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Monday, June 30, 2008

Students' Freedom of Information Act Request Shows President Jacobs' Disrespect for A&S Faculty and Dean

The following press release was produced by University of Toledo A&S students and shows the results of their independent investigations as informed by a Freedom of Information Act request they made to examine emails sent by UT administrators concerning the No Confidence vote. The release and the emails that follow definitely help to open your eyes.

These emails were exchanged after the April 15 No Confidence vote while President Jacobs was in China accompanied by Dean Lee. Provost Hagget was holding down the administrative fort in Toledo. Others mentioned in the emails include Bill McMillen, in charge of government relations for the University, and Constantine Theodosiou, interim Dean of the UT Graduate School. These email discussions took place before Jacobs met with ASC Executive Council on May 9 to discuss the Dean and the vote--the meeting from which the President stalked out of in obvious anger after failing to put the faculty guilty of "bad behavior" in their place.

I understand the release went out to local media today. We do have the most excellent students:

Emails Reveal University President Lacks Confidence in Arts & Sciences Dean, Disrespects Faculty

President and provost express their attitude over faculty’s “bad behavior” as they weigh throwing disgraced Dean “under the bus”

June 30, 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact: Evan Morrison 419.283.7244
Colleen Eldridge

Toledo, OH – Despite public assurances by the University of Toledo administration of its full support of College of Arts & Sciences Dean Yueh-Ting Lee, e-mails just made public under a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that behind the scenes they’re actively considering whether to “throw him under the bus.”

Members of the Arts & Sciences Faculty Council have voted “No Confidence” in Dean Lee and students of the college are calling for his removal. While privately recognizing that “the bus may still be [the administration’s] best option,” the administration has instead insisted on the hiring of an outside firm at great expense to the university before making a decision on the Dean’s fate.

In the email correspondence (attached below,) President Lloyd Jacobs notes that his only reason for keeping Dean Lee in his post is to not “reward bad behavior from the A & S folk.” Provost Rosemary Haggett and Vice President for Governmental Relations William McMillen go further, saying that even a meeting with the Arts and Sciences Council, which represents all faculty members in the college, should be avoided because they feel that meeting with them would “reward bad behavior” itself. This attitude reflects profound disrespect for faculty members and the faculty council.

Colleen Eldridge, the student leader who brought this to light says this about the situation: “This display of dishonesty and disrespect for faculty and students is contrary to Dr. Jacobs’ statements of support for the college of Arts and Sciences. It leads me to believe he does not have our best interests in mind.”

Under Jacobs, Arts & Sciences Dean Yueh-Ting Lee has pursued a restructuring of the College that has met with strong opposition from students and faculty alike. These proposed changes have included consolidating Sociology and Economics into one department and Philosophy and History into another. Students and educators in the college view this as an attempt to weaken faculty and eviscerate long-standing academic programs. Lee’s efforts resulted in the “No Confidence” vote from the College of Arts & Sciences faculty this past semester.

The students are still receiving information from the University General Counsel. They will be holding a rally at the next town hall meeting on July 17th to release more information they have identified.

From: "Haggett, Rosemary "
To: "Jacobs, Lloyd"
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 11:29:04 -0400
Subject: RE: stuff

I've been thinking a lot about this and what would be out best strategy. Bill McMillen and I talked about it too and I have to say, with all due respect, that neither one of us sees the benefit to a meeting like this with the A&S Council. It put us right where they want us, in a confrontational position. I think it actually rewards bad behavior. It also aligns us more directly with YT (when the bus may still be our best option) and makes it more difficult to facilitate a solution.

I feel I need to respond to Davis soon because I am being characterized as being nonresponsive, so let me suggest an alternate strategy. I suggest that Bill and I meet with Davis on Friday afternoon to get the "bill of particulars". Bill McM will be back in town then; he has a good rapport, can be my witness and help craft our subsequent strategy. This puts me in front of the faculty in a position of academic authority. If I set up the meeting before A&S Council meets tomorrow afternoon, people will know that I will be receiving their input (and they will know that I'll get that input before the end of the semester). I will not respond to the input at the meeting, just receive it.

Further strategy could me that I can then have subsequent meetings with the A&S chairs and college advisory council, but we will have time think more about that after you get back.

