UPDATED: UI lifts Rosenstein's suspension after State Farm Center incident

UPDATED: UI lifts Rosenstein's suspension after State Farm Center incident

UPDATE, 8:15 p.m.:

CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois will allow Professor Jay Rosenstein to return to his normal academic duties without further penalty following four weeks on paid leave, though he will not be teaching this semester.

Rosenstein, a professor of media and cinema studies, was placed on leave Jan. 23 while the campus investigated his arrest the night before at an Illini basketball game, where he was accused of following members of a pro-Chief Illiniwek group into a bathroom and videotaping them. He was released from the county jail the next morning after the state’s attorney’s office declined to charge him with a crime.

“The review is completed and Professor Rosenstein has been returned to normal duties,” UI spokeswoman Robin Kaler said Friday. “The dean has shared with him the expectation that he is not to videotape anyone in restrooms or in manners that violate applicable laws.”

State law prohibits the unauthorized videotaping of another person without consent “in a restroom, tanning bed, tanning salon, locker room, changing room or hotel bedroom.”

A documentary filmmaker, Rosenstein had argued that he was acting as a journalist gathering footage for a story about whether State Farm Center employees were helping the person who dresses up as Chief Illiniwek at UI basketball games, which would violate university policy. The Chief was retired in 2007 after years of criticism from Native Americans and others who consider it a racist mascot, a fight documented in Rosenstein’s documentary “In Whose Honor?” about Native American imagery in sports.

”I knew all along I would be totally vindicated. The whole thing was garbage from the beginning, nothing but an act of political revenge,” Rosenstein said in an email Friday. “I just wish The News-Gazette had had the basic decency to allow me to comment before letting someone label me as a sex offender and a pervert without any opposing view.”

Initial reports quoted a Facebook post by Ivan “Alex” Dozier, a member of the Honor the Chief Society, who claimed Rosenstein had tried to “catch me with my pants down” in the restroom.

Rosenstein emphasized that he did not videotape anyone “in a state of undress,” which the UI seemed to reinforce on Friday.

“It’s important to mention as well that during the course of the review, the information that was gathered does not suggest in any way that his conduct in the incident at the basketball game was motivated in any way by a prurient interest,” Kaler said Friday. That determination was based on interviews with witnesses and others, not just Rosenstein, she said.

* * * * *

Critics had called for stronger action against Rosenstein, especially given the possibility that others could have been inside the restroom.

Dozier called the decision “yet another case in a long line of disappointment from UIUC. I fear I won’t receive justice without taking matters into my own hands. I think the community should be outraged, and if the chancellor won’t fire Rosenstein, perhaps they both need to go.”

Dozier said the university talked to him during its review but failed to interview other witnesses at the State Farm Center that night, including Cruz and Breelyn Fay, another Chief supporter who said she alerted security after seeing Rosenstein go into the restroom.

Kaler said the university “reached out to everyone who witnessed the alleged incident” in the bathroom. “They had the opportunity to talk to us. Some of them called back.”

Cruz claimed he was not contacted and said Friday he wasn’t surprised by the decision, as “the university wants to avoid any confrontations or scandals.”

“I’m sure the university, hopefully, did a thorough investigation,” Cruz said, but also added that he didn’t believe Rosenstein’s explanation.

“He could have gone about doing this a different way without getting himself involved in this situation,” Cruz said. “I have nothing against Mr. Rosenstein. Hopefully, this serves as a lesson for him to use his power of being a professor at a university a bit more wisely.”

A faculty member who had criticized the campus for placing Rosenstein on leave without due process said Friday he was thrilled by the UI’s decision.

“I think it’s a total vindication of everything that everybody has said all along, that this was not a proper move on the part of the chancellor and the administration to impose a so-called nondisciplinary suspension on Jay,” Professor Bruce Rosenstock said. “This was wrong from the beginning and should never have taken place.”

Rosenstock and other faculty, and the American Association of University Professors, had argued that Chancellor Robert Jones failed to follow set procedures for disciplining a tenured faculty member, as outlined in the University Statutes.

Jones argued that paid administrative leave was not a disciplinary action but a way for him to look into the issue to decide what, if any, action to take. He said it was allowed under state personnel law and was warranted given the “fundamental right of privacy” involved in the case of someone videotaping in a restroom. Rosenstock and others said the state’s personnel code didn’t apply to university faculty, who are covered by UI statutes designed to protect academic freedom.

* * * * *

Rosenstock said he has drafted a resolution for the campus senate to ensure that the scenario isn’t repeated.

He also believes there were no grounds for disciplinary action by the UI, given that no criminal charges were filed against Rosenstein.

