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Lana Rakow, UND professor and former director of the School of Communication, was on the stand all day Tuesday in U.S. District Court, testifying about the events that led up to her termination as director.

Chain of events

On May 6, 1996, she met with UND President Kendall Baker to outline her  concerns about  Dean Jacobsen and about the prospects for the school's regaining accreditation. Rakow testified that she asked for this meeting "knowing I had been told by the dean not to meet with President Baker." One of Rakow's charges was that the university violated her right to free speech. Rakow said that the purpose of the meeting was to ask the president to intervene in a troubled situation. She also asked that the department's budget and authority over the budget be restored. This is important because one of the criteria of accreditation is that a dept. have control over where its money is spent. She also requested that the president terminate Dean Jacobsen's authority over Rakow and the school outlining verbally  point by point how Jacobsen undermined her ability to do her job.

On June 3rd, Rakow sent a memo to Jacobsen accusing him of sexual discrimination. She also raised other issues saying Jacobsen had created a "climate of fear and intimidation." Jacobsen had been holding secret meetings with other school faculty members without informing Rakow. Further, Rakow was force to follow different protocol than male staff members.

On June 13th, Rakow received a message from Baker saying her letter had been forwarded to the university counsel as it had raised the issue of discrimination. 

On July 22, Rakow's lawyer, Tom Fiebiger received a dismissal of Rakow's allegations and concerns by the committee. 

On July 23, then provost Marlene Strathe sent Rakow a letter saying that she had been relieved of her duties as Director and as Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

Contrary to university policy she was given no opportunity to respond or appeal.

Although Dr Rakow lost in Federal court, she has now been granted an appeal. UND is charging ND taxpayers for 5 full time staff attorneys. Each of these attorneys charge UND $50,000 a year! This case should have been settled years ago common sense tells us.-The Editors

Published on 07/15/98, GRAND FORKS HERALD