Please let me know what you think. I'm ready to meet the challenge.


From: Jacobs, Lloyd
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 11:57 AM
To: Haggett, Rosemary
Cc: Hymore, Diane
Subject: stuff

Sorry to call so early this AM. Constantine has been asking me repeatedly if I've called you. I think today he decided to force the issue and called himself. I first realized you were on the phone was when I heard him say: 'do you want to talk to the president'... Hence my confusion. And at a time when I couldn't really talk.

Anyway, a few observations: if even a fraction of the stuff in the A&S bill of particulars is true, we've got a real problem. And some of it is our problem - perhaps we havn't supervised YT closely enough.

Furthermore, his behavior and utterances on this trip -up close and personal- has lead me to believe that his communication is worse than either of us thought. For several days I thought the best thing to do was to throw him under the bus and get on with our agenda. Maybe thats still the best thing - input please...

However, we probably can't do that because we can't reward the bad behavior that the A&S folk have displayed, I think. So, I'd like to meet with the A&S council myself, with you and YT present - you to fill in the blanks, YT to hear that we are going out on a limb for him. So, let's set up a time the week after I'm back, tuesday or wednesday, set up the room with three mics at a table in front, and have at it. Before that I need to meet with you, and then with you and YT to get all the issues straight and 'no surprises'. I will lay out some principles and a plan which I will share with you in our preliminary time together. For the session, I don't care who attends, Board, media, etc - no invitations, but let them come. I know that by the time this gets done, many will have left for the summer, but thats ok. I'm copying Diane on this so she can handle the logistics.

As regards the 'petition' that Constantine forwarded to you and me, my plan is to not react to it, other than to give the Chancellor and the Governor a heads up. I'll handle that. I'd like you to move ahead swiftly with the reorganization as planned, however. (I think that's what the 'petition' is really about.)

"These are times that try men's (and womens) souls" - we are being tested: let's meet the challenge. lj

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Where's Betsy? Before and After the Jacobs' Propaganda Mill Treatment

Ripping a page--again!--out of the annals of old-school Soviet political technique, the UT News has published a photo of the forum with Fingerhut. And someone has to be rubbed out. Can you guess who? Can you guess why?

First, above, original scene showing everybody. This is followed by the published version.

UPDATE: For those who were not there, I'll answer the question above: cut out of the picture was, of course, the panelist sitting just to the right of the panelist closest to the edge of the frame in the published photo. In other words, there were 8 panelists, not seven. It so happens that the missing/excised panelist is A&S student Betsy Yeary, who used her time to excoriate the administration for their abandonment of the fine and performing arts, humanities, etc. at UT. She was quite impressive (if you ask me) and many in the audience took her lead and pursued the issue of the liberal arts. She garnered much applause, unlike the other panalists. In other words she shaped the discussion. And now: she is gone. There has been a debate in comments as to whether the omission is intentional. I say "yes." None, the apologist for University administration who sometimes haunts this blog, has said said "no." Doesn't that leave the score at one to none?

But let us now see how the words of Betsy Yeary cast light on the propagandistic intentions of the omission. Jacobs is heavily involved in selecting what information he wants people to see and hear and takes an active hand in the propaganda process. Betsy writes:

From: Yeary, Betsy
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Subject: RE: panel presentation

I have been reading the ASCforum blog for a while now, and I was
glad to see that I wasn't the only one who noticed my missing face when
I read the post concerning the UT News photograph. I feel that cutting me out was
an immature and foolish thing to do. It was clear that my speech upset
Jacobs and the whole lot--Jacobs didn't say another word until the end
of the discussion and Rosemary Haggett was the first to approach me when
I stepped off stage, inviting to take me out to lunch. I wonder why.

At the pre-meeting that we had on June 12 (everyone on the panel
except Fingerhut and Wagoner attended), Jacobs asked Ujvagi and I to
speak about the importance of a well-rounded education. He specifically
told me to "stay away from UT" as in, don't discuss the importance of a
well-rounded education at our specific institution. Well, there was no
way I could sit on stage in front of so many people thinking the same
thing and NOT discuss it. After receiving numerous congratulatory
e-mails and a few phone calls, I know that I did the right thing.
Especially after seeing my face cropped out of that picture.

