in this email is reproduced above.
October 20, 2021
Dear Mr. Scher,
Hi Folks, lots and lots of misinformation on this thread, and lots of cruelty between commenters.
To my students: I can understand how what you read about me online would make you scared and angry. If I read such things about someone I would feel the same way. But the overwhelming majority of what you read (especially the most abhorrent stuff) is just false (or at the very least it's been decontextualized to the point of being virtually meaningless).
If you feel scared or uncomfortable, just talk to me--bring a friend if you'd like. We can also arrange to have a mediator present. I just want you to be able to fully engage and enjoy the class and feel safe in our interactions.
I don't fake being a good teacher, I am a good teacher. I lift my students up because they are hard workers and good human being who deserve compassion and support. It's not an act. My 'charm' isn't a manipulative tactic. I do hold adults accountable, and I have a strong personality, and that has been the source of some tension--and you can see that frustration in the comments.
Let me be perfectly clear. I never harassed or abused anyone, nor did I ever enable or condone such behavior by anyone.
My alleged act of retaliation? I wrote an email to a third party that was totally unrelated to allegations of misconduct, that included a line saying, "I'm sure your reputation will precede you." That's it. My letter of censure -- the most mild form of punishment available -- came after years of a flawed investigation (during which time I was on leave, as is standard). The letter was rightly expunged from my record and I was granted those years back on the tenure clock, and my funding was reinstated. I was awarded tenure, deservedly so.
Update Oct 22, 2021: There are a great number of outstanding issues related to the Danielle Kurin matters, which I plan to cover in an upcoming blog post or series of posts, as necessary. In the meantime, I have pinned a thread to my Twitter page laying out what I see as the most important questions. I hope that blog readers will navigate over to that thread and share it if they like.
Afterthoughts Oct 23, 2021: The defense that Kurin posted on Reddit, reproduced just above, suggests that she is still refusing to take responsibility for her past actions, despite the existence of so much evidence that they took place. The blog entry linked to at the beginning of this post includes the full text of the Letter of Censure, which Kurin signed in agreeing to take formal responsibility for her actions. Although the letter was removed from her personnel file after three years, the charges brought against her by UCSB—the result of the university’s lengthy investigation—still stand as a record of what she did and what she acknowledged having done, which included multiple charges of retaliation against students. Readers should not be fooled by this clumsy sleight of hand and Kurin’s current efforts to erase the record.
Does Kurin's father hold some sort of influence over the Dean, Provost, etc?
At every turn, UCSB has disregarded the safety of their students, and now they have granted permanent employment to someone with a proven record of harassing students and enabling abuse.
As is clear from her latest Reddit posts, Kurin cannot restrain herself: even as she speaks of "compassion and support," she can't stop spewing unhinged vitriol about Michael Balter and others. No one is safe from Kurin's wrath.
The only good thing about Kurin violating the settlement agreement is that Michael Balter is now free to amplify his warnings against Kurin and her cronies. Since UCSB won't prioritize student safety, it's incumbent on all the archaeological community to protect students and warn them away from Kurin and UCSB.
This habit of Kurin’s making defamatory, predatory and abusive anonymous accounts should raise serious alarms over her mental stability. She seems to think that she can continue to do this free of consequence, but she is wrong. Others are watching and keeping account and will not hesitate to act, whether by taking the evidence to her employers or reporting her to the police, when the time comes.
And yet former university and field school students, UCSB Title IX investigation, the Institute of Field Studies, and your own actions during the lawsuit and now, all make it “perfectly clear” that you did do all the above, and continue to do so.
To first commenter--I think you hit the nail of the head. I know of no other junior assistant professor who gets to keep their job and awarded tenure after being barred from teaching for three years and stripped off of all their graduate students. And this after being found RESPONSIBLE (not using the “G” word so please do not sue me) by more than one investigatory committee for retaliating against students, apparently on more than one occasion on and off campus.
None of this is “mild form of punishment” by any academic standard, like she tries to convince her students who may not know otherwise. And those insane Tweets that she admitted writing, full of Nazi connotations and bloodcurdling threats on a fellow author, educator, and a #MeToo advocate? I mean professors these days are getting sacked for much much less, and even without all the direct evidence we have in this case.
One thing she’s right about -- she’s just some middling ECR and another dime-a-dozen bio-archaeologist of South America, so it’s not extraordinary academic credentials that influenced those decisions to keep her around. No sir, something else is going on and it is certainly not rooted in our collegial impartiality or institutional due process.
Is it the webmaster just dragging their feet or maybe someone up there is saying let’s just give it a few days and see what she does next
Also why is the BABL lab still locked or password protected?
And don’t give me that culturally sensitive bullshit. The bioarcheology lab site used to be open to students at least up to fall 2019
Where her predator husband was still listed there as an Affiliated Research Scientist months and years after the UCSB and IFR investigations
With the university website widely promoting his research
Heck, even looks like they’re preparing!
“Read Goddess&Bull. Cultural Imperialist Ian Hodder revealed as serial philanderer & gatekeeper; exploited sexual /pwr dynamics w/ vulnerable female students & staff; treated his many intimate partners, children & locals terribly. Why idolize a despicable man?”
Of course none of these views are expressed by Balter in his book, so these must convey Kurin’s opinion of Hodder. He really ought to sue her for defamation.
Does Kurin know something about Ian Hodder that the rest of us are unaware of? If so she should speak up, now. He is scheduled to lecture to teenage kids about Catalhoyuk at a Cotsen event next week.