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Student Defamation

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by *Kitsune*, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. *Kitsune*

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    So, things are getting kinda rough at my school. We lost a first-year student last year, following a psychotic break. The school handled it really well, but many students were worried about the possibility of an active-shooter event on campus. Nothing at all happened, but the rumor mill was fueled to the point of it's own insanity. Lies and gossip are being spread with gleeful malicious intent among the various campus cliques.

    I've become fairly alienated after students and faculty learned of my status as a disabled veteran. I posted a photo of a mechanic's hammer labeled as a reflex hammer (in deference to my blue-collar family background), and was told that half my class assumed I was going to literally actually bring it to class and murder people. I overheard my girlfriend openly being called a "bi-polar wh0re" amongst some of the popular students. A student recently informed me that "soldiers are just cold-blooded murderers with a license to kill." A few like to make fellatio gestures in public, regarding a student's sexuality. There is open drug use, frequent public over-intoxication, students drinking with professors, etc. Basically, cliquey high-school-esque drama....
    But, last week, I was falsely reported for being high on drugs during anatomy lab. By a professor and a GTA. I was told by the dean that I should look for alternative careers, in probability of expulsion or letter of reprimand. I've taken a voluntary drug test at a local clinic, and my blood is perfectly clean. I have a dozen witnesses from the lab claiming my innocence, and employer-mandated drug testing from earlier this summer showing no history of drug abuse. I have been accused in writing as having slurred speech, stumbling gate, glassy eyes and non-lucid behavior...yet I'd just finished a 3-hour spinal cord dissection nearly single-handedly, while having pleasant conversations with lab partners (I even showed them a intermediolateral column cross-section...pretty cool).


    I've spoken with several deans and the president of the school, and still await their action. The school counselor is apologetic to the point of tears. Student Services is non-committal and un-interested. So, counter-claims have been filed, and witness statements are being written on my behalf. I am gathering quotes for legal defense, to seek a slander/harassment/defamation lawsuit.


    I'm interested in learning how institutions can actually stop the process of active, ongoing rumor-mongering. It seems to be one of those "en masse" problems, where you can't really stop a bunch of people whispering. "You can't punish all of us"...etc. Is there anything I can do, as a victim? Should I even try? I've been warned not to rock the boat, lest I face expulsion.
     
    #1 *Kitsune*, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
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  3. Wolverines83

    Wolverines83 ASA Member
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    Not sure about the lawsuit stuff but it sure sounds like they're just trying to scare you. Why, I don't know. Maybe to get you to leave? Sounds like they have absolutely no way to expel or otherwise discipline you. They suspect a whole lot but have no proof at all. Look into the student handbook, usually they have some info in there.

    Oh and transfer if possible after 2nd year. For what it's worth, I'm combat vet too and it sucks but to most people especially the kids with zero life experience, vet equals mental instability.
     
  4. *Kitsune*

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    Well, I AM scared. I just want to graduate and become a surgeon.
    But, I don't dare go out in public, and I never attend classes anymore unless they're absolutely mandatory.

    I already willfully surrendered my first amendment right to free speech -- the dean made me promise not to ever talk about Iraq or my service, as a condition of my return to classes this year. I know now that it scares some people, which I didn't really understand before. But I feel like something is different...that it's being used against me somehow. I don't really get it.
    I'm actually a very peaceful person. I'm very easily bullied. And it seems to have become a post-exam pasttime for many of the students. And now, professors.

    I've learned that some of the younger "tough" males have discovered that intimidating the veteran gives them higher social standing and greater attention from females. A few have made a little game of verbally harassing me, knowing I won't do anything back because I do not place emphasis on that sort of childishness. I was fine with that...but I can't take it from professors and staff. I complain to the administration, but they write it off as the students just being young and immature. It bothers me so badly that my grades are suffering....which makes me look terrible and gives the students further entertainment and justification.
     
    #3 *Kitsune*, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
  5. Wolverines83

    Wolverines83 ASA Member
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    Hey man it's just like basic... Do your job and draw no attention! And in the mean time look into the legality of all this (honestly though, I still think they're just bluffing for some reason).

    But if the professors are harassing you, that's a different story. Maybe someone can chime in here BC other than some moral support I can't really give you any useful information for the predicament
     
  6. *Kitsune*

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    I don't draw attention. I sit in the corner of the classroom and I don't bother anyone. I'm helpful and nice and gentle in my speech. I shake hands and smile and say "yes ma'am, no ma'am".
    It doesn't help.
    The more I stay outside the group, the more dangerous they think I am. And the more pleasant I try to be, integrating myself into the group...the more intimidated and reactionary they get.

