IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, )
v. ) Case No. 00-0385-CV-W-2
GALEN L. GREEN, )
I, Galen L. Green, being duly sworn, state that I am the defendant in the above-referenced case and that the facts and statements set forth in the following affidavit are true according to my best knowledge and belief.
Galen L. Green
Subscribed and sworn to before me, a Notary Public, this day
of , 2001.
My commission expires:
My case is founded upon the principle that both an explicit and an implicit CONTRACT exits between every graduate student enrolled in an American institution of higher learning and the agents of that graduate school, and that, among both the stated and understood terms of every such contract is the student’s (as consumer’s) right to due process to be afforded by the school (as vendor). In this sense, the civil dispute at hand is, at its core, a CONSUMER FRAUD issue. That is because the 1983-84 catalogue published by Saint Paul School of Theology (United Methodist), the graduate school in question clearly states that students will be afforded due process, should the need arise. That is the EXPLICIT contract. Just as relevant, however, is the IMPLICIT or understood contract between student (consumer) and school (vendor), which will be discussed in greater detail within the body of my statement.
I believe that the facts which follow will show that the school/seminary (vendor) BREACHED ITS CONTRACT with the student (consumer), the defendant in this action, and that, in so doing, it violated the terms of its having received federal government money in the form of my tuition and fees for the academic year 1983-84.
The ramifications of the court’s pending decision in United States of America v. Galen L. Green will, however, reach far beyond its impact upon my puny fate. Certainly, if the court finds against me and forces me to submit to the terms of repayment the U. S. Attorney’s office has demanded, I will be crushed financially, rendered socially impotent and bereft of any glimmer of hope for any semblance of a retirment before I am taken from this world. (This is no exaggeration, as the enclosed financial disclosure material will corroborate.) In a word, those who defrauded me in 1984, thereby destroying my hopes for economic and social stability, will have won their final victory. They can delight in seeing the final nail driven into my coffin.
But, far beyond any potential personal tragedy on my part, a judgement against me in this matter would send a resounding negative message to administrators in graduate schools of all types across America, that they have permission to behave in as reckless, lazy, prejudicial, duplicitous,
underhanded, fraudulent a manner as they like, in their future dealings with the unsuspecting students (consumers) who pay good money (whether their own , the government’s or mom’s & dad’s) to undertake studies with these institutions (as vendors) in a good-faith effort to acheive their version of the American Dream.
To put it another way, if those duplicitous agents of St. Paul of Theology who deprived me of due process in 1984 are allowed to get away with it this final time in my own case, then no graduate student in America will ever be safe from similar abuse in the future.
The following observation by Wendy Kaminer, a columnist at The Atlantic Monthly and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, speaks directly to this point:
In institutions supposedly dedicated to intellectual freedom, professors,
graduate students, and undergraduates were prosecuted [during the
1980's and 1990's] for speech crimes, thought crimes, and bad attitudes
by academic tribunals that offered little due process.
This comes from her 1999 book entitled Sleeping With Extra-Terrestrials, The Rise of
Irrationalism and Perils of Piety (Vintage Books, 2000, p. 214). It was just such a tribunal which prematurely aborted my budding ministry in the Methodist church by choosing repeatedly to ignore the facts, thus denying me any semblance of due process.
Abraham Lincoln once posed the question, “If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a horse have?” To which he got the following response: “Five!” Lincoln shook his head. “No,” he smiled. “Four. Simply calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one.” By the same token, simply calling a kangaroo court, tribunal, star chamber or inquisition “due process” doesn’t make it due process. Yet that is precisely what the tribunal which unilaterally ended my seminary career did. They shamelessly sandbagged me and called it “due process.”
I have been led by informed sources to understand that one of the terms of all guaranteed student loan agreements is that, if the borrower/student becomes the victim of a fraud perpetrated by the institution he/she has borrowed the money in good faith to attend, then the borrower/student is not required to repay the loan. Such was the case with the loan I took out in Wichita, KS, in August of 1983.
