Documents To Check Out:
(1) Co-worker transcript #1, (2) Co-worker transcript #2, (3) Excerpt Co-worker Transcript (4) WBI blames Val Cade for Kevin’s death, (5) WBI Blames UVa Ombudsman for Kevin’s Death,(6) WBI Response to Ethics Professor, (7) Elliot Wood & Chronicle of Higher Ed Correspondence,(8) Police Report, (9) Kevin’s PHone Bill, (10) Morrissey Lawsuit, (11) “Repairing” WBI Zognby Results (12) Note Found On Kevin’s Computer , (13)Letter to UVA Ombuds , (14) Mexican Journalist email (15) VQR development plan, (16) Namie Bumped Off Today Show, (17) UVA_Investigation, (18) Teds letter to friends, (19) Kevin_Waldo out of office, (20) Forwarded Message_Maria_HWB, (21) Kevin’s Suicide Note,
Who Was Kevin?
During Kevin Morrissey’s childhood his sister Maria says she protected her little brother from family violence. While Kevin was still in grade school, Maria left home to work in the Renaissance Fair circuit. They stayed in touch only occasionally and renewed their relationship for a brief time many years later when emails made it easier to be in touch. A few years before his suicide, Kevin shut down communications with his sister. She never met any of the VQR staff or Ted before Kevin’s death. In his interview, Ted Genoways talks about his close friendship with Kevin when they first met at the Minnesota Historical Society. Shortly after moving on to become the editor of the prestigious Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Ted invited Kevin to join him as the Managing Editor. Note: Kevin’s VQR co-workers claim that Ted was a bully at MHS but when I mentioned this to Greg Britton, their boss, he laughed. Apparently Kevin and everyone there felt it was a great opportunity. Ted and Kevin’s friendship began to fall apart a year or so before Kevin’s death. Who was Kevin Morrissey? Watch the clips and decide for yourself.
What Just Happened?
Within weeks of his death, Kevin Morrissey’s co-workers let administrators at the University of Virginia know that Kevin they were worried that he might be suicidal. Then, on the morning of July 30, 2010, Kevin let his staff know that he would be taking a personal day. Later that morning Kevin walked to an abandoned Coal Tower and called 911 to report a shooting. He then took out a gun and killed himself. Charlottesville detectives found his last will and testament lying near his body with information on who to contact. When Kevin’s sister, Maria, learned of her brother’s death she called the University to find out what happened. Within hours she was on the phone with Kevin’s best friend and co-worker, Waldo Jaquith, who told Maria that Kevin was being bullied by his boss, Ted Genoways. Maria googled “workplace bullying” and found the Workplace Bullying Institute where she read about abusive bosses before calling Ted to confront him. Can anyone answer why Kevin Morrissey committed suicide? Watch the clips and decide for yourself.
Were the Bullying Advocates Right?
Within hours of Kevin’s death, Maria googled up and emailed the Workplace Bullying Institute. Within a day or two she received a call from the WBI founder, Dr. Gary Namie, the go-to expert for this topic who first brought attention to this topic in America. His website boasts over a 1,000 media appearances. Maria quickly became a passionate supporter of Namie’s anti-bullying legislation and used news stories about her brother to help promote their cause. This version of the story was center stage in the press long before UVa completed their Internal Audit on what happened. Was Kevin really bullied? In a comment Namie posted on an article published in the Charlottesville newspaper, The Hook, he wrote: “…Genoways can be the catalyst for a Virginia lawmaker to to introduce our bill in 2011 in Kevin’s memory…Let UVa be made an example of an employer unwilling to do the right thing. Maybe the state institution’s bungling and Kevin Morrissey’s sacrifice can be the catalysts for a Virginia state law.” But, would Namie’s law that Maria lobbied so passionately for, have helped Kevin? Besides having to prove that he’d been bullied, at the time of Kevin’s death, the WBI legislation was purposefully crafted to include hurdles that required that targets of abuse prove that the alleged bully acted with malice, something even his co-worker, Waldo Jaquith, denies seeing. Maria stands with the Senate and House sponsors of the WBI anti-bullying press conference at the New York State Capitol. Embedded in the clip are excerpts from a transcript of a conversation between Ted and one of Kevin’s co-workers who provides an alternate look at what really took place in the VQR offices as they ask for the opportunity to “step into Kevin’s shoes.” Did anti-bullying advocates see VQR as an opportunity to push their agenda and alter the coverage of this story? Watch the clips and decide for yourself.
The VQR story first broke in the Chronicle of Higher Education barely two weeks after Kevin Morrissey’s death linking his legacy to the topic of workplace bullying. The Today Show and other major media soon followed. Prior to becoming a VQR contributing journalist, Elliott Woods had been an intern at VQR during the time period that Ted was allegedly bullying Kevin. He felt the author of the Chronicle article relied too heavily on Kevin’s devastated co-workers and painted an unfair version of the personal dynamics in the VQR office. An article written by Dave McNair, a local reporter for The Hook, drew 650 comments — many of which were submitted by people intimately involved in the story. He continued to cover each turn of the story and has been criticized for possible bias. In the comments section of his second article about WHAT KILLED KEVIN McNair wrote: “I have also known [Kevin’s co-worker] Ms. McMillen for a number of years, as a teacher, writer, and contributing editor/reader to the VQR. I have no reason to question anything she has told me.” Was the media biased in their reported? Watch the clips and decide for yourself.
Secrets Inside The VQR Office
Ted Genoways had plans to connect VQR with outside arts organizations and bring it to another level. He decided to hire Alana Levinson-LaBrosse, a talented 24-year-old UVA graduate whose father was a major donor of the University, to help with fundraising and development. UVa was bringing a new President on board and the announcement meant that Ted and his staff would no longer answer directly to the President’s Office and instead would be under the Vice President for Research. Documentation submitted by the staff reflects internal upheaval. By all accounts, for several months before his death Kevin was sinking into a deeper and deeper depression. Ted was awarded a Guggenheim and left the office on sabbatical believing he still had editorial control — the staff believed Kevin did. After Kevin’s death a co-worker reflected on the office atmosphere at that time: “…There was the hostility between Waldo and Kevin and Alana that they could not get along with each other. There was too much suspicion on the part of Waldo & Kevin for that to work. And Kevin became more and more convinced that Alana was there to take his job. And that he was going to be shoved out…” When Ted heard about the growing conflicts in the office he wrote HR that he heard that Kevin and Waldo were preventing Alana from completing work he’d left her and they told Alana that she was either with them or with Ted. And, finally that the staff were making editorial changes to the magazine. Shortly after that he sent an email directing Kevin & Waldo to work from home for a week until he could return. The email he sent to Kevin is among the documents embedded in the video clips. Was Kevin bullied? Watch the clips and decide for yourself.