    The academic dean is completely understanding. He's apologetic to the point that his eyes watered up. But, he says I may have to leave simply because I am a thorn in their side. No matter if I deserve to be there or not, and no matter if I have anywhere to land afterward. And legally, if a university wants to expel a student for social outcropping...they can.

    Some of the students have told me about this, and they think it's a little funny. And I'm now $80,000 in debt without a back-up career, with one child and another on the way.
     
    #5 *Kitsune*, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
  7. SouthernSurgeon

    Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

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    None of this makes sense. You say the dean is understanding, but plans on expelling you for being "a thorn in their side"? What does that even mean? From what you've said, they have no academic cause to expel you, and no evidence of any misbehavior.

    A school can't expel you for "social outcropping", actually. See the lawsuit that CWRU just lost this summer, and that was a student where they actually had some cause to possibly expel them.

    And you sit innocently in class, but apparently 100 other students have all decided to gang up and pick on the veteran?

    And that they have expressed legitimate fear that you will bring a weapon to class to murder people.

    None of this story makes sense, at least as you are telling it.
     
  8. *Kitsune*

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    I do not appreciate your diminutive tone, sir.


    At a meet & greet at Applebee's before classes last year, a female student I'd never met picked up a steak knife, jabbed it at my face, and said (verbatim) "You'd better shut your mouth! And if this doesn't work, I've got worse in my purse!" Meaning, she has a concealed carry license.

    I'd asked her, verbatim, "How did you like being a nurse?" This was in front of 16 other students at the same table. People dropped their food out of shock. She told someone later that she just didn't like my tone of voice and assumed I was talking down to her. I actually thought her story was cool and wanted to know more.

    Both her parents are physicians. She goes out drinking with professors at the local bars regularly.
    I send money to my parents every month, so they can afford the mortgage on their trailer, instead of drinking.




    Make sense of that. Because I can't.
     
  9. GUH

    GUH Underdawg
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    I agree that the story sounds very fishy. How can they kick you out? Have you failed courses and remediation?

    There are some facts being left out of what this thread is telling us.
     
    #8 GUH, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
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  10. *Kitsune*

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    Well, the dean told me that I just don't fit in here socially, and I should start looking for alternative employment.
    But, I don't really have anywhere else to go, at this point, and I'd prefer to not re-enter the military because I'd be too far away from my daughter.
    I'm disabled from an IED explosion.

    I don't know what else you want to know, unless you're just looking for a reason why I must have earned this type of treatment. Which would put you in the same boat as half my campus.
     
  11. GUH

    GUH Underdawg
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    Vague charges of not fitting in socially are no grounds for expulsion. If what you're saying is true and there is nothing else to it then you shouldn't worry about getting the boot.
     
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  12. *Kitsune*

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    Are you sure? My dean led me to believe the contrary. He says that students have been reporting me because they're scared of me, and that's all it takes.


    I'm only about 140 lbs, soaking wet. Granted, I have a soldier's history, but I also have 2000+ volunteer hours with Big Brother Big Sister. And I cry everytime I watch Marley & Me.
     
  13. Oo Cipher oO

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    I have a problem with this. None of the things you've listed is an expulsion worthy event. You seem to be not telling us what has got you into trouble in the first place (or maybe you genuinely don't understand). Two people saying you seemed high in anatomy lab does not seem random. Why would they make it up? Because they hate veterans? Where you acting odd? Are you taking any pain medications? I've seen people, including disabled vets, who are taking high dose pain meds because of their injuries act very noticeably high.

    I'm wondering why are students scared of you? Do you post a lot of Facebook? I have a former infantryman Facebook friend who constantly posts a ton of right wing propaganda about guns, anti-muslim, anti-obama stuff that honestly makes him seem a bit unbalanced. Most times if students simply don't like you they will just ignore you rather than fabricate a story about how they are afraid you are going to bring a hammer and assault them. So I would take the news that people have reportedly been frightened as a wake up call to examine your behavior and demeanor.
     
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  14. Petypet

    Physician 7+ Year Member

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    Get off SDN and get some professional advice/help.
     
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  15. *Kitsune*

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    Agreed.

    The exact same thing is happening here.

    I'm kinda learning how the game is played, now. I was never really good at this side of life. I preferred just doing my job.
    The surgeon I shadowed said he wouldn't allow his children into medicine just for this reason. Said every male in his family had been a doctor, all the way back to the Crimean War. The patients were great, he said, and he loved the job itself. But his colleagues were literally bashing every other physician in their specialty in town, to rob patients from each other. Giving patients false advice in order to start malpractice suits...refusing to give consults out of sheer pettiness...false accusations of unprofessionalism...falsifying their partner's EHR records...any trick in the book that would get them ahead. I thought it wouldn't start until after I graduated, or that he was just being a complainer.

