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04 Aug 2017
Audio Overview

Note: Audio not available

Mary: All right, we are recording. Um…this is Mary Wines interviewing Joan Fenton, and for the record, could you please say your name, and spell it for me?

Joan: My name is Joan Fenton. J-O-A-N F-E-N-T-O-N.

Mary: Excellent. All right, and you asked me the one question about your address, so I think that’s a really good idea, if you want to add that…

Joan: Box 4226, Charlottesville VA, 22905.

Mary: Okay, sounds good. All right, well, I’ve got some prepared questions, but we might go off the…beaten path, I suppose is a way of phrasing that? Uh, just as the conversation goes on. But first of all, could you tell me about June 10th, or whenever you discovered that President Sullivan had resigned.

Joan: Uh, I came up to…I have an office downtown, and I was working in my retail store, and I came up in the afternoon, and I saw this email that said, um, President Sullivan resigned, and it was signed by Helen Dragas, and I went “Who is Helen Dragas?” In my mind I always thought, “Gee, I always thought Sullivan seemed like a…good decent person. I wonder what she has done, ‘cause it must be something really awful if they’ve sent out this letter and had her resign two years after she came.”

Mary: All right. And…when did you find out that circumstances were different? Or…how?

Joan: Well, I started, I guess, looking into it, because the statement was so…without an explanation. And I just wanted to find out more, so I just kept…looking a little bit more and, I think as you’ve said when I interviewed you, that all the explanations sounded half…it just, it, none of it jived, it didn’t make sense. And then in finding out that they didn’t, um, have a meeting of the Board, that only three people accepted her resignation…um…and the fact that the faculty did not know about it…every piece just sounded worse and worse. There was nothing that gave me confidence that it was a good decision. As I got more information it appeared that she really had done nothing, and therefore I thought there’s got to be another explanation as to what went on.

Mary: Okay. And how did you proceed from there?

Joan: I was outraged.

Mary: All right.

Joan: I was absolutely outraged. Um, I had…there are things you hear in the back of your mind for years, um, and sometimes you…it’s whatever, you know, there’s this going on in the world, there’s that going on in the world, there’s whatever. Um, and sometimes you take an action, sometimes you don’t, and I thought, “This is an injustice.” The more I heard this was an injustice, this was something wrong, it struck me as morally wrong, ethically wrong, even if what they did was right, it was not done as it should be, and I think in this political climate that everybody feels disenfranchised. Nothing I do will make a difference. There’s nothing I can do or say, I’ve beaten my head against a wall on every issue. But I’ve learned, there’s an expression: “All politics is local.” Well, when you’re local and something happened, and it was done, I thought, most likely in the dead of night while everybody was away for the summer, and I’m here, then I should do something, because I’m the surrogate for all those people that are not here, and can’t be standing at that campus doing something about it. And I’ve always had a very deep sense of, um, you have to do what’s right. And, you know, you don’t always do it, but I tried to do that in relationships, and whatever, and this just struck me as morally wrong, and I felt like I had to bear witness. And I can go deeper into that, but, uh, you know, I grew up on, a Jewish person growing up in New York, you hear stories of the Holocaust, and you go, “how can somebody allow that to happen?” You read Anne Frank and you go, “somebody should…how can you allow that to happen?” You hear about Kristallnacht, and go, “how can people allow that to happen?” Well, this isn’t the same, but it is a…I’m here and I can actually do something, so why do I stay in the comfort of my home? You know, when it happens in Tanzania or in Somalia, I can turn off the TV and forget about it, but this is something here where I just felt like I could do something.

Mary: All right! And what did you do?

Joan: Well…first I just figured I’d go to the protest and find out what was going on, and, um, we had family visiting from Israel, and they had never been to a protest, and, um, I told my employees on Friday, I guess, I think the rally was probably the next Monday or Tuesday, I said, “Here’s the deal.” I said, “You want to close the store, I’m willing to close the store.” And you have to understand that I do not close my stores, ever. And I said, “I’m willing to close the store if you all want to go to the rally.” I had no idea if they’d want to go, if they didn’t want to go, but I said, “this is what I’ll do.” So a friend of mine told the local NBC affiliate here that I was doing this, and they called and said, “Can I interview you?” Well, I always get interviewed because I was chair of the board of architect review for eight years, I’m co-chair of the Downtown Business Association for twelve years, so I’m always, you know, if they want to do an interview I’ll do an interview. They try to do their job and I try to help them. So she called, and said, you know, can I interview you. I said, “Yeah, whatever.” So I said, I told my employees, “I’m not promising I’m doing it, I’m just saying if, you know, if they want to go I’ll close.” So it was picked up by the Lynchburg paper, and the Richmond paper. Monday morning, it’s about 9:00, 6:00 California time, and I get a call from a woman in California. “My daughter goes to UVa and I want to thank you for doing this.” And I’m like, crying, you know, like “Ohhhhh my god, I have to close the store.” You know, it just was like...and it was what I’m saying, it was, I’m here, and I need to do something. So at that point I said, we’re closing, that’s it. So I had people that had never been to a rally before, and all of them that were working that day except one went, and I had this young girl from Hollins, and she just, you know, she just got into it. Wasn’t her school, but she was really excited about it –

