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Carson wrote back the next day, saying an investigation would be opened. On the 17th of September, Schacht wrote Carson saying that nothing had changed and pleaded, "Please instruct her [Carpenter] to allow me to work in a dignified atmosphere and to immediately cease her violation of UCSD's Principles of Community."

Dr. Carson did not answer an e-mail seeking comment for this story.

Schacht said after her second e-mail to Carson, "The people from HR came up and said, 'Could you come down and talk to us?' So I went down. And they said, 'We were trying to get in touch with you, but your phone wasn't working.' " (Schacht disputes this, contending that her phone was working properly all during this period.) "So they talked to her, and for about a week she cowered in her office and didn't come near me. But then she came back, with a vengeance."

Dave Simonson, a manager at the cancer center's human resources department, didn't return calls seeking comment.

From September 2006 until February 2007, Schacht says she suffered through Carpenter's abuse but kept a log to document every occurrence. On February 20, 2007, in an e-mail to Chris Hertzog, chief steward of the San Diego branch of the Coalition of University Employees labor union, she declared her intention to file a grievance against Carpenter and spelled out Carpenter's offenses by date and category.

Under the heading "violence," she included: "1/18/07: threw telephone message book at my key pad with such force that it displaced everything on the desk. 1/23/07; punched my chair from behind hard enough to pitch me forward.... 2/7/07: pulled stacks of very heavy binder and journals from storage cabinets and threw them on my desk, nearly breaking a Lucite organizer I bought for myself."

Under "verbal abuse," Schacht noted: "1/19/07: Verbal abuse was so paralyzing that I had to go to another office to get my work done. Sometimes I'm so dazed that I just go sit in my car for a while. 1/29/07: 'You're so stupid...!' 2/7/07: 'You get more ridiculous by the day.' 2/8/07: 'Your work is just shitty.' "

The same day Schacht wrote this e-mail to Hertzog, she also called campus police, who suggested she get a temporary restraining order against Carpenter, which she did.

Reached by phone, Hertzog, the union steward, says he's never seen workplace bullying at this level. "Paula's case is extraordinary. I have never seen that kind of abuse in the office. Paula is a very tough woman because typically when the abuse reaches that kind of level, most employees leave. Reneé is tough as well. Reneé never came to us when she was going through those problems."

Though he says labor relations with the university's medical center are "very healthy," Hertzog complains that labor relations with the main campus's Department of Medicine, which includes the Moores Cancer Center, are much more difficult. "With the medical center labor department," he explains, "we're almost always able to resolve our disputes without having to go very high in the grievance department. But on the main campus, we typically have to appeal things to the office of the president."

As an example of the difficulty of resolving labor grievances with the Department of Medicine, Hertzog offers, "In the grievance process, the first step involves a meeting with the immediate supervisor. We have contract language to that effect. I requested a meeting with Dr. Kipps at the time, and he wasn't present for the meeting. When I asked the labor relations advocate why he was not there, she just shrugged her shoulders. I filed a grievance on that because it's a really serious infraction, as far as I'm concerned. It completely undermines the language of the grievance process and the contract which says the object is to resolve grievances at the lowest possible levels."

Hertzog continues, "We believe that in the whole school of medicine there is kind of a culture of, I call it willful neglect. I think a lot of people know this kind of thing happens, but they turn a shoulder to it. There is another employee who is currently out on a psychological stress leave, and she works for a very distinguished professor [at the] medical school. Apparently this guy brings all kinds of money to the Department of Medicine. And yet he is absolutely abusive. He worked this woman overtime without [her] getting paid [for it]. He kind of bullied her into thinking that she had to put in ten-hour days."

Despite over 20 grievances he's filed against her on behalf of Paula Schacht, Hertzog says Carpenter hasn't served a day of suspension, much less been terminated under the university's Zero Tolerance Policy. By contrast, he says, "I was suspended for two weeks last year because I was representing an employee at a grievance hearing and I yelled at a supervisor. I was, at that time, an 11-year employee with a perfect record, and I was suspended for two weeks, just for that single incident."

Neither Mary Carpenter nor Dr. Kipps answered e-mails seeking comment on these matters.

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Comments

turko May 20, 2008 @ 12:38 p.m.

I went through a much more humiliating process at UCSD then this story you wrote. Those whom have worked here for many years, like me, have known this place to be a very unethical and dishonest organization and a microcosm of this unjust government. The labor Relations does everything in its power to abuse its power and misguide and ruin career employees-as they tried to do to me. This is a system you cannot hold those with authority accountable for their actions, because if you do, they will us their power to discard you as garbage-- knowing the public will never know. I should know because I stood up to Mr Lickwig (CEO of UCSD Hillcrest Hospital) and his right hand thug director Denise Goodrich and they made every effort to screw me over for disclosing their incompantancies! It’s been two years they shut me up, butI am as angry as ever, and I demand compensation from these unethical asses. There is no wonder why --people have been suing this place every chance they have. The University (UCSD) uses our endless supply of tax dollars to pay for the best attorneys to screw the very people that run its facilities and built our towns and schools, and when their wrong they settle out of court ordering you to shut up and keep the dirty secrets away from the public ear! This hypocrit governing system has been in the self distrust mode for a long time and I am completely appalled by this government as a whole-- ever since I worked in this damed place! It doesn’t surprise me why I hear so much hate at this place. After working more than twenty years at UCSD I have come to realize how out of control this government has become. I will never trust this government again, thanks to this pompous institution and its dishonest capitalist pigs at UCSD! I believe this government will ultimately fail from its own internal forces as well as those abroad, because it goes against the morality of people in general. If you really care,please contact me, I wrote a diary about my humiliating ordeal at UCSD. I ask anyone that is contributing to this system to stop doing so, until a public hearing through a private neutral party is in place-- to monitor them for many years- to ensure we will survive as a nation-- or there is no hope. I would deeply suggest that an internal investigation be folowed up on all employees terminated from the UC sys. I can gaurantee you will find a lot of horrible things! 5-20-08

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turko May 20, 2008 @ 4:07 p.m.

Adding to the River of Tears write up I forgot one more comment on the UCSD horrible treatment to me dated 5-20-08. I never thought it was possible when I saw trouble looming, but everyone of MY DUE PROCESS where violated and I mean "ALL" of them. Never once did labor relations bother for one moment to call me in and ask what was wrong! When I was expected to see them (labor relations) by order of their Director Doug Stauffer and assosiate Director Denise Goodrich-- I never received my legal representative (union rep Jhon Connors and Tony Servantes) during the entire ordeal that lasted months! Imagine that kind of crap happening to you! This is a Columbine in the makings! It was clear after many intimidations by their staff that on the last day I was asked to leave the department, my legal representative never came into the room to make his presence known to me. After making the decision to leave under severe pressure and against my will, the union representative came into the room from next door accepting the transfer. I realized at that point the UNION SETC had closed deals behind my back! I was truly alone! Two months after I left it was clear why all this was happening—three of the four people that where slandering me got promotions!

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