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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001000.txt from 2010/05

From: "Dan Leeson" <>
Subj: [kl] University of Arizona
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 20:58:05 -0500

This discussion about Bear and the University of Arizona is very distressing. One never knows what to believe and generally all that is heard is one side of the story.

I have experience with the University of Arizona, having been a teaching fellow on the faculty of mathematics in 1954-56, though I spent a lot of time in the music department playing with the band and orchestra. The clarinet teacher at the time was Sam Fain.

Also I was involved when John Denman (who I knew reasonably well) sued the University charging that his firing violated his civil rights, or something like that. John asked if I would be able to provide any input about him personally to a task force that was established to examine the issues. My involvement was quite peripheral in that I received telephone calls from the individuals selected to investigate the matter.

I had no knowledge of the validity of the charge against John and could not contribute anything that would aid in his defense against a change of having had an affair with one of his students. All I could do was comment on John as I knew him, and that he was, from my point of view, a reliable, decent, cordial, and honest individual, as well as a more than competent clarinetist. In fact when John interviewed for the position of 1st clarinet with the San Jose Symphony, he came up from Tucson and stayed at my house along with his wife. He won the audition, by the way, but then chose not to sign the contract because it conflicted with his other activities, mostly a lot of jazz opportunities for him.

As I understand the situation, John won his case and received a considerable amount of reparations, though how much was not revealed to me, and was not my business in any case.

I have no idea if the business with Bear relates in any way to the attitude of the university officials with respect to John, and in any case the two events are at least 10 or more years apart.

My opinion is that when a University is beset with an alleged sexual issue related to a faculty member and a student, they generally want to get rid of the faculty member as quickly as possible to put the matter behind them. I never asked John about the matter and he never told me at the time of the law suit.

Much later, John indicated that the woman falsely created the story for reasons unknown.

Probably every University has situations like this. It goes with the territory when men in their 30s and 40s are sharing an environment with nubile female students of 18-25, and the men have some authority over the women. I suppose it is also possible for a female teacher and a male student (and other combinations) but I have no knowledge of that kind of thing.

For what it is worth, I'm sorry that Bear is having this distressing emotional situation on top of a medical problem.

Dan Leeson
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