Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Don't Shoot! A Meditation on Civility

The sensationalism of the Amy Bishop tenure case, in which a University of Alabama biologist shot numerous colleagues in the head after her failed appeal, has us all unnerved and fascinated. Of course, the news reports that are piecing together a portrait of a sociopath, a ticking time bomb who happened to have become a university professor, have already helped us build distance between "us" and "her." The Bishop story, which is being reported over at University Diaries in press clippings and terse, incisive commentary (that makes you think Margaret Soltan really could produce the thriller or mystery we all long to write) is, however, countered by the more prosaic and recognizable case of Bill Reader, a journalism professor at Ohio University. Reader seemed to be on track for tenure and now -- isn't exactly. Why? There are allegations that, although he is not a sociopath, he may be a garden variety bastard (or not) who is being portrayed as a sociopath by colleagues who voted against his tenure.

Hence, the Reader case raises a set of more serious issues for all of us, in my view.

According to Inside Higher Ed, prior to his tenure case, Reader "had received nothing but glowing annual evaluations with no mention of untoward behavior in his file." But when the case was reported out of the Journalism School, with a positive but very split vote, three female faculty members who voted against the case filed harassment charges against him, citing threats allegedly made by Reader that were related to them by third parties. The rumour was that Reader "was 'out for revenge' against those who had opposed his bid for tenure." Subsequent to the filing of these charges, "recommendations by the journalism school's director, a college-level review committee and dean have all come out negatively."

It's always difficult to know what happened when reading public reports of these things. Apparently Reader was prone to nasty email exchanges, one of which, ignited over the failure of colleagues to sign a card for a departing colleague, was particularly unpleasant. I doubt that he was the only one who sent flaming e's, although he was in a position to know he could be harmed by such behavior and clearly failed to perceive it. But many people suffer failures of self-perception on email, as adrenaline and self-righteous wrath washes over their -- no, let's say our -- brains. Even those of us who don't have grievances filed against us have probably participated in terrible e-mail exchanges that we are embarrassed about in retrospect, whether we believe we were right or wrong at the time. Reader apparently isn't embarrassed about the greeting card incident, however, which tells you nothing about his suitability as a colleague, but a lot about what constitutes normal behavior at the Ohio State J-School. “I opted for vitriol," he states. "I have no regrets. Before my e-mail, there were few signatures; afterward, there were many.”

Really? Even now you are not ready to stand down about that stupid greeting card?

Inside Higher Ed sees this case as part of "a continuing national debate over the extent to which 'collegiality' ought to be considered in the awarding of tenure," and on the surface I suppose it is. But Reader's supporters, and presumably Reader himself (who was not informed or or able to respond to the harassment charges until several negative decisions on his case had already been made), say the tenure process has been tainted by these allegations. I tend to agree with this somewhat narrower interpretation. So does the Faculty Senate at Ohio, which has reversed the negative rulings, and sent the case forward to the next level. The attorneys standing outside their office sharpening their knives probably had nothing to do with it, although this is a situation where a little gentle advice from the AAUP can go a long way.

I don't know whether I would like Bill Reader or want to work with him, and it's difficult to tell from the few facts that can be gleaned from the IHE piece, of course. But take it from someone who has been bullied: what is wrong in that department goes beyond Bill Reader and points to a winner-take-all culture where there is more than one person with no commitment to civility. Although there are clearly people who believe they have been victimized, the search for authentic victims is likely to produce instead a vivid picture of professional relationships dominated by gossip, faction and spite, in which people who insist they are wedded to "procedure" manipulate it cruelly to get their way. It's not for nothing that novelists as different as Mary McCarthy, Randall Jarrell, C.P. Snow and Ishmael Reed have spent anywhere from a semester to a career with us and consistently pointed out these very qualities.

Academia, one might say, is characterized by strong personalities out to win an argument, and sometimes the desire to win gets out of hand. The origins of the bad behavior at Ohio University, either Reader's abusive emails and threats over signatures on a greeting card, or individual faculty members trying to have more than one vote on a tenure case by launching an internal grievance process, might well be a departmental culture in which the need for authority and the disregard for appropriate behavior is pervasive at all ranks. I also find it useful to remember what every child psychologist knows: that people who bully have often themselves been bullied. I once saw an older historian who was famous for hir nastiness, public temper tantrums and contempt for colleagues, treated with such contempt and rudeness (in public and for no good reason whatsoever) by hir prestigious dissertation director of three decades ago that it literally took my breath away.

