Archive for Friday, December 28, 2012

KU School of Education dean apologizes for joking about animal cruelty complaint involving fraternity

December 28, 2012


A Kansas University School of Education dean has apologized for joking about a turkey that was abused and killed at a fraternity house party earlier this month.

Jim Lichtenberg, associate dean for graduate programs, emailed the joke to two other deans Wednesday in response to an email from an Indiana woman who contacted the three deans to protest the recent incident in which the rented turkey was chased and choked before a student killed the bird to end its suffering.

Jennah Dibiase, in Terre Haute, Ind., wished to send a message in protest of the turkey's mistreatment and chose the deans from a list of faculty email addresses on a KU website.

The dean's response included a slang term describing masturbation and was meant only for his two colleagues, he said later. But he inadvertently sent it to Dibiase as well.

Kansas University spokeswoman Jill Jess said the university considers the reported treatment of the turkey reprehensible and expects anyone involved to cooperate fully with ongoing investigations.

"The disrespectful levity used in this email does not reflect the opinions or actions of the university on this issue," she wrote in a statement.

While the Lawrence Police Department investigates whether animal cruelty laws were broken, the Kansas University chapter of Beta Theta Pi, where the party took place, has been suspended "indefinitely" by the fraternity's national organization.

Lichtenberg has called his email joke stupid, unprofessional and embarrassing, and said he tried without success to recall the email after he realized he had included Dibiase in the reply. After learning Thursday from The Kansas City Star that Dibiase was displeased at his response, he contacted her to apologize.

In an email to The Star, which Lichtenberg also provided to The Journal-World Friday, he wrote that his joke was not intended as a comment on the actual cruel treatment of a turkey and that he should not have written it.

"That I would craft such an email was most certainly a significant lapse in judgment on my part," he wrote.

Lichtenberg's original email to the two deans and Dibiase was not available to the Journal-World Friday.


Gandalf 1 year, 3 months ago

You can limit my right to choke my chicken once you peel it from my dead hand!!


oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 3 months ago

Big deal. This is the best Lawrence can do for news. If every email or conversation was commented on, there would be no new topics, just a rehash of an old one.

Would this topic have generated any press if the email had been sent from the janitor? Probably not. But coming from a Dean, makes it appear as a literate piece.

Time for KU custodians to start doing the joke writing, and I bet they have some about the Deans. And why should someone in Indiana even give diddly squat?


pilch 1 year, 3 months ago

Non-issue. Bad, yes, end of all no. The Animal (no) rights types should have seen what an AT-4 did to a camel. I thought it was Syrian, I meant Iraqi. I will stop now before war crimes surface. BTW Horse tastes wonderful.


whats_going_on 1 year, 3 months ago

This whole thing needs to just die. How embarrassing, on all accounts.


Mark Pickerel 1 year, 3 months ago

This is certainly front-page upper-fold news, no question. I smell a Pulitzer for this gutsy expose'.....


Laus_Deo 1 year, 3 months ago

These government employees can be so funny. I wonder if the joke the dean told was this one?

A government dean buys a parrot, only to have it constantly insult him. He tries everything to make the parrot stop, but nothing works. Frustrated, the government dean puts the parrot in the freezer. After a few minutes the insults stop. The dean thinks he might have killed the parrot, so he opens the freezer and takes the parrot out. The parrot is shivering. It stammers, “S-s-sorry for being r-r-rude. Please f-f-forgive me.” Then, after a moment, the parrot softly asks, “W-w-what exactly d-d-did the turkey do?”

or was it this favorite?

G-dean 1: What’s the difference between a pirate and a cranberry farmer? G-dean 2: I don’t know. What? G-dean 1: A pirate buries his treasure, but a cranberry farmer treasures his berries.


oldexbeat 1 year, 3 months ago

There is no private on the web. None. Asst deans that don't know that aren't ready for their positions.


kuguardgrl13 1 year, 3 months ago

I think I can figure out how this arose. If you do a basic search for "dean" on the KU website and scroll through the results, the SOE deans are one of the results. This lady was probably looking to email the head of KU and didn't realize that Gray-Little is the Chancellor. Some schools use president or provost, other small schools might use dean. Terre-Haute is a pretty small border town.

