Excerpt from a letter I received, printed on Mike Larson’s law firm’s stationery and sent with registered mail in August 2013:
“The board decided to review the communications process around the procedures for the removal of art to ensure that our member artists, and anyone connected with artEAST, are treated with dignity and respect. We believe a policy of respect is central to our organization and have decided to formally embrace this goal. As such, after considering the matter in executive session, the board convened to a regular session and adopted a Core Values Policy as follows:
This policy aims to ensure our core values, good reputation, and positive behaviors and attitudes are maintained. It assists us in assuring that every person involved in our organization is treated with respect and dignity, and is safe and protected from abuse. This policy ensures that everyone involved at artEAST is aware of his or her rights and responsibilities.
artEAST will establish procedures that support our commitment to eliminating discrimination, harassment, and other forms of inappropriate behavior. As part of the commitment, artEAST will take disciplinary action against any person or organization bound by this policy if they are found to have breached it.”
With abusive people in positions of power insulated from accountability, a “policy” such as this is a sham. Its purpose is to give the impression of respectability; to provide a cover for clandestine activities and to bolster the perpetrators’ immunity . A self–policing clique is never good government. If their strategy is to silence and get rid of anyone who reports a violation, as they are trying to do to me, artEAST leadership will never need to “…take disciplinary action against any person or organization bound by this policy…” because no one in their own ranks will ever be “… found to have breached it.”
“Power without oversight is a prescription for abuse.”
One need not look very far to see that there is plenty of evidence to support psychologist Philip Zimbardo’s conclusive statement from the Stanford Prison Experiment. Let us have unambiguous rules, systems of accountability, and whistleblower policies in all of our organizations.