Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Susan O'Malley and Barbara Bowen Should Take O'Malley v. Karkhanis to Judge Judy

Susan O'Malley, a former officer of the Professional Staff Congress and part of the inside clique that dominates CUNY's university faculty senate and the Professional Staff Congress, has filed a law suit that aims to suppress Karkhanis's speech and academic freedom. Karkhanis is the editor of a newsletter, Patriot Returns, that has been critical of O'Malley and of the PSC leadership.

On October 23 I contacted PSC president Barbara Bowen with the following question:

"Dear President Bowen: I am working on a blog about the O'Malley v. Karkhanis law suit. I was wondering if you would care to comment on it. In particular, what is the role of "collegiality" in O'Malley's decision to sue; and do you believe that law suits are an integral part of collegiality?"

"Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D."

However, President Bowen has not responded.

According to the Sun, O'Malley has described her own case as "very silly". I hope O'Malley's attorney is aware that "silly" or frivolous law suits are wrong.

I have contacted the American Association University Professors' interim general secretary Ernst Benjamin with the following inquiry:

>"Dear General Secretary Benjamin:

"Has the AAUP taken a position on Susan O'Malley's lawsuit against Sharad Karkhanis, a retired King's County Community College professor? (KCCC is a division of the City University of New York.) The New York Sun ran an article today about the case, which I have copied below. I understand that the Professional Staff Congress contributes to the AAUP. As well, Susan O'Malley is a former Professional Staff Congress officer. Moreover, Karkhanis has been critical of the PSC as well as of O'Malley in his newsletter, Patriot Returns. In addition, O'Malley is near retirement and is not likely to have suffered any financial or any other damage whatsoever from anything Karkhanis has said. There would seem to be little reason for this law suit other than to suppress Karkhanis's speech and academic freedom and to serve the personal interests of the Professional Staff Congress's leadership, notably Barbara Bowen and Steve London, who would benefit financially from the case if Karkhanis's speech is suppressed and he is no longer able financially or legally to criticize them, enabling their reelection to union office.

"My question is whether the AAUP would be willing to intervene or voice an opinion in this matter since the law suit seems to serve no important civil purpose and seems to be primarily a pretext to suppress Karkhanis's speech and academic freedom on behalf of the PSC leadership?

"Thanks for your thoughts. I am putting this inquiry and your response up on my blog."

Perhaps, given O'Malley's statement to the Sun that the case is silly * or frivolous anyway, she her attorney would be well advised to remove the matter to a more appropriate venue: Judge Judy. The venerable judge's entourage of deadbeats and back-rent-complainants would be suitably complemented with Professor O'Malley's claims.

* "Ms. O'Malley, reached at her home in Brooklyn, said she did not want to discuss the case. "It's all very, very silly," she said."

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