But in all reality, the dean made an honest mistake and has apologized. The SOE faculty will laugh about it in a few weeks and go on about their business. What else can they do when this lady emailed some random faculty members about something that happened off-campus? She would have had more success with the Vice Provost for Student Success or the president of the Interfraternity Council.


patkindle 1 year, 3 months ago

Jennah Dibiase, has skillfully shifted the blame of killing a defenselss animal to the dean. she is beyond the real world


JackMcKee 1 year, 3 months ago

I am offended that Jennah Dibiase sent the email whine to someone with absolutely no responsibility for the fowl behavior. I think she owes everyone an apology for acting like a Chicken Little. This whole event is like letting a fox loose in the hen house. I hope she gets her pay docked down to the level of chicken feed.


hbjayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Ian, see from.the comments,.it is just a poor article. No offense, your other work is just better.


Gregory Newman 1 year, 3 months ago

Yes it was stupid and shouldn't have been said or done. But most of these animals lovers don't have qualms or convictions about aborting babies and a whole bunch of folks know plenty of them but its never an issue or becomes a story. Its time to check both sides.


Ian_Cummings 1 year, 3 months ago

We've reported on the abuse allegations previously. If you want to know more, you might read this earlier story:


Cynthia Schott 1 year, 3 months ago

Since the focus of this article seems to be the humor behind the professor's levity as opposed to the abuse of the turkey, I am perplexed.


MacHeath 1 year, 3 months ago

Much ado about nothing.

never heard a word about the frat suspension, before this article...

I would still like to know what the purpose was of this "tradition" . I doubt they cleaned and cooked it, as those boys wouldn't have the faintest idea how to perform that task. What happened to all those birds, in the past? Did they just harass the thing to death every year, or what? If there was a legitimate point to the whole thing, it might not seem so stupid or evil.

Get on that, Cummings!


hbjayhawk 1 year, 3 months ago

Your comment is so right on! There is no doubt in my mind that if this was a matter that concerned the Assoc Dean, he would have acted appropriately. His lapse of judgement should be met with a very light slap on the wrist by Dean Ginsburg at best. Knowing the SOE, I'm sure there are chickens and decorations in his office waiting for him when he returns for Spring. Since he has a stellar record, this transgression from a PETA nut job shouldn't be newsworthy. Shame on LJW for making this front page news. Jim. If your reading this, I feel for you...but laugh it off...its really funny!!


Kansascityatty 1 year, 3 months ago

She's lucky his email reply wasn't something along the lines of "who the F are you? Why the F do you think I have anything to do with this? Why the F did you email me? What the F do you think I have to do with a fraternity off the campus of the University for which I work? What the F are you protesting that necessitates contacting me?" I ran into a similar problem a few years back when a woman from New York wrote me a letter complaining about the kids three blocks over being too loud outside while they were playing basketball. Oh wait that didn't happen.


bookwise 1 year, 3 months ago

He should be fired! Seriously! I assume he thought his colleagues would think his comments funny.As a proud graduate of the School of Education with a yearly financial award always given to an outstanding instructor I am appalled at this attitude and lack of judgment. If there are no repercussions from this behavior I am much ashamed.


Caz Snwot 1 year, 3 months ago

He lives in the wrong town for something like this to happen... I foresee a forced resignation in his not to distant future... Now... if he were the dean of K-State... probably not such a big deal. Sorry dude.


weeslicket 1 year, 3 months ago

i am sending an email to the dean of the business school protesting this response to the protest as a response to the original protest. i think i'll cc the merc also.


patkindle 1 year, 3 months ago

very well put kcatty, i agree 100%, you just cant fix stupid


Kansascityatty 1 year, 3 months ago

I don't feel sorry for this woman at all. What in the world did she think the dean of the school of education could do about an off-campus school organization? Even if the fraternity was on campus what would the dean of education have to do with them? This is like having your flight delayed then sending an email complaining about it to the manager of the Burger King at the airport. He has nothing to do with them and if she is too stupid to realize that she got what she deserved in his sarcastic reply. When you act stupidly you should expect people to reply in a similar manner.


