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Would Paul Mirecki Lie to Save His Job?

John on December 15, 2005 at 1:09 am

I want to note right here at the start that in all the posts I’ve written about Mirecki, I have not once accused him of lying. I have said that I find his story suspicious in both its timing and lack of concrete detail. Now, with that caveat out of the way, there is something in the latest story from the LJ World that caught my attention. [HT: Michelle Malkin] After Mirecki hired a lawyer last week and threatened to sue the university he issued a press release:

In a fiery statement to the Journal-World on Friday, Mirecki said he had “no choice about signing the resignation” and he pointed out the resignation letter was typed on stationery from the office of Barbara Romzek, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

This statement did not jibe with what the university and the press had been saying up to that point. Specifically, several stories indicated that Mirecki had agreed to resign after Profs in his own department asked him to step down. Still, at the time I thought that perhaps Mirecki really was being forced out the door. Certainly that’s the conclusion a lot of atheist bloggers jumped to. In a way, it was a repeat of my reaction to the beating. Surprise, but then I bought it. Well, I’m not buying it any more:

KU spokeswoman Lynn Bretz, in an e-mail to the Journal-World, said Mirecki met with Romzek on Dec. 6 to discuss the department’s recommendation that he resign from the chairman’s post. After the talk, Mirecki concluded he should submit a resignation, she said.

“At a computer in Strong Hall, away from his departmental office in Smith Hall, Professor Mirecki composed and typed the letter himself, with no one else in the room,” Bretz wrote. “He pushed the print command button, sending the letter to a printer in another room, next to a secretary’s desk. The letter was printed on the letterhead at hand. Professor Mirecki retrieved the printed letter from the secretary, signed it in front of the secretary and left it there.

Catch that? Mirecki typed the letter, printed it and signed it in front of a witness! But what’s really interesting is how fast his lawyer starts backtracking in light of the university’s statement:

“It’s not how he described things to me,” Brown said. “The point he made was very clear that the dean and another administrator made it clear to him that he had to resign.”

Brown said he had not done any work on the matter yet. He said he planned to meet with Mirecki again and discuss all of the details of recent events, do some research and determine whether there is basis for a lawsuit. Then, he said, he will talk with Mirecki to see whether Mirecki wants to go through with a lawsuit.

So Mirecki’s own lawyer goes from claiming Mirecki was forced out to suddenly — in response to the university statement — saying he hasn’t done any work on it yet and wants to confer with Mirecki about whether or not there is even the basis for a suit. Would Paul Mirecki lie to save his job? Well, it appears fairly clear to me that he lied to his own lawyer. So I think we have our answer.

Now let’s think through the sequence of events again starting with this:

In addition, Professor Mirecki had told at least one KU administrator on Dec. 5, following the departmental faculty meeting that day, that he felt the need to step down as chair.

Here is confirmation of what I first suggested in this post on 12/8. Mirecki was asked by his colleagues to step down at the Monday afternoon staff meeting. I noted at the time that according to the press this was a regularly scheduled monthly staff meeting. Therefore, given the firestorm surrounding him, Mirecki probably had a very good idea that he would be the topic of discussion at this meeting, probably from the time his “fundy” e-mail became public. Just days before the meeting, he cancels the class of his own volition. I think it’s very likely this was a last ditch effort to placate his colleagues and try to save his job. Then early Monday morning he gets beat up. He still makes class and the staff meeting, though. And as is very clear from his own press release, he expected the university would rally to his defense after the attack. But they didn’t. In fact, in press reports after the attack the faculty seem focused on getting back to business. They conspicuously don’t refer to the beating which had just happened. Instead of rallying to his aid, they ask Mirecki to step down. He then hires an attorney to get his position back and a matter of days later has a new story, i.e he was forced out. And as the university’s response shows, his new story isn’t true.

I think we have an increasingly clear picture of a man who knew he was in trouble, who knew exactly when the axe would fall, and who has — at least after the fact — been willing to lie to serve his own purpose. Whether the roadside beating could have been part of the failed effort to save his position, I’ll leave to the reader to decide.

Maybe it all happened just as he said, but for now I remain deeply suspicious of the “Evil Dr. P”.

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