A Reply to Dr. Dale Sullivan
Paul Trummel <trummel -at- U -dot- WASHINGTON -dot- EDU>
Tue, 1 Mar 1994 11:43:10 -0800
A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when
he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
Readers should understand that CONTRA CABAL addresses those
aspects of the LL&C/RPI program that relate specifically to
technical and graphic communication. However, if rhetoric courses
impact upon the technical communication curriculum, then the
column includes items from the classical rhetoric program. In the
following dialogue, Dale Lee Sullivan, PhD, Kearney State
College, Nebraska, has used his experience in the rhetoric
program to try to justify the shortcomings in the technical
communication program. The Sullivan text defies editing.
Consequently, readers may form their own opinions on the quality
of the LL&C/RPI rhetoric program by reading the full, sub-
literate text of Sullivan's letter that appears at the end of
this column. They may also read, in the recorded and transcribed
article previously published in CONTRA CABAL 4(3), the inane,
rambling of Dr. Merrill D. Whitburn, Chair of the Department,
when he gave a summation of the rhetorical theory course.
Sullivan's rhetoric tends toward illiteracy, whereas, Whitburn's
rhetoric tends toward insanity.
Sullivan has angrily responded to a recent post on techwr-l
that contained excerpts from the last issue of CONTRA CABAL.
Sullivan has a right to his opinion; however, the author feels
that he should respond to Sullivan's obvious acceptance of
abnormality. The following dialogue characterizes the author's
experience in contrast to Sullivan's denial of reality and the
negative behavior that he must have experienced at LL&C/RPI.
Dialogue (S = Sullivan. T = Trummel).
S. Perhaps you remember me, Dale Sullivan.
T. Yes, Dr. Sullivan, I remember you well. You are a minister
from the Mid-West who attended LL&C for two years from
1985-87. You completed your doctorate by correspondence, and
in 1988, wrote a dissertation entitled "A Rhetoric of
Children's Literature as Epideictic Discourse." You had as
your doctoral adviser a notorious drunk, then Chair of the
Department, Dr. S. Michael Halloran.
S. I started the PhD program at RPI when you did and took
Carson's class with you.
T. How could I forget that required doctoral class? Sixteen
weeks of pure, unmitigated, feculent rhetoric provided by
another notorious drunk, Dr. David Loest Carson. I savor the
time that he gave new meaning to the phrase "paper or
plastic." You will remember that he extolled (for twenty
minutes) the virtues of using plastic rather than paper
grocery bags for transporting course papers during inclement
weather. I have calculated that this sage advice cost the
class of fifteen doctoral students approximately $515.00 in
tuition! You will also remember the additional time spent on
ludicrous discussion on the pedagogic attributes of his
Tinker toys and the measurement of communication efficacy by
using program evaluation and review technique (PERT).
S. I have just been forwarded your attack on RPI. I must tell
you, my experience there was much different than yours,
T. You may feel good about your experience, whereas, I can
never feel that way about the slander and personal offense
that I experienced from insecure and unread professors in
LL&C/RPI. However, you accepted the advantages offered to
sycophantic doctoral students in the rhetoric program. I did
not deny my ethic and abrogate my academic freedom in the
technical communication program. To maintain my self-
respect, I did not deny the knowledge and experience
accumulated over many years as a professional technical
communicator and journalist with international repute. I did
not accept that I had to pay extremely high tuition for the
fecal rambling of drunks like Halloran and Carson. Neither
did I accept the inane behavior of confidence tricksters
like Whitburn and Dr. Robert Krull. However, I suppressed my
pride and stayed quiet for a period of three years. That
silence availed me nothing. Customarily, in their state of
ignorance and insecurity, these professors perceive non-
traditional doctoral students as a threat. They, therefore,
attack and vilify them at every opportunity. Only sycophants
S. Do you realize that your attack of the school where I spent
thousands of my own dollars (still paying off) and where I
put my family (wife and 4 children) through 3 years of tough
poverty [has . . . ?]
T. Your declaration touches my heart. Please accept my
condolences. However, I must remind you that:
1. You had the immediate advantage of campus housing; I
experienced the first semester in a camping trailer in below
2. You received payment as a research and teaching
assistant, whereas, I received nothing (except payment for
one semester as a lecturer and a summer course for which I
have still not received full payment). I paid my tuition in
cash, whereas, you received waivers.
3. You had the use of an office for the two years you spent
at RPI, whereas, I had to work in an open library during the
three years I spent on campus.
