Can you spell red flag?
There are three recommendation letters in the personnel file of Victoria Dawson, the FAMU legal writing director whose error-filled working paper was the subject of a story in this morning's St. Petersburg Times. One is from a Texas Southern law professor, and the other two are from Texas Southern legal instructors - all of which is noteworthy in and of itself, given that Dawson was at Texas Southern before FAMU hired her, and that she was recommended for hiring by former interim FAMU law dean James Douglas, who knew Dawson from Texas Southern, where he used to be the law dean and president.
But there's more, maybe. Heaven forbid that The Gradebook get picky about grammar, but given that Dawson deserves scrutiny because the paper she posted for the world to see is a grammatical wasteland, it's interesting to note that two of her letters of recommendation aren't exactly masterpieces in English composition either. "Our conversations over the years has made it clear to me… ," writes TSU Professor Craig L. Jackson. He also writes: "Professor Dawson's discipline nature made her schedule appear easy."
TSU instructor Lydia Johnson writes: "I believe that I am qualified to write this letter of recommendation on her behave … " She also writes that Dawson "displayed a methodology to her organization and remained focus on clinical strategies and goals."
Since The Gradebook is noting everybody else's faults this morning, it's only fair we put the spotlight on ourselves. So, truth be told, The Times reporter can't count worth squat. Today's story reported four letters of recommendation in Dawson's file. Technically, that's true - but two of them are the exact same letter from the same instructor. We apologize for that.
- Ron Matus, state education reporter