    This is shameful.









    Oo Cipher oO....would you have a problem with your own advice?
     
  16. costales

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    They kicked you off campus before?
     
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  17. Oo Cipher oO

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    Ok fair enough. I am making some assumptions, but remember you came here for advice. I'm just trying to imagine scenarios that may fit with the story you explain in your post. Right now you make it sound like the school administration and the students are conspiring against you for some unknown reason. I'm trying to make you think from the perspective of others. Why are they doing what they are doing? The reason we all seem so confused is what you have presented so far makes no sense.
     
  18. Sublimazing

    Physician Dentist 5+ Year Member

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    i do not believe for one second that you were alienated for being a disabled veteran...and i've said some terrible things to people in my time and no one has ever pulled a steak knife on me

    bottom line, people are interpreting your actions differently than you intend...so no one on this forum is going to be able to help you because your version of the story isn't the one that everyone (including the faculty) else around you is getting

    from your version they have nothing substantial to say "this is why we are kicking you out"...time to lawyer up
     
  19. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    Either you are completely disconnected from any ability to understand how you are perceived by people or this is a troll post.

    It's impossible to have this many different situations where random people decide they hate you without you contributing to it in some way. Get off facebook, don't sign anything, and consult with an attny if you get any official word of action
     
  20. abolt18

    abolt18 I regret nothing. The end.
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    Definitely missing parts to this story. Also I wonder if you are misreading their actions and words while they misread yours.
     
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  21. Oo Cipher oO

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    Do you guys know each other? This is the second time recently I have seen the dueling Ron Swansons post right after each other. But I shouldn't complain, at least you aren't penguins.
     
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  22. *Kitsune*

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    I think some of the problem may stem from my response to inflated egos. I was taught to see everyone with the same exact importance, whether a homeless drunk or an republican senator.

    Like the postings from the twin Ron Swansons and Mr. Sublimazing (yeah...ego) up there... When I read your words, I picture a twelve-year old little boy wearing his dad's suit, desperately trying to sound really important. It's kinda cute, actually. And the harder you try, and the more critical your statements become and bigger your ego seems, the funnier the picture gets...and you just don't realize it. Because most people, I assume, in your culture, respect you for things like that. So, I have to read and re-read your posting just to see what you're actually trying to say. While wondering how you maintain that level of unnecessary stress and when exactly you may have a stroke, or maybe an infarct. And people can sense that, and it bothers them.

    Or, they assume I'm looking at them in a diminutive (to them) fashion because I'm some kind of blithering idiot. Or on drugs. Or an axe murderer. But, I actually care about them more than they realize.

    I never learned how to fake the look of fear and awe that ego-driven people require. I don't really mean anything bad. Guess I gotta learn to change.
     
    #21 *Kitsune*, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
  23. GUH

    GUH Underdawg
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    Now the story makes more sense.

    Dude, get psych help (or at least counseling) and lawyer up. And don't assume we're trying to be mean; this is the exact same advice I would give a friend if he said the same things you're saying.
     
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  24. abolt18

    abolt18 I regret nothing. The end.
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    Haha nope I just happened to stumble upon the thread at the right time apparently. And it has happened recently. I almost wanted to just start quoting Ron Swanson back and forth to each other.
     
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  25. sb247

    sb247 Doer of things
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    Yeah, I'm going to go with troll...no way you are sincerely that much of an oblivious ass and managed to survive the interview process

    but for real, quality work on the OP...you actually had me tricked
     
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  26. abolt18

    abolt18 I regret nothing. The end.
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    So what I got out of that was, you PERCEIVE that someone is trying to be a jerk or self-inflate, and you respond as a jerk. If anyone even suggests maybe the problem is partly (or completely) your fault, they suddenly have a big ego and cannot be right. Think about that one duder. Only point I was making was that there is always more than one side to each story and the truth always lies somewhere in between. It sounds like there are misunderstandings all around.

    There are several vets in my class and I don't feel anyone has ever looked at them differently (good or bad) than anyone else for their past service. In fact all of this story was pretty surprising to me simply because I find there is a huge amount of collegiality at my school and I am stunned this kind of stuff would be going on at a medical school.
     
  27. Etorphine

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    No negativity intended, but please think about getting some professional counseling. With all this situational stuff that has been going on in school, it could help to get some guidance.
     
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  28. costales

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    I actually care about trolls more than they realize. But they're still trolls.
     