The reason I have been unable to repay my student loan has been that I was defrauded by the institution I had used that loan to attend from August 1983 to May 1984.
The purpose of this document is to clarify these particulars for the court:
A) The circumstances involved in my taking out the student loan in August of 1983,
B) The circumstances involved in my use of that student loan, and
C) The circumstances which have prevented me from repaying that loan.
A) Taking out the Student Loan
In August of 1983, I took out the student loan in question in order to attend Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, MO to study for the ministry in the United Methodist Church. Having been reared in the bosom of the UMC and having earned an M. A. In English and Creative Writing at the University of Utah, I had been struggling to build a career as a writer and writing instructor, when I was called to the ministry and applied successfully to be admitted to the St. Paul seminary’s three-year M. Div. Program. My intention at the time was to complete the seminary’s M. Div. Program and to be ordained a Methodist minister (not so much to preach as to write and teach), which would have provided me with the stable, adequate income necessary to repay my student loan in a timely fashion. That was my plan, which I undertook in good faith. (Ref: Defense Exhibit : Statement to the Admissions Committee, dated May 18, 1983.)
By undertaking this commitment to the Methodist ministry, I was investing the entirety of my meager resources and putting at risk, not only those resources and personal energies, but my reputation and all my hopes for a better future, as well. It is of the utmost relevance to this case that the court understand that my commitment to this process was by no means something I took lightly, but rather was one for which I willingly risked everything that was dear to me.
And having grown up in a working-class (adoptive) family which was zealously active in the Methodist church, I believed that I was making this commitment to a noble, transcendent cause, framed within an institution that would surely prove worthy of the monumental risk I was taking.
B) Being Defrauded By Denial of Due Process
The means by which I was defrauded by Saint Paul School of Theology in the spring of 1984 was that I was denied due process. Even though my grades were very good, as was the feedback I was receiving from my peers, my advisers and the seminary faculty. I somehow became the target of a mysterious witch hunt or fishing expedition (on the part of parties whose names I was never given), sometime during the late winter of 1984. (Ref: Defense Exhibit : Seminary Transcript: Academic year 1983-84.) (Ref: Defense Exhibits , , , , and : Five (5) peer references from Donovan Gaffney, James H. Shrieves, Amy Leeper, Jack Porter, and Reva Rimmer, dated March & April 1984.)
O this flagrant denial of my right to due process committed by this accredited institution of higher learning, which had a binding contractual agreement with me at that time, these particular facts stand out as being verifiable, through the seminary’s own records:
1. I was never actually accused of any specific wrongdoing. None whatsoever. Not cheating on exams. Not sexual misconduct. Not drunkenness or sloth. Not even blasphemy. Nothing. No specific charge against me was ever brought to my attention. None. (Ref: Defense Exhibit : Letter to Dr. Larry Wagley, Chairperson, Academic and Professional Development Committee, dated May 15, 1984.)
2. I was, therefore, never afforded that most fundamental element of due process, the right to face my accuser(s). Obviously, I had to have been slandered pretty badly by some person or persons; but, to this day, 17 years later, I have been unable to find out by whom. What is a matter of public record, therefore, is the verifiable fact that I was denied due process by (and thus defrauded by) Saint Paul School of Theology by being denied the fundamental right to face my accuser(s).
3. In the spring of 1984, I was called before a so-called Academic and Professional Development Committee (APDC), to which I went gladly to testify and answer question, believing naively that my doing so would provide me with the opportunity to clear my good name. What I encountered, instead, was a totally unfocused mishmash of unrelated questions (all of which I answered truthfully, politely and fully). Being innocent of any wrongdoing, having proven myself to be a model first-year seminary student who mixed well (Ref: Exhibit) and was well liked by the majority of the other members of the first-year class, I found myself, near the end of that school year, February of 1984, the hapless target of a kind of “Spanish Inquisition” the acutal nick-name given to the APDC by second and third year seminarians - and for good reason, as it turned out).