“If Jay’s behavior fell under any kind of possible criticism, it was criticism from within the journalistic community,” he said. “It’s not a breach of the responsibility that he held as a teacher.”

Rosenstein will not be teaching his documentary filmmaking class for the rest of the semester. Kaler said he and his department head met and determined that “it is far enough into the semester that it would be disruptive to his students. He will be assigned other duties this semester.”

Rosenstein thanked the dean of the College of Media, Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko, and department head C.L. Cole for “their unfailing support throughout this nonsense ordeal, as well as so many others who have always known well the kind of person that I am.”

Through a spokeswoman, Chodzko-Zajko and Cole referred questions to Kaler.

John Bambenek, a part-time UI lecturer who represents the Illinois Community College Board on the Illinois Board of Higher Education, criticized the decision Friday and promised to review “what other options are available to protect student safety.”

“Putting Rosenstein back in the classroom without sanction is a gross abdication of the University’s responsibility to protect students,” he said.

* * * * * * * * * *

Original story, published 2:51 p.m.:

CHAMPAIGN — The University of Illinois will allow Professor Jay Rosenstein to return to his normal academic duties without further penalty following four weeks on paid leave.

Rosenstein, a professor of media and cinema studies, was placed on leave after his Jan. 22 arrest at the State Farm Center, where he was accused of following members of a pro-Chief Illiniwek group into a bathroom and videotaping them.

He was released from the county jail the next morning after the state's attorney's office declined to charge him with a crime.

"The review is completed and Professor Rosenstein has been returned to normal duties," campus spokeswoman Robin Kaler said Friday. "The dean has shared with him the expectation that he is not to videotape anyone in restrooms or in manners that violate applicable laws."

State law prohibits the unauthorized videotaping of another person without consent "in a restroom, tanning bed, tanning salon, locker room, changing room or hotel bedroom."

Rosenstein, a documentary filmmaker, had argued that he was acting as a journalist gathering footage for a story about whether State Farm Center employees were helping the student who dresses up as Chief Illiniwek at UI basketball games. The Chief was retired in 2007 after years of criticism from Native Americans and others who consider it a racist mascot. Rosenstein's documentary, "In Whose Honor?" recounted the battle over Native American imagery in sports, including the Chief.

Some critics had called for stronger action against Rosenstein, given the presence of a student in the restroom — Chief Illiniwek portrayer Omar Cruz — and the possibility that others could have been inside as well. But faculty members criticized the campus for placing him on leave without due process.

"It's important to mention as well that during the course of the review, the information that was gathered does not suggest in any way that his conduct in the incident at the basketball game was motivated in any way by a prurient interest," Kaler said.

She said that determination was based on interviews with witnesses and others, not just Rosenstein.

Rosenstein will not be teaching his documentary filmmaking class for the rest of the semester. Kaler said he and his department head met and determined that "it is far enough into the semester that it would be disruptive to his students. He will be assigned other duties this semester," she said.

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BruckJr wrote on February 23, 2018 at 3:02 pm

Now there's a surprise.

CommonSenseless wrote on February 23, 2018 at 3:02 pm

"It's important to mention as well that during the course of the review, the information that was gathered does not suggest in any way that his conduct in the incident at the basketball game was motivated in any way by a prurient interest," Kaler said.

Well that's funny, because the statute doesn't delineate prurient interests as an element of the charge.

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on February 23, 2018 at 4:02 pm

Two sets of rules here.

 

One for rich white guys who are Professors at the U of I

 

One for the rest of the chattering classes.

 

Good to be a rich white guy today huh Jay.

 

Good to know that the Champaign County and the U of I are bound by ones class and social standing to make decisions.

UIUCHoopFan wrote on February 23, 2018 at 5:02 pm

And the Golden Parachutes continue to be handed out to the Lucky Sperm Club!  Another good example to use in the annual and madatory Ethics Training on campus!

UIUCHoopFan wrote on February 23, 2018 at 5:02 pm

And the Golden Parachutes continue to be handed out to the Lucky Sperm Club!  Another good example to use in the annual and madatory Ethics Training on campus!

CallSaul wrote on February 23, 2018 at 5:02 pm

It's always so endearingly cute when rightwing trolls try to appropriate progressive arguments and terms for their own reactionary arguments...

...they always do it so clumsily and ham handedly and they seem to know it but they just don't seem able to grasp why or how their appropriation breaks down into laughable farce...

Cops and prosecutors have wide discretion that they use multiple times every day when deciding whether to charge or even arrest someone for a technical violation of the law.

When doing so, they obviously take many factors into consideration. Because they're a part of our society that still has obvious and deep seated problems of racism and bigotry of various stripes, sometimes they take irrelevant factors, such as race, education, economic status, immigration status, etc, into consideration.