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  29. FutureInternist

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    People really need to know what rights of their are supposedly being infringed upon

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    Institutions can make any rules limiting speech, which you then have the right to protest about

    Free speech doesn't mean you get to say what you want, when you want. You have to be ready to face the consequences of people's reactions when you do say what you are thinking

    Regarding your comment about not being able to have fake "awe" or "fear" of people....you are a veteran so you should be used to not having individual thought & following orders w/o question...Just pretend the attending/instructor is a superior officer
     
    #28 FutureInternist, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
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  30. AlbinoHawk DO

    AlbinoHawk DO PeeGeeWai Osteopath
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    I'm not buying this story for a second. Massive amount of students slut-shaming, girls drinking with professors, knife wielding at restaurants, psychotic people, etc. all at a professional school? Really, we're pretending this is real?
     
  31. *Kitsune*

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    So what I'm gathering is that you're all geniuses I should ignore in order to study, because you never bothered to answer my original question before beginning ad hominem attacks.
    And to remember that you actually exist in real life, and not just some horrible place in internet land...and I'm sitting beside you in class.
    And instead of being friendly and cooperative, you'd just rather argue with whomever presents themselves as a target, while saying it's their fault. Which completely wastes my time from doing something that makes me happy and productive, and makes me immediately look really bad for bothering to talk to you in the first place.

    So, basically, kindergarden drama for nerds.


    Well, that's a shame. I keep hoping to make a friend or two.

    Goodbye. Try not to give each other aneurysms.
     
    #30 *Kitsune*, Sep 8, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
  32. CrimsonKing

    CrimsonKing Living the dream
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    If somehow you're not a troll:
    1. Go and see a psychiatrist. While it may not be apparent to you, you could well benefit from a mental health evaluation.
    2. Consult a lawyer to make sure all of your bases are covered. "Bases covered" implying that you've been working on your mental health, of course.

    Best of luck.
     
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  33. xffan624

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    OP you failed to answer any of our questions asking for clarification, which makes it difficult to help you. Your story sounds so unbelieveable that it would make it impossible to help you if it were actually true as you describe it. In response to our inquiries and disbelief you answer with attacks, snarkiness, and the victim card. If this is the attitude you take toward your classmates, it might go a little ways toward explaining your story as it seem a bit immature.

    FWIW, I am a disabled veteran as well and I have never experienced anything like you describe. I have talked about my experiences during deployment to my classmates and most are interested and intrigued by my stories.
     
    #32 xffan624, Sep 8, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
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  34. SLC

    SLC Lock, Step, & Gone (Graduated!!!)
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    OP have you ever been evaluated for a personality disorder? Borderline jumps immediately to mind. You seem like you're splitting all over this thread.

    I don't say that to be rude, but if you do have a problem you probably won't be able to see that...

    I'm going to throw my advice into the pile of folks counseling you to get evaluated. It may really help you out in more ways than one.

    In the meantime, try and go back and re-read your posts from someone else's perspective. It's tough/impossible for me to imagine all the stuff that happened in your story being because everyone else at your school is unstable while you are perfectly even keeled and never did anything wrong.
     
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  35. MLT2MT2DO

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    I was thinking more along the lines of PTSD with paranoid delusions. ..either that or troll post.
     
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  36. MrChance2

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    I didn't read this whole thread, here is my quick response which I think can be helpful.

    If the admin is targeting you there is a reason and it is not because you are a combat vet. I would just do your work and keep a low profile, getting off fb might help too. I'm sure it is a complicated issue but I think generally if they want someone out things won't be good for that person. I would just try and make it so you are somewhere in the neutral range with admin. Just like HS medical school preclinical years end and no longer matter so long as you get through them and onto the next step.
     
  37. MU420

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    Read the first post and thought "Wow, this really happens in a medical school? Just how awful does the school have to be to allow this to go on?"

    Then I got to the Applebee's story and I just couldn't understand it. You asked her how she liked being a nurse and that prompted her to threaten you with a knife and a gun in her purse? If something like this happened just as you told it, she would've been the one to be reported and avoided by other students. I mean, that sounds like she was having a psychotic episode or something.

    As I kept reading, I noticed that you are off-the-charts pessimistic and blames just about everything except yourself, to a point where it is concerning. Then I saw this.

    Do you actually say things like that to people around you? It is frankly disturbing.

    Look, I don't have anything against you and I have no reason to gang up on you on some online forum. I honestly think you could benefit from seeing a counselor or a psychiatrist.

    I imagine that if you see this post, you will likely just dismiss it as you've done with other people's responses here, but if that many people in real life as well as people who have never met you all think that there may be something missing with the way you perceive things, then the chances of that really being the case is rather high. That is, at least compared to chances of everyone being involved in some conspiracy to make your life miserable.
     
