By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Bladine: Story resurfaces with a vengeance

Linfield Professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner wanted another bite of the apple in his campaign to discredit Linfield University President Miles Davis. He didn’t get just one, but a whole bushelful.

Our news story today rekindles distasteful controversies at Linfield dating back to 2017, before Davis arrived in mid-2018 from Shenandoah University in Virginia. Since then, Davis and Linfield have endured three tumultuous years, and Pollack-Pelzner has been a continuing thorn in some of those wounds.

Whatchamacolumn

Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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Setting aside the 2018 storm surrounding Linfield’s volleyball team — a high-drama situation resolved deftly by Davis — those controversies include:

Pre-2018 financial problems leading to 2019 faculty reductions; sexual offense and inappropriate behavior charges against members of the Board of Trustees and, to a lesser degree, Davis himself; overlaying all that with challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic; and lesser known, internal faculty power struggles related to Linfield’s 2020 conversion from college to university.

That’s a lot of apples, as previously reported. For a complete review, just type “Jubb” into our website search field; read today’s story, which links to a letter Davis issued in response to the 2020 controversies; and consider how this latest reprise of old news surfaced.

Two weeks ago, Pollack-Pelzner wrote a series of tweets retracing his grievances against Davis and Linfield, with special emphasis on accusing Davis of long ago anti-Semitic comments. Back in 2020, we reported Davis’s terse denial “in the strongest terms possible. These claims of bias on my part are fictitious, and were thoroughly investigated. I will not dignify the allegations by discussing them further.”

Pollack-Pelzner’s 2021 Tweets drew a letter of concern from Portland chapter of the Anti-Defamation League; Oregon Public Broadcasting, whose website indicates no 2020 coverage of the Linfield saga, dove into the whole story as if it were all new stuff; The Oregonian, which covered the 2020 sexual scandal but apparently missed the anti-Semitism charge, made up for lost ground with a lengthy investigative article published this week.

And now, we’re all revisiting these past offenses and allegations. Developments continue to unfold, like the call from the Oregon Board of Rabbis for Davis to resign, which occurred just as this column was going to press.

Linfield has rebounded financially, and its conversion to University status may be its best path to future stability. That good economic news evolved despite the series of controversies that Linfield hoped – now without success – were being left behind.

Meanwhile, Miles Davis remains a lightning rod at the local campus, as Pollack-Pelzner plays a mixture of Zeus and Thor in raining down bolts and encouraging others to do the same. It seems like a story with more to come.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

Comments

akeesey

As a longtime Linfield professor and a close colleague of Prof. Pollack-Pelzner, I'm confused by the image of him "wanting" another "bite at the apple." Prof. Pollack-Pelzner has never "wanted" or sought to hurt or expose college leadership; indeed, his diplomacy, generosity, truthfulness and equanimity are legendary. The problems at Linfield, which is a vital and effective place of learning, can be traced to those few Linfield leaders who've shown long-term arrogance and dismissive rejection of the faculty, the students and their representatives. Now they are defaming those representatives to protect themselves.

Oregonian

Davis certainly does seem to be a lightning rod. He seems to not have any diplomacy skills.

How did he "deftly" resolve the volleyball coaching crisis? That story disappeared without much comment by the NR or Linfield online news site.