The actions my fellow students have been taking lately literally
made me jump up and down with joy and clap my hands. I'm so glad that I
am not the only one who so greatly values my education as well as the
faculty at UT.

Again, thank you so much. I said it before, and I can't say it


Betsy Yeary

No, thank you Betsy. You have our respect and admiration.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

UT in a New City of Sword and Savant

The time seems long overdue for someone with vision, courage and ambition at the University of Toledo to take charge and shape our institutional future and thereby shape the future identity of our metropolitan region. The Governor of the State of Ohio, his Chancellor of Higher Education, the State Board of Regents, The UT Board of Trustees, President Jacobs, Provost Haggett and Dean Lee are all at present demonstrably inccapable of achieving what is appropriate and best for our local community here in Northwest Ohio. They are all outsiders, or at least act as outsiders, by shunning the richness of our local traditions, achievements and potentials in their strategic educational planning.

Mismanagement of local higher education at UT is becoming painfully obvious as we watch strangers attempt to rapidly reshape our future as a local community to serve outsider interests. Our UT administration is thinking globally without acting first on behalf of local inspirations and interests. Toledo higher education and the liberal arts in particular don’t have to be reshaped – manhandled and abused as they are – by the implementation of a unimaginative secular outsider vision of how our local public university should function as part of its future customized state-wide system. Outsider decisions are based on a global focus full of fear-mongering and fault-prone futuristic economic forecasting. Who can know the future? We in Toledo do know of our own proud traditions and our local strengths and potentials, all of which outsider educational planners seem to ignore.

The outsider story of our present higher-education condition and its future is based on patronizing perceptions of what strangers think is good for UT, a story that is full of untenable assumptions, internal contradictions, prevarications, errors and mistakes. We were recently told by our chief administrator that American higher education (implying UT as an example) is outmoded and uncompetitive in a global economy -- broken. Critical thinking reveals that our educational leadership in its strategic planning can do better for us locally, but will not. Educational planners in Columbus and their implementers on our own campus either 1) lack for a contextualized local vision of an alternative future for UT and its surrounding metropolitan community, or 2) have no interest in promoting the local good if it does not serve their secular vision of the common (statewide or global) good.

As I understand it, Governor Strickland wants Ohio higher education to be organized in a functionally-integrated way like the California system, with each institution nurturing its special strengths. One internal contradiction in all this outsider rhetoric that justifies higher-education restructuring is the governor’s claim that “competition is bad” between Ohio’s higher education institutions, while arguing at the same time that “competition is good.”

If we can choose our future based on our strengths, why can’t the University of Toledo become the Santa Cruz of the Ohio System? We can in this alternative scenario choose to nurture rather than neglect our fine liberal arts and social science departments and thus opt out of embracing STEMM so comprehensively and campus-wide at the sacrifice of our other demonstrated strengths. The point is we A&S faculty and in the liberal arts and social sciences have had little or no choice in shaping the future identity of UT. The Strategic Plan is being imposed on UT as a top-down dictated document.

The outsider story neglects to mention that Toledo already has myriad strengths and assets, only some of which are directly STEMM-related: a local multicultural community rich in linguistic, literary, musical, artistic and culinary traditions from around the world; a unique historic glass-crafting industry; a world class museum; a vibrant sports-centered, popular culture; a rich transportation history; beautiful Metroparks; varied developed and undeveloped waterfronts and wetlands; remarkable architectural variety; agrarian wisdoms including communal and family values resistant to secularism, avarice and corruption. All these and other forms of social, cultural and economic capital combine in Toledo to continue to constitute a landscape of opportunity for local higher education research, teaching and outreach. The venerable liberal arts and the social sciences at the University of Toledo can successfully achieve world class status by continuing to entrench their efforts at the local scale, meanwhile maintaining global awareness.

“Toledo” already has an international place identity related to excellence in advanced manufacturing and education that transcends local, regional, state and national borders. We might model our alternative vision of UT excellence in higher education in light of what we know of the magnificence of Old Toledo, in Spain. Old Toledo was best known worldwide a as sword manufacturing city and as a multicultural educational center of excellence. The city and its excellence in education were inseparable in their singular identity, comprising a Toledo famed around the world for its highest-quality “swords and savants.”