Mary: Casey?

Joan: Casey, yes.

Mary: She lived on my street, over the summer, so we met.

Joan: Okay, okay. So Casey came, so she’s, you know, with us, and she was very shy and timid, and she, you know, we were just, like opening up a whole world to her. And that was really interesting, and then my grandchildren came, and they’re like six and eleven and five, and, whatever, they’ve never been to this, and we’re just hanging out, and there’s no sound system. And we went to the next one and there’s no sound system. At which point I just said, I will get you, I emailed Susie or I posted or I did something, just, I talked to her and I said, “I’ll get you a sound system.” And she asked me if I would help with the on the ground because she was in Northern Virginia, and in the end she just sent me names of people, and I agreed that I would organize the on the ground. And I’ve put on music festivals, I’ve put on concerts, and so, um, Gary Green who’s the sound person at the Paramount, I called, emailed him, and he told me about this guy, Gary Kirby, um, and we corresponded, and Gary said he usually charges $800, he’d do it for $400, and I said okay, I’ll pay you $400 if you do the sound, um, Walt Heineke helped us to get the electrician and figured out who at the school we needed to talk to, we did all that. This woman, Susan Nicholson, was pointed my way, and she and I met, you know, you sort of meet people as you go along. Uh, somebody by the name of Jeff Belnate (?), and I don’t know if it was his idea but somebody came up with the idea to do the heads on sticks, so I sort of just said, okay, do this, this is what we should do, and he ran with that. Uh, this guy Jude, whose last name I’ve never known, said he would try to get the WiFi and the livestream, and it turns out it’s not something he knows, but he knew somebody, and they hired somebody to get, um, to do the video. And, um, we arranged to get the wiring, we met with the facilities management, we met with everybody, and we just sort of got there at 11:00 on the day of the rally for honor, getting the sound system, you weren’t here for that one, were you?

Mary: I don’t think so.

Joan: This was a huge, we weren’t sure how many people would come. This could’ve handled 10,000 people. We just had big, big speakers, monitors. We set up a table for the press, we set up a table for the speakers to check in, we set up, made sure the press had electricity, that they had press passes, Susie had been working with this woman, Rosalie Morton, who agreed, she was handling the press, so she had all the contacts for them, she was at the table, we had been corresponding but never met, um, Kay Slaughter, who’s the former mayor of Charlottesville, had volunteered, and I put her in charge of the information table or the volunteer table and Suzanne did the other, and Casey was working the table, I got her to do that, um, and then the transparency band, Chris and I had been corresponding, first he was going to get the pep band, and this and that, and then they decided they weren’t going to make it an official band, but they, and he got John D(?) to come, which really made it, so we, um, people were just saying “Where do you want us to be?” or “What do you want us to do?” So I told them how to set up the heads on sticks and arrange with Chris to be before the rally and after the rally. And through the whole thing there’s, um, all sorts of correspondences coming, like, um, Susie’s kind of in the middle of this, she’s the one with the Facebook page, and she’s talking to the Faculty Senate, and this and that, and she’s in this precarious position of being in the middle of everything, you know. “They don’t want music during the event,” and you’re like, okay, well, they’ll play before the event, and they’ll play after the event. When you talk to Chris he’ll tell you about it, he’s got a whole list of songs they did for the rally, and he asked me, well, you know, “What do you want?” and I said “Oh, do the school song.” I had no idea what the school song is. You know, they start to play Aud Lang Sine, and I thought, what is this? This is your school song? Are you joking? You can pipe in.