4. You now have gainful employment and the ability to repay
the money that you chose to borrow - the actual cost to me
exceeds $500,000 and still continues to increase. Through
deliberate blackballing, stonewalling, and lying by your
adviser Halloran, in consort with Whitburn and Krull, I have
not received a regular income for nine years (except for
nine months employment at SJSU). To exemplify, I will
describe only four of my many personal experiences:
During my stay at RPI, the administration advertised
internationally for candidates to fill a high-level RPI
administrative job in communication. Halloran deliberately
prevented my appointment to this position (and other
positions) even though I was judged the prime candidate
three times. (RPI contravened equal opportunity laws by re-
advertising the position three times in endeavors to
eliminate me from the process). They eventually appointed a
less-qualified, less-experienced person to the position.
Subsequently, I obtained a tenure-track, associate
professorship at San Jose State University. An RPI professor
gave me a glowing reference. However, SJSU did not renew my
position for a second year and I lost my pension plan
because of direct statements made by Whitburn. To reinforce
his negative statements, he maliciously neglected to provide
required documentation on my PhD to SJSU before a mandated
Krull had my promotion (sponsored by three prominent,
senior members of IEEE) to senior membership in the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers quashed.
To further humiliate me (a former associate editor for an
IEEE refereed journal), he had my existing full membership
downgraded to associate member, so that he could gain a
political advantage with IEEE for himself.
In addition, both Whitburn and graduate dean Judd at
RPI, when contacted by associate dean Kerr at the University
of Washington* for a reference, deliberately slandered me.
This slander, and collusion between Kerr, Neel, and Glenn
(deans, College of Education) and Woodruff (dean, Graduate
School) caused arbitrary cancellation of acceptance of me by
faculty into the doctoral program at the University of
Washington. This action has precluded me from defending a
second PhD and, thereby, continues to deny me employment. (I
have presently completed all of the course work and written
dissertations for PhDs at each university). Subsequently, I
challenged the decisions of Neel, Kerr, Glenn, and Woodruff
(now succeeded by Eastman); however, they have all denied me
due process and indulged in cover-up of malfeasance. Their
cover-up employs similar tactics to those already used by
Halloran, Whitburn, Krull, and Judd at RPI. Eastman, the
present graduate dean, has even lied to a state senator in
attempts to cover-up gross misconduct. All of these
administrators face investigation and probable indictment on
criminal charges in both New York and Washington. Federal
indictments could also result when the appropriate
authorities become fully aware of the extent of the
corruption, discrimination, and cover-up of malfeasance at
Many other people, both graduate students and
professors, have received this abominable treatment from RPI
professors/administrators. Unfortunately, their victims
(known to me) have decided, at this time, not to speak about
their experiences for fear of further reprisal. I speak out
because I have nothing more to lose and I wish to warn
future generations about these diabolical cabals.
5. Your own children will soon become of college age. What
do you expect for them? Will you send them to LL&C/RPI? Will
you subject them to the daily abuse of a cabal of alcoholics
and substance abusers?
Dr. Sullivan, like many of your politically correct
colleagues with tenure, you neither experienced poverty nor
encountered prejudice during your doctoral study at RPI. On
the contrary: sycophancy, ethnic affinity, and mediocrity
worked to both your academic and financial advantage.
S. Do you understand that you are now destroying or attempting
to destroy the value of my degree and the degree of many
T. I do not have the power to destroy your degree. Degrees
obtained through sycophantic behavior, connivance, and
enforced humility (collegiality), inherently have no value.
S. I chose RPI because it was the best program in the nation; I
could have settled for a lesser program, but I felt the
sacrifice to go to the best was worth it. I still think RPI
is the best program out there.
T. You defend an obviously suspect program of rhetoric, while,
CONTRA CABAL addresses technical communication program
issues: one department but with two different programs. Your
statement suggests either denial, or naivete, in relation to
the reality of your experience. It amazes me that you make
such outrageous claims without providing research data to
support them. One has only to examine the number of PhDs
granted by LL&C/RPI in relation to the number of candidates.
The most expensive curriculum swindle in the nation does not
equate to the best program in the nation.
S. Your attack on the program, evidently stemming from your
refusal to give in to Carson's requirements in our class
(you do remember that's where it all started), hurts a lot
of people, not just RPI.
T. Many people will save themselves from hurt through my
disclosures. Only those with masochistic tendencies will
consider the LL&C/RPI program if they inform themselves
properly. The program will probably not change. However,
potential students will have enough information to enable
them to protect themselves from the propaganda disseminated
by Robert Krull, and the fraudulent misinformation contained
in the LL&C/RPI promotional documents.
