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State Dept- & Uni ELF Prog--DISCRIMINATION with a smile

 
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minsung_us



Joined: 15 Sep 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:26 am    Post subject: State Dept- & Uni ELF Prog--DISCRIMINATION with a smile Reply with quote

This post has been moderated UJ

This year, after considerable recruiting by the State Department and (Uni name removed), I made a solid application for a one-year English-language fellow, proclaimed by (removed) as "the most prestigious ELF in the world."

Please understand: I have several doctoral degrees, I have the M.A. in TFL required (or recommended, depending on a case-by-case review) for the program, have a good 15+ years of teach ESL/EFL and teaching international TFL instructors, and I have a number of first-class publications in the field in various international journals. Additionally, I have placed several of my students in this program (one with only the B.A. received a fellow last year).

I also have an issue of mobility--meaning that I sometimes use a walker or brace to assist with getting around (and then, only when mobility is especially difficult). I notified the recruitment officers almost weekly for some 8 months--just so that we could avoid any issue of placement in an area inaccessible. I was summarily ignored--save the promise on three ocasions that an answer of possible placements was to be forthcoming within the week. Nothing arrived.

I was, quite expectedly, interviewed--but the first 15 minutes were an attack on my credentials, followed by a request that I drop my application. I refused; the interview continued.

Several weeks later, I received word that I was on the roster to a particulasr country--that this was the only place I could be placed (since the GU chair had mis-evaluated my credentials) and that I would hear in 7 business days.

That one week became three months without response. When I was notified, it was by letter, stating clearly that I present "excellent credentials" (no surprise) and had had an excellent interview score. Sadly, I was told, my papers would not be presented to the country for acceptance. Why?

1) Questions of housing. (I already had a two-bedroom villa arranged by a professor and his family--and GU knew this.) Besides, offers for housing are made ONLY after the candidate is selected, as a rule.

2) Whispers that I was "crippled" were heard among the school administrators and they had complained (in fact, my papers were never made available to these administrators, and when I spoke with them, they were outraged to hear of such excuses. Remember: the school never saw my papers, so how could the whispers orignate? from where? why?)

3) Disabled (The American Embassy in this country stated in writing that because I was "deemed" disabled--without recourse to medical records, as required by their own process of selection--I would not have my materials presented for consideration.) Furthermore, one of the primary roles of an ELF person is to "teach" core values about American democracy--including equality of individuals and the nature of the ADA as law. Put differently, we are expected to say--with a smile--that there is no discrimination in this country and that it is not tolerated.

Cool Subsequent review by the universities abroad (when I presented my credentials via the country's embassy to the schools, I was quickly told that "I was clearly the most qualified of candidates" and "there was no issue with any disability from their side, given that several of theitr staff used motorized vehicles between classes.)

To these issues, please note: GU took over 4 months to inform me of a grievance process (after denying that there was a way of being heard) and took an additional month to sent me the appropriate contact to begin the process.

To date, I have had 2 teleconferences with the State Dept Rep--the first, where I present (verbally and in writting) full documentation of discrimination (both SD and GU have non-discrimination policies). The Rep agreed that I had been discriminated against, but time running out, would need to discuss further in one week. The second teleconference came to a halt when I said I would not accept "blame" in any way and asked that a resolutio to the issue be forthcoming--and no, I was not about to accept being slapped on the wrist just because I walk slower than some.

Thereafter, the SD Rep has cancelled 3 meetings with me, and last week GU suggested that I should "leave her alone" and find another avenue to express my disagreement with their policies. Obviously, a change in procedure at this late date is both arbitrary and capricious. That I was actualy placed on a roster where I was "already" deemed ineligible is clearly for all intents and purposes an issue of malice of forethought.

My question: what can I do? Legal advisers with two local law schools (including on in D.C.) are overwhelmingly supportive of my situation. They admit discrimination, acknowledge its illegality, and suggest that a full resolution (ideally, a placement) is in order.

Still, the SD Rep and the GU chair continue to ignore my e-mails or certified letters.

What can a person do? What can this person do?

Nothing, perhaps.