Lynn731 1 year, 3 months ago

An investigation into whether animal cruelty laws were broken should take less than an hour. Of course animal cruelty laws were broken !!


Kerry Putthoff 1 year, 3 months ago

Humor is one way that some deal with a reprehensible action. It is how some move forward. However someone in this instance at that level of responsibility should use more judgment when commenting on issues such as this. Do as I say, not as I do? I have to say, REALLY! What is missing here is the fact that these MORONS think it's cool to do this sort of thing in the first place. I used to be a hunter for many years. One of my biggest fears was that I would wound an animal and not be able to find it, and it would suffer and die. Farmers treat livestock much better than this, yes they end up on the butcher block, but it is as humane as can possibly be. No I am not a vegetarian, what I am is someone that shows respect for other living things. Random cruelty such as this is where people like Jeffery Dahmer, BTK and others got their start. What is to keep this group of idiots from deciding that one of their rival frats or someone off of the street is their next play project when they go on the next drinking binge!? Boys, and I do mean BOYS! You need a good old fashioned trip to the wood shed!


rtwngr 1 year, 3 months ago

Ok, I'll say it! They were making turkey jerkey.


hedshrinker 1 year, 3 months ago

What I find offensive is people who trash other people...or animals..,and then in a totally passive-aggressive way, say, oh what's your problem; it was only a joke; lighten up...and as for the Dean's behavior, I'm sure in his sections on professional comportment he lectures prospective teachers about not leaving a paper trail if you're going to act like a jerk. I tell my clients and students that acting professionally means you behave like that your boss, or students or patients or wife or parent was listening /standing beside you...then you don't have to worry about somebody finding out about the stupid thing you just said or did. Being a mature grownup usually means there is a high degree of congruency between your public self and your private self;;; it's concerning when professional, supposedly mature people behave in public (intentionally or not) like sophomoric,drunken and perhaps cruel frat boys. One of the worst things about not just the Greek system, but many groups in general is that they can promote a level of anonymity and herd behavior that individuals would never feel so emboldened to pursue. Applies to the internet as well, come to think of it.


kernal 1 year, 3 months ago

Okay, y'all are gonna tell me you've never said anything stupid in an email, twitter, fb or another social media setting? Yeah, right.


PhilChiles 1 year, 3 months ago

OH WHO CARES. Hey that's a first, I've never used all caps on the Internet before! Seriously though, clearly they need to throw this guy in a volcano. Any other punishment will only be a slap on the wrist.


toe 1 year, 3 months ago

All three deans emails should be searched for sexually explicit language and other inappropriate content. This laps of judgement appears to be routine inappropriate emails that may suggest sexual interests in his colleagues.


Keith Richards 1 year, 3 months ago

Should have used a gmail address. Lighten up folks, this is kind of funny.


mrjcg2 1 year, 3 months ago

And this from someone who should be a role model. Probably a very well paid role model. Looks like his true attitude was displayed.


KU_cynic 1 year, 3 months ago

Okay, a quick search does not seem to reveal the contents of the email, but the "slang term for describing masturbation" was no doubt "chokin' the chicken."

I can see how that might be funny, and I cannot see any reason why a newspaper can publish the words "slang term for masturbation" yet not publish the words "chokin' the chicken." Somewhere George Carlin is smirking.

I also await being censured for violation of some stupid "use policy" of the chicken-chokin' LJW.


joes_donuts 1 year, 3 months ago

Lighten up people, soon we will have a society devoid of laughter. Whatever it said, it was a joke.


Currahee 1 year, 3 months ago

It's only a joke until the beans get spilled.


FrankTheFarmer 1 year, 3 months ago

The story should read "ex-Dean"....sounds like a low-class buffoon.


password 1 year, 3 months ago

what a jerk for even sending the email in the first place.


Matthew Herbert 1 year, 3 months ago

the inability for the general public to avoid using "reply all" is hilarious. Even those supposed "educated elites" in academia can't figure out the basics of e-mail.


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