But the cops and prosecutors can also take very legitimate factors, such as intent, into consideration as well. The cops decided to arrest him despite his clear lack of purient intent based on his technical violation of the law. The SA decided not to prosecute him for that violation and that decision seems clearly motivated by his lack of purient intent.

That is how the system is supposed to work.

 

CommonSenseless wrote on February 23, 2018 at 8:02 pm

It's pRurient by the way, and prurient intent isn't a required element of the crime. So the irony in this case is the lack of bemoaning with regard to racial injustice and white privilege because the offender is a member of a certain vocal minority with absurd political ideologies. HYPOCRITES!

CallSaul wrote on February 23, 2018 at 8:02 pm

ooooohhh::::::chills::::::man...total:::chills::::::

Epic spelling smackdow, dude...epic...

Did it make you feel like a Big Man (al least for a short while)...?

Equally hilarious is your pose of sudden concern for the treatment of black Americans at the hands of the whole criminal justice system. You and cjw should take you act on the road. I know a few places where it'll be a big hit...

While you have your dictionary out, look up whichever word in the phrase prosecutorial discretion is giving you such a hard time...

 

CommonSenseless wrote on February 23, 2018 at 9:02 pm

While reading my dictionary, or was it ABA standards, I also find conflict of interest and improper bias both of which preclude discretion...so try again cup cake.

CallSaul wrote on February 23, 2018 at 9:02 pm

Hahaha...that's quite a non sequitur...

So counselor, just what are you alleging: conflict of interest, improper bias or both...?

What's your evidence for each charge?

Be specific...

annabellissimo wrote on February 24, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Sorry to intrude but it's just a suggestion: I think it's best to ignore CallSaul and the other variants of his persona because what seems to motivate his/her obsessed, aggressive, relentless attacks are his/her ability to provoke others. He provokes, they/we respond, he is titillated by his imagined "power" and it goes on. Ignore him/her and one might find more peace of mind and, one hopes, he/she will wither on his pathetic, little, angry vine and like a raisin, drop off. That's doubtful, especially given the various personae that embody the same attitudes as he/she does, but at least you might raise your chances for peace in your own mind. He/she provokes many of us, but I'm trying to ignore him/her as a kind of Zen practice; it's not easy because he/she is quite crazed and obsessed, but I'm trying. So that's my suggestion to you and others. Pretend he/she is not there and seek peace and sanity through ignoring their opposite.

CallSaul wrote on February 24, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Yah, how dare I point out your sanctimonious hypocrisy for whining about me supposedly calling names in between your voluminous bouts of nasty personal attacks against anyone who dares to disagree with you...

How dare I point out your delusional sockpuppet conspiracy theory lies about other posters and me being the same person. As if it's just unthinkably impossible that more than one person could possibly disagree with your unquestionable wisdom and insight...

Are you gearing up to go on another drunken rage fueled comment spamming spree now...?

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on February 23, 2018 at 6:02 pm

If this had been a poor black kid doing this he would have been charged .... no questions asked.

 

You are so biased you cannot see that.

 

The rest of the world can.

CallSaul wrote on February 23, 2018 at 7:02 pm

I'm assuming, as with so many of your obsessively stalkerish comments, this is a response to me...

You obviously either didn't read or are simply choosing to misunderstand and misrepresent what I wrote.

But you posing as newly concerned about how black youth are treated by the police is really really really funny. Please don't stop with it...

...in addition to being hilarious, it puts on display your clumsy ham handed willingness to try to bend any and all issues into what you at least seem to believe is something that approaches a persuasive argument...

This makes an interesting addition to your comment history, dripping as it is with so much nakedly ignorant racism and bigotry...

More, please...

Illiniwek222 wrote on February 23, 2018 at 9:02 pm

Head down to the basement, Sollie. Esteban has the popcorn ready.

Former UI Supporter wrote on February 23, 2018 at 10:02 pm

#1- We need a new State's Attorney. Did anyone look into Ms Reitz's relationship with this "man" that may have affected her decision to not proscecute? We should make sure she doesn't win an election for dog catcher or any other office.

#2- The Chancellor has demonstrated with his past actions that he does not measure up to the demands of the job. Better get your vita sheet updated, Sir.

Unfortunately the silent majority that support the Chief is going to have to become a violent mob to show the university that there are consequences to their  placating this small group.

The first step is to stop all donations of any type to the U of I. Second, tell a friend. Third, tell a business. Fourth, tell a corporation.

 

 

CallSaul wrote on February 23, 2018 at 11:02 pm

You're really calling for moldy old racist ex mascot chicken feather 'chief' mascot clingers to become a 'violent mob'?