C) How I Was Prevented From Repaying the Student Loan
As a result of my being defrauded in the manner I have just outlined, I was terminated from the M. Div. Program at the seminary in April of 1984.
As a result of the seminary’s fraudulent treatment of me during that period, my entire community of support was destroyed. The woman to whom I had been engaged at the time I entered the M. Div. Program and whom I had married in the middle of the school year suffered a nervous breakdown as a direct result of my suspension and filed for divorce almost immediately upon my return to Wichita. (Ref: Defense Exhibit : Handwritten memo to Dr. Alice Cowan & Dr. Paul Jones, April 27, 1984.)
More importantly, my 72 year-old widowed mother (adoptive mother), who had stood as the cornerstone of my community of support, particularly within our church, and as my strongest connection to the United Methodist Church, was devastated by what the seminary did to me. Since I had first shown an interest in liberal Christian theology, the Bible and the Methodist ministry at the age of 12, it had been my parents’ wish that that interest would eventually lead me into the ministry. For this reason, my mother was especially hard hit by the reckless and deceitful manner in which I was repaid for all the hard work I had put into trying to fulfill my dream of what could have been a successful career in the Methodist ministry, not to mention the financial risk I had taken, as well as the risk to my reputation within both the church community and my personal community of support.
Why didn’t I sue SaintPaul School of Theology for fraud and/or breach of contract at the time this devastating injustice took place? For three compelling reasons:
First of all, my resources were entirely depleted and my community of support was, by the summer of 1984, as I have just stated, destroyed. ** I had no money to retain an attorney, nor anyone I could hope to turn to for assistance, support or even sound guidance, during the stressful period. In plain economic terms, suing the seminary was simply not an option.
Secondly, and again as a direct result of the devastating impact the seminary’s gross misconduct had had on my community of support, my shattered family and my lifelong connection to the United Methodist Church, any talk of taking legal action against the seminary, as an arm of the UMC, would have killed by mother. As it was, she was to live for another six (6) years, so that, by the time of her death, the statute of limitations for my taking any legal action against the seminary had run out.
The third compelling reason I didn’t sue Saint Paul School of Theology for having breached its contract with me by denying me due process in the spring of 1984, was that I had resigned myself to somehow managing to repay the student loan, eventually. This sense of resignation was, however, born of a misinformed and wholly unwarranted sense of optimism about the Wichita exonomy in the 1980's. As is reflected by a chart of my earnings, prepared by the Social Security Adminiatration, my annual income rose above the poverty level only once between 1984 and 1997. As a result of the causal chain reaction triggered by the seminary’s misconduct toward me in 1984, I was reduced to working at a series of low-paying part-time jobs with no benefits, over most of the period from 1984 to 1996. The job I have now, as a hospital security officer for Health Midwest is the only exception to this tragic trend. But that has only been since 1996, long after the interest accumulated on the student loan in question had soared far beyond my ability to pay. Significantly, I have been too poor even to own a vehicle of any kind for the past eleven (11) years.
It may seem hard to believe that a reputable institution of higher learning, especially a theological seminary, could defraud one of its students by denying him or her due process. Yet I recently heard a report on National Public Radio about a student at Brandeis University who, with the support of the ACLU, is suing that highly reputable school for his being suspended without the benefit of due process.
I do not presume to know as much about the law as an attorney would, but from my humble layperson’s perspective, it appears that when an American citizen enrolls in any form of institution of higher learning and pays their tuition, the implied contract between the student and the school includes a reasonable expectation of the part of the paying student that they will be afforded due process, in the event that any charge of wrongdoing is brought against them. Such due process would, by definition, include the opportunity to face one’s accuser(s), the opportunity to know exactly what wrongdoing one is being charged with, and the opportunity to present one’s defense to a fair and impartial panel of one’s peers. On all three of these points, I was denied due process - and thereby was defrauded by the seminary.
