Following is a statement by Lisa Troyer, former chief of staff to University of Illinois President Michael Hogan.
Nineteen months ago I was so excited to be joining the University of Illinois — a world-class institution with world-class scientists, scholars, and artists. The University has more than its share of Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer winners, and it's thrilling to be among them; but I also know that many other faculty, staff, and students work hard and quietly, generating equally important creative works, life-changing discoveries, and new scholarly insights on age-old problems. To me, this is the core of the University of Illinois — it embodies the Midwestern ideals of compassion, hard work, humility, thoughtfulness, and innovation.
Lately, it hasn't been easy for me to recognize these characteristics that I'd missed so much while I was away from the Midwest for a few years. I didn't write or send anonymous emails, and there's substantial evidence supporting that fact. Over the last months, I've been devastated by the mishandling of the investigation and deeply disappointed with some who've perpetuated lies and disseminated misinformation. I try to remind myself that it's really only a handful of individuals who are engaging in the seemingly relentless and misinformed crusade against me. I try to instead focus on the many supporters who've expressed acknowledgement that I had nothing to do with this.
But when I read irresponsible, inaccurate statements that appear designed to hurt me — such as those by people like Associate Professor Joyce Tolliver, Professor Michael Moore and his co-authors, and Professor Harriett Murav — it's almost too much to bear. I want to set the record straight by sharing all I know, but I'm bound by confidentiality.
When I initiated the ethics investigation, the investigators and I agreed to keep details of the investigation and identities of those involved confidential. Although some have violated their promises of confidentiality to me, I've chosen to respect the promise. Accordingly, there's very little I can state publicly at this time, even though I believe revealing more would go far to quell the blood thirst that's rampant among some.
Because of the confidentiality agreement, I cannot publicly disclose the verifiable details that question the credibility of the investigation. I cannot publicly share the exculpatory facts omitted from the report, or specifically challenge the unsubstantiated speculation, irrelevant information, and many inaccuracies in the report. There's no such thing as "due process" under these circumstances. And the absence of due process is exacerbated by the irresponsible and seemingly deliberate lies publicly perpetuated by Moore with his co-authors and signatories, as well as Tolliver, Murav, and others.
For instance, Moore and his co-authors accuse me of being "coy" about my denial of responsibility and cite my relative silence in this matter as aimed at ensuring "job security." Tolliver suggests that my silence is related to protecting others. These accusations are inaccurate. As an initiator of and participant in this ethics investigation, I'm not permitted to publicly disclose details of the investigation, including its many flaws. The fact that these investigations are confidential is well-known, and the fact that Tolliver, Moore and Moore's co-authors ignore this seems deliberately intended to inflict harm.
To suggest that what's occurred has been orchestrated for my benefit is preposterous. I was not "elevated" to a tenure position after resigning as chief of staff as asserted by Moore and his co-authors. I've been tenured at other institutions since 2001, and attained tenure at UIUC in 2010 through the same process as all faculty — department, college, and campus review (including review by the provost and chancellor), with approval by the Board of Trustees. This is a matter of public record. Yet, Tolliver asserts I was granted a tenured faculty position without consultation with Interim Provost Wheeler, and Murav asserts that it was never vetted with the chancellor or interim provost. There are only a few reasons why Moore and his co-authors, as well as Tolliver and Murav would knowingly promote such a falsehood.
These may seem like trivial points to some. But to me, they are facts upon which I can comment that speak volumes about the nature of the investigation and the subsequent handling of the matter. These are examples of verifiable facts twisted to suit the narrative of a contingent set upon my destruction. They are examples of lies being publicly disseminated as gospel. I expected a higher degree of diligence, devotion to the truth, and restraint from individuals like Tolliver, Murav, Moore, his co-authors, and the others jumping on their bandwagons.
Despite everything that's happened so far though, I still believe that the University of Illinois is a wonderful place, resplendent with Midwestern compassion and integrity. My belief is reinforced by the many kind colleagues who have quietly and kindly reached out to offer support and convey their faith in my innocence. They number more than the few publicly spreading lies. But even their compassion and faith in me doesn't erase the pain of being routinely and publicly maligned by a few with questionable motives. It doesn't take away the hurt and frustration from adhering to my promises of confidentiality, while others selectively violate theirs. And it can never remove the sadness of seeing the career I spent 25 years building ripped apart as the result of a mishandled and misreported investigation and the lies others are perpetuating to exacerbate the situation. I'm heartbroken that at my reputation has been irreparably damaged by what's transpired. I'm dismayed that the University is being portrayed so poorly by a few who consistently seek a public spotlight to willingly and relentlessly spread lies. Yet, I still believe in the University and the majority of people in this community. I can only implore upon this majority to strive for more than this; to instead strive for truth, for accuracy in investigations and the reporting of them, and for respectful treatment. Reserve judgment until all the facts are before you, and don't rush to condemn simply because a relatively small number of people publicly spreading lies may make it seem easy or popular to do so.