Mary: I want to say we have a different school song, but we definitely have lyrics to that one, and that’s the one, we – we sing it at touchdowns, so…

Joan: [Laughs] Well I didn’t know, so I suggested, and that’s the song that we had, um. So, um, you know, having done that, it sort of…then the next one was when they had the meeting where Sullivan was reinstated. And I wanted to do a sound system and the Faculty Senate didn’t want it. And we had this argument going back and forth, and I’m going, so what if Sullivan speaks? She’s not going to speak, she’s not coming, and I’m going “What if she shows up? What if she’s there and you want to hear her?” “She’s not coming, she said she’s not coming.” I’m going, “What if the Board of Visitors comes out and wants to talk? You want to have a sound system.” They kept saying no, no, no. So Chris finally, we agreed, and at the last, he just brought a sound system for the music department, and then it turned out they had set up, but they had such a small, nothing sound system, but at that point, you know, it’s not my school, it’s not my place. So he took that sound system back, so at that – were you at that rally?

Mary: Yes, where she got reinstated.

Joan: Yeah.

Mary: I was. I was standing next to a speaker.

Joan: You couldn’t hear anything! Nothing! And we had tried to have this, so Albie and I, we brought a boom box. Right, nobody else had a boom box. So we had forty people around us listening to the boom box, I had pictures of that.

Mary: I think I saw that crowd, over on the side…

Joan: Yeah! So we were the ones with the boom box, and we had known from the Rally for Honor that you can’t get any reception on your WiFi because there’s too many people there. So, you know, we had a small crowd, and lo and behold, Sullivan comes out, right? And I’m just going, yeah. And I already knew that she was being reinstated, I mean I had my sources, so I knew they had the votes…

Mary: Care to elaborate on the sources?

Joan: No, no, we’re not going for that.

Mary: Okay, all right, just wanted to –

Joan: It’s a small town, and everybody knows everything.

Mary: Fair enough.

Joan: And so, a lot of people knew what was going on in all that, and um, I knew the votes were there. I didn’t understand that they were going to flip it and then turn it into a unanimous vote, but I really thought, since it was clear ahead of time she was going to be reinstated, there was a chance she would come, no matter what anybody says. If you’ve ever done anything, you’d know that you can’t predict, and I just wanted that sound system there. So, um, but that was an interesting experience, that whole piece with that…I don’t know what the question was you asked me, but that’s as far as I got…

Mary: You know, that was a brilliant story, so I am totally okay accepting it. All right, well, at one point you said “It’s not my school,” so, I mean, was it just because of the community involvement that you wanted to be so involved with this, or?

Joan: Well, I think we all have a sense of whether you belong or you don’t belong, right? So I’m not faculty, I take classes there but I’m not really a student, I’m not on staff, I’m not an alum, but I care, okay? But, in getting involved, there’s this precarious position of not intruding, of not stepping on somebody’s toes, but it’s also that this is a bigger question than UVa. So from my perspective this is about higher education, not only in Virginia but in America, and what’s happening, so yeah, I do have a vested interest in it, but I still can’t walk in there and say to you “Turn the volume up,” or do this or do that. At the first rally, we had actually tried to help, because everybody in the family had technical skills, and WTJU was there to broadcast live, and what I found out afterwards was that they never expected to be broadcasting, so there was no sound system, an we all were trying to help, but there’s only, do you know, it’s, uh, I mean it’s…but I’m used to being in charge, I’m used to being a boss, and used to being able to run my own business, but you also have to understand the position where you are not, and you have to step back. And yes, I knew that you can get electricity here or there was a plug there, or that I could run home and get something, but there’s a point where you can’t, especially when it’s a new thing, you know, it’s just happening, you don’t want to be the person that’s too in your face, you can’t do that, it’s not right. It’s not my place.

Mary: Okay.

Joan: Yeah. So from that point I felt like I couldn’t do that. If I was chair of the faculty senate I would just say “This is what we’re doing,” but you know.

Mary: All right, well you mentioned you have some concerns about the future of higher education – do you want to elaborate on that at all?

Joan: Yeah. I’m happy to. I think that there is a philosophical discussion in America that most people are oblivious to. And I would guess that a lot of the Board of Visitors, people that were involved in this process, were not aware of that discussion, that they were doing what they thought was right, what they had thought was in the best interest of UVA, but then if you look behind the scenes there’s always something else going on, and I think that’s part of what an education’s about, is learning to not just accept at face value, and part of this whole discussion is learning to think critically, and there’s discussions of removing critical thinking form the university, and this is a clear example of why you need to have critical thinking, because you want to know what’s causing this, who’s doing it, the unanswered questions are, was this just some stupid mistake, or were there people behind this saying to do this, whatever their motives were? And, um, I truly believe in public education. I grew up where everybody believed you could afford college, that what is important in this country, you don’t want to lose out to China and to other countries, the best way you can do that is to have an educated populace. And there are people, and this came out afterwards, but in Wisconsin they were talking about, um, if you want to go back for a second degree, the state wouldn’t help you fund it. You had to pay full tuition. Well, I think if you went to law school and you want to be a doctor, so be it, and you’ll probably be a really good doctor with that legal education that you have, and if you want to be a teacher now, you want to be a…something else, every time you educate something the whole community benefits, um…and that’s part of this discussion too. So I don’t – and in listening to the Board of Visitors having gone to those meetings now, I don’t know that those discussions are really happening in that boardroom. So I don’t know, but I think you have to stand up for quality education and for making it affordable.