BUT I CAN STATE FOR THE RECORD (and I am wiling to provide full writen documentation on the case): the State Department-GU English Language Fellow is, at best, a sham akin to a bad conversational school in the middle of some of the worst worldwide. It has a LONG HISTORY OF OVERT DISCRIMINATION--without having to face the repercussions. And certain officers in the program speak openly of discrimination based on race and ethnicity (I was told one Black American professor has his fellow pulled once he appeared for work--this, after having jumped every hurdle and then some in the book!), marital status (namely, whether the WOMAN had children) and physical handicap (or whispers of the possibility of a slight problem with mobility).

IN SHORT, DON'T WASTE YOUR TME WITH THE APPLICATION OR THOSE INVOLVED WITH THE AFFAIRS OF RUNNING THIS PROGRAM. DISCRIMINATION IS WIDESPREAD AND OPENLY TOLERATED. WORSE, NO TWO REPS IN THE PROGRAM HAVE THE SAME INFO ON THE FELLOWSHIP--SO, MISINFORMATION IS THE NORM IN AN ARENA WHERE LYING AND DECEIT SEEM ALL BUT COMMONPLACE.

LASTLY, DON'T EXPECT TO SPEAK WITH ANYONE IN THE OFFICES: ONCE THEY LEARN YOU HAVE A COMPLAINT, THEY WILL SUMMARILY HANG UP ON YOU. I KNOW--I have yet to finish a conversation with anyone at GU without having this happen.

LIKE I SAID, why waste your time on a lengthy application that may just as well receive little or no consideration. Sad

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aardvark



Joined: 21 Jul 2008
Posts: 181
Location: Central Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just be thankful that you did NOT get hired by State Dept. ELF. Very Happy

I, too, found their hiring procedures to be inadequate and biased. When it comes down to the basics, $25K a year and a teaching job outside the U.S. is all they offer to graduate degree holders. I found the same arrangement with a private school in China (and they paid for housing!). ELF even questioned my mobility issues with a bad back.

I let the State Dept. hang onto my application to teach in Urumqi, China. They even scheduled a telephone interview. After I moved to Beijing, I sent them an email telling them "I was tired of them wasting my time" and I requested not to be considered for Urumqi.

Lo and behold, the Chinese are having problems with ethnic Uigurs in Urumqui, China. 8) Laughing
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minsung_us



Joined: 15 Sep 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 12:28 am    Post subject: UPDATE Reply with quote

The ACLU in my state reviewed all the materials available, including all correspondences and a list of some 75 telephone charges for calls to the appropriate program officers with the SD and University forementioned (the bills indicated that a one-minute charge occurred, time and again, indirectly suggesting as I had stated that I was unable to speak at any point with the individuals who insisted that we speak about these matters ASAP!) and rendered their "response," a summation of how they viewed the scenario as a whole.

Keep in mind, I had in July requested via certified letter a number of documents about acceptance statistics, all available upon request under the Freedom-of-Information Act (both SD and the University handling their EFL program has summarily ignored my request--and, by doing so, the law, as it stands.) These details would have only further bolstered my insistence on discrimination.

Be that as it may, the ACLU summation clarified that a number of very serious legal violations were PERPETRATED BY THE SD AND THE UNIVERSITY, among then, most obviously, willful discrimination and malice of forethought. Additionally, they noted that their was evidence in correspondences received from the University program director considerable evidence of arbitrary and capricious treatment of my application, as early as December, 2008 (when I first began discussing making an application).

CONCLUSION: Illegal discrimination did take place, but because the issue of civil rights violations remained "grey," they could not represent me. They did, however, agree to document in detail areas in the evidence where they found issues in need of ajudication. Because the first indication of discrimination took place as early as December, the time limit for filing a complain, however, has passed.

Still, there is a sense of justice in knowing that the ACLU recognized the egregious, even malicious treatment to which I was subjected.

Be forewarned. The EFL program with the SD and aforementioned University is simply not capable of managing their own staff and, not surprising, will do no more than waste your valuable time, deal with you in a most patronizing and demeaning manner (if they "deal" with you at all), and ultimately make life a "living hell" as you await a decision that has little or no bearing on your qualifications.

And do not allow their intimidations--of which there will be many--get the best of you. Better yet, just ignore, delete or otherwise remove them from your list of respectable, responsible ESL opportunities. The outcome is hardly worth the effort; to have your integrity impunged--and it will be, often--is indicative of a corporate/governmental culture that can do no more than bring shame to the very ideals espoused within the EFL program as it was originally conceived.
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