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  38. wjs010

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    WTf. I've never heard of med school like this. Everything you posted is bazarre . I hope you find a resolution.
     
  39. ChrisGriffen

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    I am just going to throw this out there.....


    If any of these stories had an ounce of truth to them, a classmate of his would have recognized who he is and chimed in by now.
     
  40. Petypet

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    :troll:
     
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  41. Dr. Zombie

    5+ Year Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  42. Spindrift11B4

    7+ Year Member

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    Being a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan (in a very combat heavy role), I started to get rather upset reading the OP...then I realized how absurd it all is after reading more. I've never experienced anything even remotely akin to this. I don't proclaim from the rooftops that I'm a combat vet (present company excepted) but nor do I make a secret of the fact. It has come up in conversation with several people at my school and they either act disinterested or respectful...but never disrespectful. If nothing else it provides a good conversation piece. The amount and severity of events you have described as being directed at you is rather improbable. If you don't see this based on what you have posted here, you should consider the possibility that your perceptions are quite skewed and some psych help would be a great idea.

    Tangent: Unless the troll accusations are correct. After years of frequenting/lurking on internet forums, I still do not get the whole troll thing. Do people seriously waste their time making inflammatory/controversial posts just to get people riled up? I just don't get it.
     
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  43. SouthernSurgeon

    Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

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    Yes.

    It's hard for me to tell if OP was a troll or not.

    They vary in their level of sophistication. The most rudimentary trolls are the ones who register, post a ridiculous screed or two or an obnoxious link, and get banned.

    Then you will have ones who people suspect are blatantly trolling for some time, but ultimately dig themselves in a hole.

    There are also others who simply can't play well in the sandbox and repeatedly toe the line or say inflammatory things before getting banned - I don't know if it is even fair to call these people "trolls" as I think they are usually posting their genuine beliefs but just can't get along with others.

    The truly sophisticated "trolls" pretend to be something they are not for secondary gains of some sort. They have some real pathology going on. Think "cat fishing". There have been a couple of very notable examples of people who trolled this forum for a long time - one pretended to be a Hopkins internal medicine graduate for several years - giving career advice, etc, before finally getting outed.
     
  44. abolt18

    abolt18 I regret nothing. The end.
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    What???? Never heard about this. Who/when was that? And how did they blow it?
     
  45. SouthernSurgeon

    Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

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    It's been a couple of years and I'm blanking on the poster's name. And unfortunately you can't search banned posters. I think it had moon or something like that in the handle. I've been on here too long.
     
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  46. Goro

    Faculty 7+ Year Member

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    I concur that this is a troll post, but here's a teaching moment from my experiences as a faculty member.

    1) Deans and Administrations will bend over backwards to avoid even the hint of a possibility of a lawsuit by a student. You'd think their vertebrae were made out of gum rubber.
    2) If the OPs story were even 50% true, every lawyer in the country would be on campus trying to get him as a client.
    3) Every vet we've had as a student is treated with the utmost respect by their peers.
    4) Nearly all universities, much less medical schools, have professionalism rules and codes that would get professors fired if they went out drinking with students. We just don't do it.

    My BS detector was going off about halfway down the thread.

    So chill, nothing further to see here!
     
  47. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    Only getting your side of the story but if what you say demonstrably true I will donate to your legal representation fund. If your school is really that bad in terms of gossip, professors binge drinking with students, open hostility against gays and veterans, then the board of trustees needs to step in, investigate, and fire every administrator who presided over the development of this type of atmosphere.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN Mobile
     
  48. NontradCA

    NontradCA American Hero
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    That's an elaborate troll for sure. My guess is that it's an DO student with a grudge against veterans.

    Haters gonna hate.
     
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  49. Eokpar02

    2+ Year Member

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    This is utter trolling.
     
  50. jw3600

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    It seems like this is a troll but it made me curious about something. If you are a disabled vet from an injury during deployment and you apply to medical school, you still have to meet their technical standards right? Be able to talk, see this, lift this, hear that, and basically all the stuff required to work as a doctor taking H&Ps and so forth. Well let's say you have a BKA from an IED and you are officially disabled and on disability insurance. But let's say you can meet all standards while using a prosthetic and be just as efficient a doctor as a uninjured person. Does that make you then NOT disabled. Because if you are able to work as a doctor are you really "disabled" from your injury? Am I explaining this right...
     
  51. Dr. Zombie

    5+ Year Member

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    You can be disable and not be able to employ your profession.

    Or you can be disabled and are able to employ your profession "with reasonable accommodation."
     
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