Mary: Wow. All right, um…ok, well, I mean, we all know she’s been reinstated and everything, but you’ve been keeping up with the story from there? So do you have anything you want to say about that?

Joan: Sure. I, um…

Mary: I’m sorry, I’m asking really vague questions here.

Joan: No, no, sometimes the vague is better because by being vague I have the ability to go off in any place I want…

Mary: Yes, any direction you want, we’re happy to hear it.

Joan: And if you were more direct, you may only get from me a yes or no. Um, having watched her in the board meetings…

Mary: And, just to clarify, who is her? Is this…

Joan: Okay, Sullivan. So I have gone to the August retreats, I’ve gone to every open meeting in August and September I’ve gone to. And I have watched Teresa Sullivan, and she is incredible in her grasp of everything that’s being discussed in that room, and there’s nobody else in the room that has the understanding that she has. And I have seen her put down by Bobby Kilberg, I’ve seen her demeaned by Goodwin, and I’m horrified at it, and I’m impressed by her ability to be in that room when somebody is wagging their finger at her and treating her abusively, almost, and just being able to keep her demeanor, because of what, this is my interpretation, because she knows the bigger goal is the school. So I have been so impressed with her, and I think that what she needs is to get that support from the board, and I think right now it’s…begrudgingly there. It’s not they’re saying, “You’re an incredible asset, let’s make this better.” And if they want to get past what occurred this summer, they need to come to terms with the actions that they did and realize that, from what I read and what I hear, they keep blaming it on everybody else. It’s the press, it’s people like me, it’s this class that we’re taking, it’s all those things that are bringing down the reputation of the university, and my thought is it’s them, and their unwillingness to answer the question. And until you answer the question, you’re never going to get to the point of being able to advance. And I have an analogy that I think works, which is that if a guy abuses his wife and kicks her out of the house, and says, “Goodbye dear, I found a younger, prettier woman, she’s going to take care of our kids, she’s going to run the family business, goodbye,” and then, none of his friends talk to him, they’re all annoyed with him, nobody’ll do business with him, kids won’t talk to him, and he says to the wife, “You can come back, but I don’t want to discuss it. And you can’t discuss this with anybody. Just come back.” And she says, “Okay, I really care about the kids, and I care about the business and our customers,” so she comes back and then he gets annoyed when everybody asks her what happened and tells her she shouldn’t talk about it. And the whole community, the kids, and everybody wants to know, and he keeps thinking it’s her fault for bringing it up. And he won’t ever come clean, and that’s how I see this. And I see this, and Goodwin made this analogy that, you know, he sits there and says to Sullivan, “You know, if every time my wife and I, over 46 years, had an argument, and she kept beating that mother to death, we wouldn’t stay married.” That was his words? And I’m thinking, “what does he mean by that, and what is he saying?” And after that I came up with this is what it really is, is you’ve just abused this woman, and she’s still willing to go on with this, and you keep doing it. So I have the utmost respect for her.

Mary: Who wouldn’t, after that? All right…

Joan: Didn’t expect that one, did you?

Mary: It’s a great analogy. That was brilliant, and I’m happy we have it on record now. Um…I mean, is there really anything else you want to say, about…I’m trying to find a question here that ties into some of the things we’ve already been saying, I mean…feel free to look and see if there’s anything you want to…

Joan: No, you look, I’m not looking, and I don’t have my glasses on.

Mary: Oh, that makes a lot of sense…

[Some filler material is omitted as Mary looks through her notes and as Mary and Joan discuss the benefits of Google Docs and Audacity]

Mary: We’ve already talked about your opinions of the Board of Visitors…

Joan: You know, I think some of them want to do the right thing, and some of them are stuck in what they did, and I guess there’s a couple that actually know what they’re doing.

Mary: Okay. Did you mention at one point something about chasing Helen Dragas somewhere?