S. Fortunately, the tone of your message was so vitriolic that
I assume most readers can recognize a neurosis when they see
T. Evidently, your priestly qualifications now include
psychiatry. The genre of my writing is based in the
epideictic rhetoric that you venerate; moreover, I
wholeheartedly subscribe to the valid point that you make in
"Any attempt to rebuild a common life world which
ignores the power and function of epideictic rhetoric
is likely to be unsuccessful . . . "
CONTRA CABAL has presently many thousands of readers on five
continents. How many people have read your dissertation? You
should understand, Dr. Sullivan, when one has the courage of
one's convictions one's heterodoxy becomes a threat to those
who accept and take refuge in political correctness. Your
predisposition toward such attitudes becomes evident from
the following excerpt from you dissertation:
". . . epideictic rhetoric does more than impart a body
of knowledge: it initiates the reader into an ongoing
tradition, inculcates orthodox [politically correct]
values, and gives the reader the critical perspective
needed to make policy decisions in line with our
cultural ideal . . . a form of rhetoric traditionally
devoted to educating the young in orthodox values and
reinforcing those values among adults."
Perhaps Sullivan should save his epideictic rhetoric for his
pulpit. He can then continue to lead his sheep in a controlled
environment of culturally preconceived idealism and orthodoxy
[political correctness]. He may indulge in proselytism and
proclaim the existence of a living God while others must expose
the evil of the cabalistic monsters that support his cultist
exegesis. However, this dialogue must remain firmly rooted in
the present and in fact. Epideictic rhetoric relates to the
present, since people praise or blame in view of the state of
things existing at a given time. This author will continue to
expose the present corruption and deceit integral to the RPI/LL&C
program in technical and graphic communication and administrative
malpractice at the University of Washington.
Richard A. Lanham, in his statement on epideictic rhetoric,
"Those who praise or attack a man aim at proving him
worthy of honor or the reverse. . . ."
This author makes his attacks using only documented proof.
He neither attacks nor blames innocent people. Fortunately for
LL&C/RPI, there does exist a minority of professors whom one
could describe as worthy of honor. They will receive their praise
in due course. Any extolling of their virtues in CONTRA CABAL can
only result in further persecution of them.
*The above statements in no way reflect upon the faculty and
staff of the Department of Technical Communication, College of
Engineering, University of Washington. The chair and faculty
members, with one exception, have remained empathic and
supportive of me during the whole period that I have experienced
pernicious behavior by the above-named administrators. The
TechComm faculty members deserve commendation, not only for their
personal support of me, but for the positive support that they
afford to all students. They also deserve praise for their
excellent graduate program. Unfortunately, they do not offer a
The text of the original post:
CONTRA CABAL has published 20 editions and has a regular
international readership of many thousands. Through regularly
reading posted material they have become familiar with the
pernicious practices that exist in the Graduate School, and the
Department of Languishment, Licentiousness, and Corruption
(LL&C), School of Inhumanity and Social Scourges (SI&SS), at
Rensaler Politicking Institution (RPI). Recently, a reader posed
"So what is going on at Rensaler??"
Apparently, the only recent changes at Rensaler relate to
the appointment of a new president. A Cabal thrives and the
dehumanization of, and the discrimination against, specific
student constituencies persists. Malfeasance flourishes. The
graduate and humanities deans continue to receive the same
presidential blessing upon their nefarious conduct that they
received in the past. The administration continues its cover-up
of criminal activity. Business continues as usual at Rensaler
A reader recently requested more information about the
"elements" in RPI's program that do not relate to technical
communication. A short answer: the RPI curriculum relates to the
history of classical rhetoric and very little contained in the
courses relates to the technical and graphic components of
technical communication. Like a number of other universities,
LL&C disguises an English and rhetoric program to attract
technical students. Most LLC/RPI faculty members have no
professional or academic qualifications and no experience in the
field. Neither has the program any official accreditation.
Approximately 50 programs exist in the United States that
advertise technical communication content. About 80% of these
programs do not provide anything like a well-rounded education in
the field. Most do not employ professionals on their faculties
(an essential to teaching any craft) and rely on outmoded
theories that relate to either individual experience or
departmental politics. These programs rely for their economic
survival upon offering an education that they cannot provide.
This constitutes fraud.
The editor of CONTRA CABAL, formerly an associate professor,
a lecturer and PhD student in LLC, reveals his nine years
experience of this criminal and asinine department of egocentric
despots. In the current edition, in the pursuit of integrity, he
declares his personal interest and describes his role:
By reading CONTRA CABAL readers come to realize the lack of
program accreditation and student abuse that exists at RPI. If
they willingly accept intimidation, deprivation of rights and
privileges, acquiesce to illegal activity and humiliation, have
sycophantic tendencies, then they should not read CONTRA CABAL.
They can then discover the truth through their own negative and
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