Re: degree programs

Subject: Re: degree programs
From: Paul Trummel <trummel -at- U -dot- WASHINGTON -dot- EDU>
Date: Sat, 28 Aug 1993 14:04:59 -0700

I shall respond generally to the many TECHWR-L messages on the
degree program topic. After personally experiencing the
corruption and fraud that exists in the Department of Language,
Literature, and Communication at Rensselaer Polytechnic for a
period of eight years, I cannot accept many of the points of

I believe that technical communication defines the field of which
technical writing forms a significant part. Therefore, programs
that only relate to technical writing should carry an accurate
title and description. Many of the programs described as
technical communication have no graphics component or media
instruction and, therefore, I consider them misnamed. If
departments deliberately misname programs in order to attract
students then I consider that they perpetrate fraud. I expose
these frauds as the result of researched and documented proof in
an attempt to counsel students (especially mature professional
students) who could waste their time with programs such as the
one that exists at RPI. Hence the regular publication of my
column CONTRA CABAL. CONTRA CABAL contains information relative
to my statements. I shall, therefore, not now go into specific
detail as many of you have already subscribed as a result of my
listing last week.

It constantly surprises me that many graduate students and
working professionals accept the humiliation, manipulation, and
abuse meted to them by faculty members and supervisors. I believe
that these individuals probably exist in one of the following

1. Cloned: a state of acceptance of humiliation and abuse as
normal. Acquiescence in an apathetic or lethargic state.

2. Psychological inhibition: a state of absolute denial.

3. Naivety.

4. Exasperation: nobody will listen.

Several correspondents have used the words libel and slander.
However, reports that contain documented truth and expose
criminal activity do not construe as either libel or slander. Of
course, there exists a minority of caring, considerate, and
competent professors in the LLC program (Rubens, Search, and
maybe one or two others with whom I have not had contact).
However, they have set their price and, for whatever reason, they have
decided to accede to the machinations of a cabal. Consequently,
they must, unfortunately, accept the joint and several liability
for all Department activity.

The TECHWR-L, like many of the professional lists, supports a
vociferous minority that tends to make instantaneous and ill-
informed but politically correct judgments: a sort of contempt
prior to investigation. Such invective deters many people from
responding directly to the list. As a result I have privately
received many courteous messages, both pro and con. I endeavor to
respond individually to each of these correspondents. This week I
have heard from several ethical and probably "apolitically
correct" TECHWR-L readers, both professional and academic, using
reasoned discourse. I have responded to them all individually.

I will conclude by saying that the politically correct
individuals who hate and, as a result, fear the social results of
statements that they find odious have the ability to refute them,
to state what they believe to be true, and to express their
reactions. However, in attempts to silence criticism, many of
these individuals employ tactics that Orwell (1946) described as
"the big lie." Such tactics become doomed to failure because "any
writer who adopts the totalitarian outlook, who finds excuses for
persecution and the falsification of reality, thereby destroys
himself as a writer." The need to pander to cultural fashions and
political pressures or grovel before power exist as realities.
Many students and professionals quickly become astutely
aware of such misuse of power and accede to the abuse. However, every time
they pander and accept the control of others they diminish themselves
and undermine their academic or professional community.

As a journalist of many years standing I know the value of not
disclosing sources. This has given me a reputation for
journalistic integrity and assures me a continued flow of reliable
information. I respect the opinions of others, although I
disagree with many of last week's interpretations on the basis of
the evidence that I possess. After 46 years in practice I still
consider technical and graphic communication a worthwhile and
honest profession and will continue to try to protect it from

Paul Trummel

PS. The several hundred administrators, faculty members, alumni,
and students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who appear on my
email lists at the time of this release to TECHWR-L, will receive
a copy of this response.

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