Joan: Oh…

Mary: And is that a story you’d like to share?

Joan: [Laughs] Oh, I just stood in her way so she had to walk into the woman from the, uh, the Times-Dispatch. She was avoiding the press all the time.

Mary: Well, who’s surprised by that?

Joan: So I purposely stood someplace and then in her effort to avoid me she walked right into the Times-Dispatch woman. I did. I knew what I was doing, I must confess. And I probably enjoyed it.

Mary: Fair enough. I mean, that’s a great story.

Joan: It is. What else?

Mary: Well…you’ve already talked about public education, do you want to throw Thomas Jefferson in there somewhere?

Joan: Man, I’ve never heard any Thomas Jefferson quotes until this whole thing started!

Mary: Really?

Joan: No, and I just…you know, I’ve always been interested in history, and I have an interest in Thomas Jefferson, and I don’t think I’ve ever quoted him in my life, and I was just awed by the number of Thomas Jefferson quotes at the Rally for Honor…

Mary: Welcome to going to UVa.

Joan: And I…I didn’t know that. I mean, I always took it as an interpersonal admiration for him, and just liked him, and I have stores in Williamsburg and Jefferson lived there, and from my perspective it’s a merchandising thing, I sell things with Jefferson on him, you know, I sell Jefferson nutcrackers or whatever. Um, and I’ve come to have a greater regard for him from all this. I think, living here, some of that seeps in but you don’t really know it, you know, you’re surrounded, and it’s interesting because I was chair of the board of architecture review, so everything comes back to Jeffersonian architecture, and are we doing that, are we not doing that, what is the architecture of the period and of the time and of now, and so there is a more derogatory approach to Jefferson by developers in town, who don’t want to be held to a historic standard and a historic district, so that’s more where my Jefferson conversations have been. That’s the best way to phrase it.

Mary: All right, fair enough. That was just on the question sheet, so I thought why not?

Joan: No, it’s interesting.

Mary: Um, all right, well, here’s another one. There was specifically a rally for honor. Do you have anything to say about honor and how it pertains to the university, the community, or anything that was going on?

Joan: Well, this was interesting. Actually, for me it’s a good question. I grew up in the sixties. My experience is going to rallies when Nixon invaded Cambodia. We were loud, we were ruckus, there was music, we were screaming, we were whatever there was. We went to the first – I went with several friends – we went to the first two rallies that were silent, or close to silent, and I’m sitting there going, can we have some music? Can we inspire the crowd? And there’s all these correspondences going back before the Rally for Honor with Susie going, and I just ran across on my computer, about how we should behave, toning down the whole thing, and the rally for honor, and I’m sitting there going really? Really? And we have to have the music before the event and after the event, and I can’t have it during the event? And then I loved the event. And all of a sudden I went, okay, this is incredible. This is an incredible event. I’m so in awe with these speeches and with the talks and the tone of this, and I thought yeah, this is how you don’t get the police to throw pepper spray in your face. This is how you get yourself heard, you know, after the fact, there’s the comments that everybody in Richmond described this as the lunatics running the asylum, that’s how they wanted to describe what was going on here, and it wasn’t. It was a dignified, beautifully done rally, and I was converted. So I totally changed my opinion.

Mary: Wow. That was good. I’m glad we got that one. All right, yeah, okay, we’ve covered the Board of Visitors, pretty much the entire narrative, all right, is there any additional stuff you would like to add, or…?

Joan: I think we actually talked about doing the period after the rally too, which is, um, as long as we’re doing this…Susie shut down her Facebook page right after Sullivan was reinstated. She had 17,000 members. And there was like this oh my god moment, and I was with my son and some other people, and I think Susanna was there, and Walt was there, I don’t know for sure, and I just said, ok, I need to do a Facebook page because there’s a void, there’s an emptiness, and this is not what I do. Prior to June 10th I checked my email maybe every day, twice a week, three times a week, that was it, and all of a sudden I was checking Facebook all the time. And then, to do a Facebook page was like…so they set that up for me, and I did that, we have 700 members on the page, and I keep feeling this loss, I want the 17,000 people. Um…but I felt it was imperative to do something and to give people a voice, and Susie very much did not want her page to be controversial or discussing some of those deeper issues, whereas the people on this, I don’t lead the discussion, It’s not my, whatever, but they’re going into a lot of those deeper issues. Um, and so there’s a whole lot happening there. So we had, um, talked with David Toscano about legislation, and he said he needed some research done, so Susanna Nicholson and Steve Cole and a couple of other people did researches on best practices at public institutions, on how their boards are, um, appointed, and we gave that to every person on that Town Hall meeting. Right now I have some people doing research on governance, on the best way for colleges to govern. Um, and there is an interesting…I feel like this board, some of the members don’t understand how you govern a nonprofit, and it’s very different from corporate governance. And, um, I think it’s unfortunate when you get appointed to a board of this size without those skills, you know, I’ve been on boards, and I went to, we have the little boards that trained me on how to do nonprofits, and I’m sitting there going, “this is basic stuff.” So I think we’re trying to come up with some information too that might help them, research on governance.