“How could this have happened?” you might reasonably ask. The answer can probably best be found in the fact that a theological seminary is not a place where skepticism, rationalism, or a respect for free and open inquiry into the facts in any matter are likely to find a warm welcome, much less be celebrated or rewarded. One of the negative effects of this unquestioning deference to so-called “spiritual” authority and resistance to critical thinking is that certain unhealthy, self-serving personality types tend to be rewarded for slandering/”bad-mouthing”/defaming their fellow students in order to make themselves look good.
In practically any so-called “faith community” fishing expeditions and even McCarthyesque witch hunts with the ostensible purpose of ferreting out “sin,” is a much encouraged, handsomely rewarded preoccupation. (Ref: Defense Exhibit : Letter to Dr. George Baldwin, Director of Field Education, dated February 15, 1984.) In any social context where this is the case, the rules of evidence demanded as elemental in all arenas of American jurisprudence tend to be downplayed if not routinely disregarded. For this reason, religious institutions, theological seminaries, and other such “faith-based” or “spiritual” communities, with their inordinate emphasis on metaphysics, tend to be far less capable of providing any falsely-accused student with what the secular world of facts, laws, and rules of evidence would reasonable call “due process.” (Such was my case in 1984.) And it is primarily for this reason that the United States Department of Education should seriously reconsider lending money to those of us seeking to attend such schools, at least until theological seminaries and other religious institutions have cleaned up their act in this regard. At the very minimum, the U. S. D. E. needs to thoroughly investigate this matter and to establish some kind of governmental oversight entity to provide vulnerable students like myself with an extra layer of protection from the type of fraud of which I have been the victim.
If a student in a law school or medical school or even a liberal arts graduate school like the one where I received my masters degree in 1974 is slandered, maligned, or falsely accused of wrong-doing, establishing a motive for the breathing abroad of the false charge (especially one made behind closed doors as part of a whispering campaign of rumor, innuendo, insinuation and half- truth) might prove difficult at best. (Such seems to be the case with the aforementioned Brandeis University student who claims that he was suspended without having been afforded due process.) At Saint Paul School of Theology in the 1980's however, establishing a motive for students lying about each other behind closed doors to whatever authority figues would listen credulously was
easy. The knack for getting away with slander was good for one’s career. It therefore bore both direct and indirect monetary fruit. Moreover, it made the slanderer look good, as long as the target of the slander was not affluent, gay, female or a member of an ethnic minority. And lacked the resources to fight back. In 1984, Galen Green fit that profile perfectly and the lynchmob atmosphere of anti-intellectual, pent-up misophallic rage at St. Paul in the 1980's only served as further incentive to those unhealthy, self-serving personality types who quite correctly saw a whispering campaign against someone like me as a quick and easy way to enhance their public image while advancing their career in the church. The fact that they got away with it is the proof in the pudding that should prove more than sufficient to establish motive. The fact that the powers that be at St. Paul in 1984 let them get away with it - in fact, encouraged them to get away with it - is, however, the real issue here. And because they encouraged those who so successfully slandered me in 1984 to get away with it (while destroying my chances for the career in the ministry which would have allowed me to repay my student loan as I had planned to do), the seminary breech its implied contract with me by denying me due process.
And it is because this institution of higher learning, which I took out the student loan in question to attend, defrayded me that I humbly and respectfully pray that the court extinguish the debt in question.
I stated near the beginning of this letter that the particulars of my having been denied due process by the seminary are verifiable through the seminary’s own records. Until January of 1990, I was in possession of copies of all the documents they had shared with me in 1984. In January 1990, however, a fire swept through an old warehouse in downtown Wichita, KS, owned by Wichita City Councilman Sheldon Kamen, which he had had converted into storage lockers. The entire structure and everything inside were destroyed, including nearly everything I still owned - most importantly, photographs, journals, books and papers, including everything I had in my possesion pertaining to my sabotaged career at St. Paul seminary.
I beg the court’s indulgence and understanding of my circumstances. I am a poor man pleading for justice in a protracted situation in which I have already been wronged to the point of having my community of support devastated and my reputation, my family, and any hope for a better future all but completely destroyed.
3560 Broadway, Studio 323
Kansas City, MO 64111