This observation didn't make me like this person any better, nor did it make me more willing to be subjected to verbal abuse by others. But it did create a little window of understanding that subsequently caused me to look around the world I live in differently; to understand the ways in which we replicate the behavior of others, often unconsciously; and to place my own actions under the lens that I used to evaluate other people's behavior towards me. The lesson, in my view? We need to model judicious and civil behavior at all costs, and speak to people honestly when they breach the bounds of civility, not wait until a high stakes moment to declare them unfit for our company. We all need to insist that our authority and reputations be taken seriously by others, but not demand it by damaging them, in turn, after the fact. It is quite possible to work productively with people one neither likes or respects, and it is possible to have one's judgement not be sustained by the judgement of the majority without going nuclear: people outside the academy do it all the time.


anthony grafton said...

Thank you, TR: a humane and powerful post.

Widgeon said...

My department currently resembles Congress--nothing can get done because of the seething anger of two factions. It is, as my chair has said, "ungovernable." Your timely post reminds me of my role in this culture. And it reminds me to be a grownup even when others have fully regressed. Thank you.

Roxie Smith Lindemann said...

Great post. I had thought about the Reader case when the Amy Bishop story broke for precisely the reasons you discuss here -- issues of collegiality and how they factor into tenure decisions. Small but important correction, though: Reader is at Ohio University, not Ohio State, according to IHE.

Anonymous said...

Thanks TR. I appreciate this post. I am in a department that has been very civil. Its not that everyone agrees, its just that everyone receives a fair hearing. That said, it does not take much for things to slide from civil and collegial into bitter and ungovernable.

Anonymous said...

The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism has had a reputation as a "snake pit" since at least the late 1990s, and has a senior professor who in 2003 was found guilty of both sexual harassment and unethical behavior toward students and colleagues. That senior professor also is friends with the current director and is implicated in bringing allegations against Reader (he also was one of the senior professors who publicly scolded Reader via e-mail after Reader urged colleagues to sign the going-away card in 2007).

The current director, Tom Hodson, had been an adjunct in the school since at least the mid-1980s, and is friends with the senior faculty members who are responsible for the "snake pit" reputation, including the senior female faculty member who started the untrue rumors that Reader had "threatened" that he would one day schedule her to teach on Fridays (which she rushed to argue constituted a threat of physical harm).

This kind of rumor-mongering is certainly not unique to Scripps, but Scripps is clearly an example of the worst aspects of the tenure process and the vicious, childish nature of academic politics. Regardless of whether Reader gets tenure or not, that School needs some serious house-cleaning, starting with the few tenured professors who make Scripps a notorious snake pit.

Bill Sledzik said...

Great perspective. Thanks.

If collegiality is to be a criterion for tenure, then the process must include a way to measure one's performance in the category. You don't wait 6 years to say, "Sorry. We don't like you. You're fired."

Something's wrong with a system and a school that allows this to happen.

Disclosure: I'm a Scripps School alumnus and a tenured faculty member at another journalism school in Ohio. I've never met or spoken with Bill Reader, though we have exchanged emails over the past 2 weeks. After reviewing public documents on this case, I published this essay in support of his appeal:

Janice said...

Academic politics revolves around tenure and so it's not until tenure that people are really motivated to bring up complaints or problems about collegiality or temperamental match. It's rather as if the other workers are content to let tenure review be the pressure-relief valve in the employment system. Tenure is also that moment at which co-workers or highers-up are motivated to question "hey, do we really want this person around forever?" for good or ill.

That attitude means that far too many people go along as Prof. Reader did or many others I know, buoyed by positive reports and reviews, only to be savaged by peers or administrators at the last minute. It comes out of nowhere because no one bothered to voice them before or felt it would be useful or was simply motivated enough to reach out and tank the prospect.

Academic units and administrators need to be clear that one's ability to work with the rest of the unit and institution is an important part of tenure and stop pretending that it's all on an objective assessment of individual merit. It's not: fit factors into these decisions in a big way and since I don't see that changing soon, we need to be more honest about that.

Susan said...