Mary: Okay. Well, I mean, especially as I know we’ve talked about this with neoliberalism and corporate influence in the class that we’re taking, do you have any more you would like to elaborate on the corporate influence that you mentioned there, or how you run a nonprofit versus how…?

Joan: Well, in a corporate, I mean, it goes back to I can fire anybody I want. I can do whatever I want, and you know, other than being fearful for my job as the CEO, but since I own all the stock in mine I can do it. So if you have a business like that, which is a real estate developer or something, that’s what they have. If it’s your hedge fund, and you are the chief and you don’t have a board, you do whatever you want. If you have a board that’s hired you, at least you have a little bit of understanding that you’re the employee, and you have to work with the board. But the board still has that sense of entitlement, I can get rid of you. In the nonprofit world, and particularly the university, you have what’s called shared governance. So it’s really a…I see it as more like the US government, you have congress, you have the president, you have the courts. And here, they did not share with the president, they did not share with the faculty that there was a problem. They just thought “we are a private board and this is what we want, we can do this.” And they didn’t understand consensus building, which is again a skill that, um, I think George Martin, who’s going to be the rector, has that, because he’s, that’s his job, um, some of the people on the board have had to build consensus, and some people don’t, but if you’re not used to building consensus in this environment, in this kind of a place, you have to. And even if you have, you know, you’re appointed by the governor and you have money and a certain set of skills, that doesn’t mean you know how to do shared governance. And it doesn’t matter which authority’s in power, it’s an issue of I think Teresa Sullivan understood that, and they, in their lack of knowledge and lack of training, did not understand that. And that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get, the next board will be any better, but the goal in my mind is to ensure you have boards that are trained on how to do this, so that it can’t happen again. You can’t overreact in what you do, but you need to have people who, you know, if I’ve taught college I should have some understanding of the frustrations. And when I go in that board room, and I’m listening to them talking, and I’m thinking, “Do you understand how unhappy the staff at this school is? Do you understand why you don’t get the research…” You know, they’re complaining, why are our research dollars down, and I can give them answers that they don’t even know. And I’m just having conversations with people I know, and you know, you don’t go into a dinner party, and they’re talking about some dean who’s a nightmare in one department, and the morale is so low people are leaving. And they’re not going to get research dollars because the people who are getting them are going to other schools. And I don’t understand this one, but they were talking about how the budget system’s set up in the medical school, they can’t apply for a lot of the grants. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but they come in and don’t get the information they need. And if they understood shared governance, they would be talking to, and have an avenue for people to talk to them.

Mary: All right.

Joan: Well, that’s my opinion. Always known to have an opinion.

Mary: Oh, way better than not having one. I mean, believe me, I’m always very hesitant to try and form opinions until I know all the facts, which is impossible, therefore…

Joan: Right, and that’s the frustration.

Mary: It’s constant.

Joan: You can’t know all the facts, but you can get, for me, there’s a sense of right and wrong in this, and this is so wrong.

Mary: Do you think it’s moving towards being right? I mean, if you want to give it a broad-scale prediction?

Joan: I’m hoping…I’m hopeful. That would be the best way to put it. But really, there are pieces, you know, it’s like I don’t know that they’ll ever tell what happened, but if they can’t tell and they refuse to tell, then there’s steps they need to take, you know. I mean, if you go back to this analogy I have, there’s at least a change of the way you behave. If nobody trusts you, what do you do to gain their trust? If you refuse to talk about what happened in the past, you can only be judged by your actions, and so far their actions don’t indicate necessarily that there’s a commitment to change. I think there’s a split, there’s a tension in that room, and some people want a change and some people don’t.

Mary: Wow. All right.

Joan: And if you turn that off, I’ll tell you more.

Mary: Well, we’re up to 36 minutes, I’ve got I mean, anything else you want to say you’re more than welcome to.

Joan: No, not until it’s off.

Mary: Okay.

[End of session]