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University of North Dakota School of Medicine-The School That Never Learns

I am sending you this because I think people should know about the crap going on in the UND med school. This is a copy of a grievance that was filed by two UND lab techs who are no longer working for the UNDSOM. No one took any action about these complaints, and Dr. Drewett remains at the UNDSOM.

  1. Grievance Purpose
    1. To remove the threat of a hostile working environment. A hostile working environment is, as defined by Affirmative Action Officer, Sally J. Page, "Unwelcome and pervasive or continuous harassment which creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment." This defines our working situation under Dr. James Drewett, The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Therapeutics.
    2. Our purpose is not to personally attack Dr. Drewett, but to remove the threat or fear employees are experiencing. And, to create an atmosphere that is productive to scientific research.
  1. Examples
    1. Dr. Drewett jumps immediately into over reactive anger. He yells, stomps his feet, and pounds on the lab benches. His temper tantrums create an uncomfortable situation for all employees present, and often cause employees to become agitated and lose concentration. He treats his employees like something he owns making his employees feel like something he has scraped off the bottom of his shoe.
      1. When working on a calculation, he began to pound on his technicianís lab bench next to her notebook. She felt intimidated and frightened, and lost all concentration, unable to think and finish her work. August 1998
      2. When making up serial dilutions for Dr. Drewett, his technician made an error in the calculation and did not make up enough of the solution. Dr. Drewett threw ALL the tubes away and stood up and stomped his feet so hard that bottles rattles on the shelves. He yelled at the technician, "When I make up a solution, I make it right. I donít make mistakes." The technician felt hurt, small, and insignificant. Dec 1998
      3. A technician mistakenly handed Dr. Drewett the wrong dilution of a chemical. Dr. Drewett flew into a rage and threw away the tube and threw a plate of cells across the room into the garbage. January 1999
      4. When using the speed vac, a technician neglected to turn the vacuum on. Instead of pointing out the technician's error and helping her by turning the vacuum on, or, simply, telling her to turn the vacuum on in a reasonable manner, Dr. Drewett yelled at her, called her incompetent, and then mocked her in a horribly degrading way. March 1999
      5. When another technician was making up dilutions, he began to shout and pound his fist into his hand. She was unable to concentrate and could not finish until he had left the room. April 1999
      6. He intimidated a new technician in front of other persons in the lab. He belittled the employee about his math skills and knowledge. He badgered the employee for an extended amount of time about his math skills while pounding his fist into his hands. During this time, one person in the lab began to have difficulty concentrating and physically began to shake. Another person felt the need to leave the lab completely. May 1999
      7. He has often complained about other technicianís, grad studentís, and post docís skills and spoke of confidential information in front of other employees. Some of the complaints could be considered as slanderous.
      8. We have witnessed him speak to all employees of the lab, and his peers, in a horribly condescending manner. He has held against all employees a lack of proper education concerning math skills, but offers little support or assistance in learning. When asked for his help, Dr. Drewett loses patience and self control and goes into a yelling or pounding frenzy. This behavior creates an uncomfortable feeling among the employees of lab leaving them fearful.
      9. On another occasion, he interrupting a timed experiment in the tissue culture room to shout and voice his own complaints about a grant. May 1999
      10. Dr. Drewett shows little respect to the persons in the lab. He does not hesitate to shout and fly of the handle at any moment. This creates fear of being yelled at, and being the butt of jokes.
      11. When a demo pipette was shipped back to the manufacturer, he immediately began to shout, stomp, and slap his hand without allowing anyone to speak and tell him the reasons for shipping it back. June 1999
      12. Employees can not go to him for help with a problem. His immediate reaction is to say that we should already know this and not help. We fear approaching him with problems in the lab, or asking him for assistance. He will not help, but instead make condescending remarks or jokes at the expense of the person asking for help.
      13. In another situation, his technician mistakenly handed him the wrong dilution of a drug. Dr. Drewett stopped the experiment and threw the plate of cells across the room and into the garbage. June 1999
      14. Employees can not tell Dr. Drewett anything. He will not accept suggestions or opinions. An employee made a suggestion to him and he immediate inferred that she was lazy. He would not listen to her. No employee will go to him with a problem. We canít.
      15. A package came into the lab of radioactive material that was not marked radioactive. Packages not marked radioactive do not have to be wipe tested within 3 hours. They need only to be wipe tested in a timely manner. When he was told this by a technician and shown the procedure in the radioactive manual, he flew into a rage, and would not even listen to the technician. In fact, the technician was not able to speak a word while Dr. Drewett yelled that there was no other higher power in the lab than him, and was he says is all that matters. He went on to pound his fist into his hand and yell that anything he said was the final word. The technician was shaking so much from being yelled at in such a manner that she could not perform the wipe test at all. July 1999
      16. Dr. Drewett referred too UND technician's as "underling's". July 1999
  1. Recommended Actions
    1. We recommend that Dr. Drewett seek treatment for anger management, and perhaps take classes on how to effectively manage employees. Counseling can be obtained through the EAP program provided by the university.
    2. Also, a neutral third party should be assigned to monitor Dr. Drewettís progress.
    3. Acceptable behavior by Dr. Drewett should include taking a time out before confronting any employee, discussing problems in his office and not the lab in the presence of others, ceasing all condescending forms of communication, and the ceasing of yelling, stomping, and pounding. He needs to learn that he can not manage employees by making them feel small and stupid.
  1. Retaliation
    1. We know that by making this grievance, we will experience, in some form, a retaliation from Dr. Drewett making our work situation even more difficult.

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James G. Drewett, Ph.D., University of Minnesota. Molecular pharmacology of guanylyl cyclase-linked receptors. Research in the laboratory is focused on a family of enzymes called guanylyl cyclases. Soluble or cytosolic forms of this enzyme are activated by nitric oxide and carbon monoxide. Particulate or membrane-associated forms are stimulated by peptide hormones or heat-stable enterotoxins. Enzyme activation results in the conversion of GTP or cyclic GMP. The latter is clearly an important intracellular second messenger. However, the lack of inhibitors or antagonists to the guanylyl cyclase family has hindered an understanding of the importance of cyclic GMP in mediating specific cellular responses. The focus of the laboratory is to define the importance of catalytically active forms of guanylyl cyclase in mediating antihypertensive activities in the cardiovascular system including: vasodilation, inhibition of adrenergic (sympathetic) neurotransmission, and reductions in the synthesis of the salt-retaining hormone, aldosterone. To this end we are taking the unique approach of using virus-mediate heterologous expression, site-directed mutagenesis, and chimeric enzymes in combination with traditional and novel pharmacology.

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