BY WATCHING ADAMS STAFF – 2/22/18
In multiple interviews given to news outlets such as Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dr. Beverlee McClure has once again claimed to be the victim of “cyberbullying.” In a subsequent interview with the Albuquerque Journal, McClure escalated her claims to include “cyberstalking” by Watching Adams editor Danny Ledonne.
Currently on administrative leave as president of Adams State University (ASU), McClure has been widely portrayed by media outlets such as The Denver Post as being removed from office for her 2016 Halloween costume in which she dressed as an obese plumber by wearing a fat suit with rotting teeth.
Photos of her costume were published by Watching Adams in December 2016. Ledonne disputes the connection between McClure’s removal from office and this Halloween costume.
McClure has released a statement outlining her achievements while president of Adams State University, which have since been disputed by multiple current and former ASU employees with knowledge of the situation.
In response to the most recent allegations of “cyberstalking,” Ledonne released a statement to the Albuquerque Journal, printed here in full. He wrote:
I’m certain that my view differs from McClure’s and I will gladly explain why because she is substantially incorrect in her assessment. Beverlee McClure has made a practice of making false allegations against me for years and the claim that I “cyber-stalked” her is just the most recent.
Further, I believe the matter of the Halloween costume has been distorted in the interest of click-bait journalism and that deeper performance issues better explain McClure’s leave of absence from the presidency.
I. Background on Ledonne v. McClure
I was a faculty member at Adams State University (ASU), serving as an adjunct and visiting full time professor between 2011 and 2015 in the Mass Communications department. My contract was not renewed in 2015 and I petitioned the Board of Trustees to consider my offer for employment after four years of “meritorious” performance as a faculty member and contracted media producer.
On October 2nd 2015, I appeared before the Board of Trustees to formally request mediation on my employment situation with the university – citing multiple problems with the faculty search committees as identified to the Office of Equal Opportunity. This request was ignored.
On October 14th, newly-arrived President McClure banned me from the ASU campus with the threat of arrest and without due process. In banning me, McClure never specified what behaviors prompted the ban, nor any specific allegations of any crime I had committed. McClure went on to make false and defamatory statements about me in the Valley Courier and in campus-wide meetings.
- McClure claimed that I was engaged in “terrorism” against her and the previous president (I am not a terrorist)
- McClure claimed that I had made “direct and indirect threats against individuals and the university as a whole” (I did not)
- McClure claimed that I made threats of “physical violence” (I did not)
- McClure claimed that I was “on a watch list with the Colorado state police” (no such list exists)
- Along with then-ASU Police Chief Paul Grohowski, McClure claimed that I was a potential school shooter (no evidence has ever been established to support this claim, no police complaint was ever filed against me)
This controversy was widely reported at the time.
None of those allegations are true and the university never provided any evidence to substantiate them. In February 2016, the ACLU of Colorado filed a lawsuit on my behalf, alleging that my First Amendment right to receive information on a public university campus was being violated without due process, a violation of my Fourteenth Amendment right.
The university submitted no evidence in court and called no witnesses to our March 2016 preliminary injunction hearing. We submitted dozens of exhibits into evidence and called several witnesses. In July 2016, ASU settled the case by paying $100,000 and lifting the campus ban.
ASU officials never explained why, if I was a threat to campus safety previously, I was no longer a threat now. McClure refused to apologize for her pattern of defamatory statements.
II. Current Controversy Surrounding McClure’s 2016 Halloween Costume
WatchingAdams.org is a watchdog website I created in September 2015 and have been operating continuously since. We have published hundreds of news and commentary articles, podcast interviews with former ASU employees, link to external press coverage, and also publish anonymous reader comments. The site currently has over 345,000 page views with over 52,000 unique visitors.
In December 2016, my colleagues and I at Watching Adams acquired photos of McClure’s October 29th, 2016 Halloween costume. The costume caused great offense among some who attended this Halloween party, which was hosted by an obese man and his obese partner, then-Vice President Chris Gilmer. Gilmer was later forced to “resign” with a non-disclosure agreement containing a threat of legal action against him by Beverlee McClure.
We published a commentary arguing that her decision to portray a plumber by wearing a fat suit with rotting teeth was unpresidential conduct and mocked working class people. We argued that this was inconsistent with the university’s mission and represented a pattern of poor conduct by President McClure. The commentary is online here.
This article remained online for over a year. Then, we published a retrospective of McClure’s presidency in February 2018 upon learning she was placed on administrative leave. That article is online here.
Within a week, media outlets began to seize upon and erroneously connect her removal from office with this Halloween costume from 16 months earlier. I do not believe McClure’s removal from office is a result of her Halloween costume, but the Board of Trustees has only released a vaguely-worded statement that does not address the reasons for her removal.
If McClure was doing such a great job as president, why did the Board really put her on administrative leave during year two of her three year contract? That’s the question that no fat suit should be able to hide.
Why was McClure removed from office? It could have to do with the university’s academic probation by the Higher Learning Commission, years of declining student enrollment, ongoing fiscal instability and rising debts, a credit rating downgrade from Moody’s Investor Service, McClure’s multiple self-inflicted public relations disasters, ongoing high turnover by faculty and staff, pervasive reports of a culture of administrative bullying and retaliation on campus, or the forthcoming compliance violations and subsequent fines to be levied by the Department of Education. Yes, those are seem like a likely combination of reasons to remove a failed president from office… reasons far more explanatory in nature than an ill-advised Halloween costume.
III. McClure’s Pattern of “Making Stuff Up”
Beverlee McClure appears to have some kind of professional victimhood complex. She is willing to accuse others of committing criminal offenses without any basis of fact for doing so. She is willing to make untrue, defamatory and libelous statements against her critics but has never produced any evidence to support them, nor has any court of law ruled in her favor for doing so. So her pathology of victimhood has become inflamed because someone, somewhere finally stood up to her career practice of bullying people.
Beverlee McClure wishes that her critics were engaged in sexism against her, as she often alleges.
Beverlee McClure wishes that her critics were engaged in cyberbullying against her, as she often alleges.
Beverlee McClure wishes I am “cyber-stalking” her, or that I am engaged in “terrorism,” or that I am “on a watch list with the Colorado state police,” or that I have made “threats of violence.”
But none of these are true statements. Beverlee McClure made them up, which is a pattern for McClure going back to at least 2010.
“The trouble is that most of what McClure was [saying] without basis in fact – she simply made the stuff up.” – Beverlee McClure: Worst Person in the World, Clearly New Mexico, March 16th, 2010
“Association of Commerce and Industry president Beverlee McClure was paraphrased as saying Better Choices helped several progressive candidates oust more conservative incumbent legislators in the 2008 elections. Her assertion, which was completely untrue – Better Choices did not exist in 2008 and engaging in that activity would have violated its tax status – was allowed to stand unchallenged and uncorrected in the March 11 news story.” – Corrections, ABQ Journal Watch, 4/21/2010
Unfortunately, Beverlee McClure is either a pathological liar, exhibits the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or both. She has been removed from office likely because she left ASU worse than she found it and the campus is a better place for it. Since her departure, I’ve received multiple reports of employees hugging and crying tears of joy with renewed hope and raised spirits. Those dozens of employees she chased off during her tenure as president are relieved to see her go but saddened that she did so much damage prior to being removed from office.
In truth, McClure should never have had her one year contract renewed in 2016.
– Danny Ledonne, MFA