Toledo, Ohio, at present, also has an alternative future comprised in part of “sword” and “savant” should we choose to take that path in higher education at UT. Our specialist glass manufacturing history embodied at present in thin-film photovoltaic research can be our UT Sword. Our past and present local multicultural hybrid vigor that continues to vitalize liberal arts and social science higher education potential at UT can be our Savant. These two are exceptionally complementary at the local level and have community-wide appeal to foster our future higher education emphases -- should we choose to incorporate them in our local strategic planning initiatives. It is time to act. Let’s promote our own interests, our Sword and our Savant, against destructive outsider interests that jeopardize what we at the University of Toledo already know and can do best, assisted by infusions of more visionary, courageous and community-spirited local leadership.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pssst! How Many "M"s are in STEMM around here?

T: One. Uno.

F: I thought there was two “M”s in “STEMM”?

T: Not at The UT.

F: What happened?

T: We had to drop the second“M” for “Medicine” to deflect those old suspicions about the real reason for the Big Merger.

F: Ahhh! The B M ... Makes sense! Good thing we kept the “M” for “Morality.”

T: Screwball, you! THAT “M” stands for “Math,” ... as in “Do the MATH!”

F: “Morality” ... “Math” ... ... “Mon-eeeeey” ... What’s the difference?

T: "Bada Bing?”

F: “Bada Bang!”

T: “Golf Tuesday?”

F: “You’re ON!”

Monday, June 16, 2008

The need for an A&S strategic self-assessment

It was considerate of Provost Haggett to send us today her timetable for an external “Strategic Assessment of the College of Arts and Sciences,” along with a reminder of the rationale behind it. We also received the resumes of Dr. Robert Girgus and Dr. Joan Zemsky, our tentative external evaluators. I can see nothing in these several documents to indicate our venerable liberal arts at UT will be given a fair shake by this external assessment in the hands of these two individuals. I see instead that Drs. Girgus and Zemsky are already enamored of Governor Strickland’s STEMM emphases and his shameless use of the business model in Ohio public higher education. Their report will be justifying agendas already set by the Jacob's Administration with selective STEMM-type “hard data.” Any self-described “pooh-bah” like Dr. Girgus who is paid $80,000 to evaluate the importance of the Liberal Arts component of our university and its role in the future of our university, and who has already (2005) written a book titled “Remaking the University: Mission-Centered and Market-Smart” will only waste our time and give us grief while our Administration continues to make mischief. I therefore suggest that A&S concerned students, faculty and staff along with MWM begin to compile our own expert and comprehensive A&S “Strategic Self-Assessment” for free, and then present it to the Provost, President and Board of Trustees in February of 2009 as an alternative (and more cost-effective) superior study, making sure to include the appropriate qualitative and quantitative measures of what constitutes an excellent public university education in the best interest of preserving and protecting America’s proudest and priceless democratic traditions. In our Self-Assessment Dr. Girgus' “Market-smart” recommendations will for reasons most obvious and understandable be found foolish.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Presidential Town Hall Meeting Cancellations

Given short notice, this venue is the best place for this making this urgent announcement to our members and supporters. Due to President Jacob's sudden cancellation of the June 17th Town Hall meeting all A&S student/faculty and WMW protest-related events have been cancelled and will be re-planned for the Town Hall meeting still scheduled for July 17th. The four buses will not, repeat, will not be picking up our out-of-town visitors at the scheduled times and locations. Lodging for the overnight participants has been cancelled. Scheduled interviews with the Chronicle, the Times and the Journal have been postponed (contact Missy or Stan for details). The big bonfire and teach-in at the campus wetlands site near Spirit Rock is also cancelled. Those crews assigned to bring firewood are urged to store their lumber is a dry place for a month. Team members preparing picnic boxes for the "long march" are invited to go ahead and prepare the meals anyway, box them up, and deliver them to the Cherry Street Mission. Label them "Lloyd Jacobs, A&S cs/f and WMW" ... . So. What else? The flyover! There will be no fly-over at the designated time above the picket lines. Donations for that event will be held by the treasurer until the following month, to be reserved for the same purpose. Perhaps we can afford two flyovers by then: one before and one following the meeting! About the budget: Looking ahead, pin proceeds from the Dean Campaign will continue to accumulate toward offsetting the costs of the Big September Event. Our third order of pins has finally arrived, with the suggested XXX modifications. End of report: Don't be disappointed by this unexpected change in plans. This is not a defeat but a victory! We all know why the June 17th Town Hall was cancelled! Be sure to anyway turn out for Chancellor Fingerhut's visit and the important public presentation of the A&S-sponsored petition at that time. Let’s follow Penny’s suggestions so eloquently put forth and voted on unanimously at our weekly meeting this past Friday. Let’s “Keep it cool!”