The racist old defunct ex mascot hasn't been the mascot for over a decade now. If there was some massive majority of people clamoring for its return, it would have happened by now.

But there's not and so in response you call for violence to try to impose your will on the rest of us...?

Charming...

The racist old ex mascot will never be the mascot again...

...deal with it and move on already.

 

John Dixon wrote on February 23, 2018 at 10:02 pm

Four weeks of paid leave for a UI Professor, that's an oxymoron and a joke.

Kmac wrote on February 24, 2018 at 10:02 am

A person's opinion regarding chief illiwek has absolutely no relevancy to this case. The instructor broke the state law. Period. His guise of academic freedom should not allow him to break the law. There is no "total vindication" regarding this matter. It was wrong morally and ethically. I would not pay for this man to teach me or a member of my family after this incident. The university should be ashamed to allow this man to continue his employment. He should have been procecuted and made to resign. Right is right, wrong is wrong. He is wrong. What would have happened if anyone would have recorded the chancellor in the restroom? The dean may have chasticized him for this behavior, proving his behavior was inappropriate, but this punishment should have been taken to the next level.

Kmac wrote on February 24, 2018 at 10:02 am

A person's opinion regarding chief illiwek has absolutely no relevancy to this case. The instructor broke the state law. Period. His guise of academic freedom should not allow him to break the law. There is no "total vindication" regarding this matter. It was wrong morally and ethically. I would not pay for this man to teach me or a member of my family after this incident. The university should be ashamed to allow this man to continue his employment. He should have been procecuted and made to resign. Right is right, wrong is wrong. He is wrong. What would have happened if anyone would have recorded the chancellor in the restroom? The dean may have chasticized him for this behavior, proving his behavior was inappropriate, but this punishment should have been taken to the next level.

Common Sense wrote on February 24, 2018 at 10:02 am

"Return to his normal academic duties."

Sounds like they are telling him that recording people in the restroom are his normal duties.

Are they going to issue him a new camera as well?

787 wrote on February 24, 2018 at 10:02 am

Rosenstein continues to lash out and blame everyone else for his stupid decisions.

Is anyone surprised by that, at all?  He has no idea as to what "personal responsibility" is.

Decisions have consequences, Jay.  You're what, 60 years old, and you still don't get it.

Just another idiot living under the protection of tenure, and the threats made by the AAUP.

BruckJr wrote on February 24, 2018 at 12:02 pm

The relationship between Reitz and the perv is pretty clear.  Both teach at the University and both attend the same synagogue.

CallSaul wrote on February 25, 2018 at 3:02 pm

What, exactly, is you point in mentioning they both attend the synagogue...?

Don't be so coy and cowardly about it --- just come right out and say it...

annabellissimo wrote on February 26, 2018 at 1:02 am

What their religious affiliation is has no bearing whatsoever on this case. Introducing it as you did seems to reflect an attitude of yours, and nothing of any of the parties involved in the situation. If you are referring, however obliquely, to an anti-Semitic attitude of your own, then it needs to be said: their religious affiliation, what kind of house of worship they attend, what their religious beliefs are, or none, are completely irrelevant to this case.

BruckJr wrote on February 26, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Not irrelevant.  Reitz should have recused herself from this case due to her relationship to the accused.  Not only are they colleagues at work but both worship at the same small synagogue.  If she was objective she would see this as a perceived conflict, as many community members do.  She should have handed the case off to a prosecutor with no relationship to the award winning journalist.

CallSaul wrote on February 26, 2018 at 7:02 pm

I think you --- along with anyone else our nazi loving president Trump would call 'very fine people' if he saw you marching with torches and shouting 'Blood and Soil!' and 'Jews Will Not Replace Us!' --- are the only ones who perceive anything approaching a conflict of interest here...

The mask is off. This is what Trump loving rightwing reactionaries --- who also, naturally, love the racist old 'chief' ex mascot --- really believe...

Absolutely disgusting...

...but also absolutely predictable...

 

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on February 24, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Two sets of rules for you right Jimmy?

 

Leftist Hillary supporter filming in bathroom?

 

doing nothing wrong

 

Republican doing the same thing?

 

Jimmy would be baying at the moon until hell froze over

 

Dont try and deny it Jimmy.  You are  a one trick pony

ShampooBananarama wrote on February 25, 2018 at 2:02 pm

Wow, bravo University of Illinois! You can illegally shoot video in a restroom (if you have an agenda), not get charged, not get suspended, and now less work without having to teach this semester, and continue to collect your government salary of $120,654.44. 

I'm sure College of Media donations are going from low to non-existent now, if that's what they support, with their "interim" questionable "leadership"

BruckJr wrote on February 26, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Duplicate.