Monday, June 9, 2008

Astonishing letter from WMU on politically-motivated curriculum attacks

Below is a letter from Professor Robert Wait, signer # 871 of the “save the liberal arts at University of Toledo" petition available at Professor Wait is a sociologist at Western Michigan University, which two years ago experienced a situation much like the one being experienced at University of Toledo—a radical attack on the Liberal Arts as taught in the College of Arts and Sciences and its curriculum. Western Michigan students and faculty revolted, and WMU’s President and Provost lost their jobs. Professor Wait believes there are many parallels between UT and WMU and suggests UT learn by the experiences of Western’s faculty and students. I neither endorse nor reject the opinions he presents, but admire his willingness to share them. O.

Dear Odysseus:

I appreciate your letter, as well as your diligence in looking at the petition list. The regional state universities in Michigan have been under attack for a number of years, and there's an identifiable pattern that has recurred nationwide, which has been supported by a number of well-funded organizations. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, The National Association of Scholars, David Horowitz's Campus Watch, and the right wing of the Republican Party have been involved in a secret but highly organized campaign to discredit higher education and essentially align universities with the business community.
In Michigan, John Engler was governor for 12 years, and after eight years in office he had appointed all-Republican boards of trustees at all universities except U of M, MSU, and Wayne State, whose boards are elected. These unanimously right wing boards would put pressure of University Presidents to get tough with faculty. When opportunities for presidential hiring appeared, they would bring in people who would follow their agenda. Engler had packed the Michigan State Supreme court. The Republican majority ruled in 1999 that the trustees hiring meetings need not be public, so a number of university presidents were hired without faculty input. The two recent Presidents at Eastern were hired on this basis, and both were forced to resign after scandals relating to their greed or incompetence.
Judith Bailey was hired at Northern under similar mysterious circumstances. She attempted to shift power away from faculty by unilaterally reorganizing programs, and Northern is still recovering from this reorganization. Basically, Bailey was waiting in the wings until something bigger opened up, and when there was an opening at WMU, she was appointed President by our trustees. The faculty didn't understand why she had been hired because the process was kept secret, but we hoped for the best. Bailey's agenda was anti-faculty from the beginning. She acted under the cover of financial exigency, efficiency, and the soundness of the business model of university administration. I read your President's speech, and it sounded like a parody of the new biz-speak that marks the subliteracy of right wing educators. Someone should write a paper about that.
Bailey had a couple of unproductive years under two inept provosts she had hired. When she hired Linda Delene, a Marketing Professor, as Provost, her administration suddenly became truly effective at executing her right wing hidden agenda. In consultation with selected faculty (N. A. S?) She instituted a two-year program to revise the University curriculum. She bypassed the legitimate curriculum-revision process, which had been dominated (oh my god!) by faculty. Under her plan, the Provost’s office would take one year to reorganize the graduate curriculum, and the undergraduate curriculum would be reshaped the second year.
Provost Delene resigned and Bailey was fired after that first program year, due, in part, to the no-confidence vote taken by the faculty senate (which generally doesn't do much - I am a senator). There wasn't one issue involved, but 85% of the faculty, with various complaints voted thumbs-down. The Provost went down by a very slightly lower percentage than Bailey. Then our graduate students (whose curriculum had just been revised) voted no confidence by an even larger margin. The chair of the Board of Trustees then declared his absolute faith in Bailey. This seemed peculiar, but he would have had to say that. Her administration must have been following the same directives as he was.
The AAUP then met, and asked for Delene's resignation, but not Bailey's. (The strategy was to divide the two and wait for further developments). She promptly resigned. Kalamazoo is a fairly conservative place, but Bailey but Bailey was unpopular in the community because she didn’t do good things for the university, and enrollment was dropping. Many students absolutely loathed Bailey.
Jennifer Grandholm became our Democratic governor on 2004, and was about to make her third and fourth appointments to the Board of Trustees. This probably influenced the Republican trustees to abandon their sinking administrator. She was fired, to the delight of even the College Republican blog, and our president emeritus, also very right wing, was appointed interim president. Then, after a fair and representative search, our current president was selected, and the sun began to shine again at W.M.U. I hope.
As a social scientist, I wish that I could have known what Provost Delene's reorganization of the undergraduate program would have looked like. Let me give you my speculation. When she was appointed, Delene had gone to the directors of the Women's Studies and Africana Studies programs, informing them that their programs were political, not educational, and would be abolished. I believe that revision of the undergraduate program would have drastically reduced the size of other humanities and social science departments, in the name of financial exigency and elimination of programmatic redundancies. Resources from Arts & Sciences would have been transferred to Engineering, Health Sciences, and our boutique aviation program.
The first year of the curriculum revision process hadn't made any major changes at the graduate level. I believe that the purpose of that first year was mostly to establish new administration-controlled curriculum processes. The second year would have been when the really big changes would have occurred. If the faculty had gone along with the first-year changes, they would have lost some of their power to resist changes the second-year. That was the hidden agenda: to reduce the size of Arts & Sciences, with their purportedly “liberal” faculty.
I need to stop writing now, for reasons of health and sanity, but I will continue in a day or two. Fighting Bailey's regime cost me my idealism and innocence. My wife and I both became targets of the College Republicans, and both of us were placed in their web-based Faculty Hall of Shame two years ago. In spite of my colleagues’ congratulations, I did not see this as an honor. I think of it as a wrongful assault on my character. : )
Let me close with a quote from the student operative who led the College Republicans in their attempt to silence the rest of us. He was a columnist for the Western Herald, which was taken over by right wing students in the third year of Bailey’s regime. This student’s column attacked on our undergraduate curriculum. It specifically targeted humanities and social science courses).
Here it is:

School's emphasis on liberally-slanted courses shows bias
“Young America's Foundation (YAF) released its 9th annual ‘Comedy and Tragedy’ report” (on the state of curriculum in 2003. The columnist identified ten courses at WMU which he perceived as biased. I think that all of them were in Arts & Sciences, although I could be wrong). Here’s his conclusion:
. “What is emerging is an anti-American, sexually perverse, multicultural, anti-male, Marxist agenda that is indoctrinating its subjects to accept the agenda as reality. Unfortunately, most students are oblivious to what is going on around them.”

I guess that’s what your president meant by the failure of American higher education. I did an analysis of the YAF report, and found that 93% of the condemned courses were from Arts & Sciences departments. I’ve attached my table of findings to this letter. I’m glad you wrote, because it may drive me to publish my analysis and the story of what happened at Western. I see the events at Toledo as directly parallel to what happened to us. Once the right wing develops a plan, they keep pursuing it, no matter how often it fails, until it succeeds. They can do that because they have the money, and they’re not very creative. They score higher on persistence than on intelligence. (When I learned about the developments at Toledo a couple of days ago, I told a colleague that I thought right wing administrations attempt to substitute authority for intelligence).
I am now going to say the serenity prayer to calm myself, and go back to grading papers. I’ll write again soon, in the hope that what I have to say will help your cause. Feel free to quote anything I’ve said (except the part about the frog [deleted]).

Until then, good night and good luck.


P. S. I realize that this letter could have been more personal and less grim, but I find that to be impossible when I’m sweating with rage. You must play to win (and to destroy if possible!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

an intelligent response to LJ

this opinion piece published in the toledo blade on saturday 31 may is a good breath of fresh air after reading LJ's toledo business journal interview:
Make UT a 'learning-centered' institution by Richard R. Gaillardetz.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Lloyd Jacob Utterances in Toledo Business Journal

The President has been talk-talk-talking again. Check out his June 1, 2008 interview published in TBJ. Note how he defines resistance/disbelief re his educational prescription as a function of anxiety by a very small number of faculty who have been using their voices. What a strange symptom! Happily, there is at least one clinical intervention partially alleviating this condition--a Deanectomy.

The page also contains a June 1, 2006 Jacobs interview.