This is a useful reminder. I've been working for several years to lower the level of my animus against people who drive me nuts. I'm now the equivalent of a department chair over an interdisciplinary group, and I am very aware of the people who only think of themselves.

What my current thinking about collegiality is this: part of our job, at least where I work, is shared governance. To be a successful faculty member, you have to be able to participate in shared governance. And that means both working with others and sometimes being (as Widgeon says) grown up and putting the interests of a group above your own. When you chair a department, or run a committee, you are part of something bigger than yourself.

So maybe we should drop collegiality as a criterion, and make effectiveness in service etc. the issue. I have colleagues who are personally incredibly likable who drive me nuts when they take on administrative roles.

Anonymous said...

anomynous 11:40's snake pit comment supports one of the points TR raised: it appears that the department itself may have a climate that fosters or at least is silent on the issue of faculty incivility.

But I see this as a different issue than tenure. Trying to incorporate it into the tenure process does not solve the problem. I know lots of ornery and mean spirited tenured faculty who spout nastiness with aplomb. Again, to me, this is an issue of setting clear expectations for an adaptive workplace climate that *all* colleagues must adhere to and face consequences if they do not.

I have received emails from colleagues who have "opted for vitriol" (which is academese for "decided to be cruel"). I send this response: "You will not speak to me this way. Period." In most cases, that stops it. The faculty should not have signed the card. Because Reader is communicated to him that his "vitriol" worked.

For those interested in the topic, check out "Faculty incivility: the rise of academic bully culture and what to do about it" by Twale and De Luca. Lots of great insights.

Historiann said...

Great post, TR, and excellent comments by everyone, especially Susan and Anonymous 7:43. I think Anon 7:43 is exactly right about the importance of civility in preserving a functional department, whatever our status is (tenured, untenured, or contingent). I like Susan's idea of "effectiveness in service," which might have some objective measures, as opposed to "collegiality," which is awfully like "personality," and does not present as many opportunities for evaluation.

On Amy Bishop: I have to say that the IHOP story really took the cake. Punching someone in the head over a booster seat while screaming, "I am Dr. Amy Bishop!!!"--priceless. It would almost be funny, if she hadn't have murdered 3 people last week.

Anonymous said...

So people can base their opinions on the complete context, here is the original e-mail Bill Reader sent to his colleagues about the "going away card:

At 01:12 PM 3/12/2007, Bill Reader wrote to [faculty]:

Gentle People -- [Untenured Colleague] is gathering signatures for a farewell card for [Departing Colleague]. I was out of town but just had the opportunity to sign the card. The paltry number of signatures is embarrassing.

[Departing Colleague] has worked very hard for this school over the past several years, harder, I would wager, than some permanent members of the faculty. She opened the building most mornings and closed it most evenings. She developed many successful projects that have helped students learn more than they could in our classes, get more opportunities than they could in our existing programs, and launch many successful careers that make us all look good. She helped secure two Newspaper-in-Residence grants that provided many of us/you with professional speakers through no effort of our/your own, and she has worked to bring in guest speakers right up to the (sadly) bitter end. She was an excellent steward of the [Large Grant that Funded Departing Colleague's Position], stretching those dollars well beyond the term of the grant and always making sure that money was spent on programming and opportunities for students. She was a challenging colleague -- some might say too challenging -- but in the end, nobody can accuse [Departing Colleague] of not caring deeply and selflessly about this school and its students.

In return, she is being sent off with a deafening silence and, even worse, a few backstabbing whispers by the ungrateful. I have little hope that the latter will overcome pettiness to at least thank [Departing Colleague] for her service, but I do hope those of you who have at least a shred of respect for hard work and deep commitment will at least lend your signature to her farewell.

Thank you,

Bill R.

Anonymous said...

... and here is the exchange between Patricia Cambridge and Bill Reader after Reader's initial post (again, the names of the innocents have been removed):


On Mar. 13, 2007, at 1:12 AM, Patricia Cambridge wrote to [faculty]:

I resent receiving this note. It is so unnecessary. A polite request to colleagues would have sufficed. I signed the card on Monday afternoon because I happened to see it, but that's beside the point. In the future, I would prefer to be addressed with the civility and respect that I give to my colleagues.

I realize that this note is going to everyone, but I want to make sure that my comments are not misconstrued.

Thank you.

Patricia Cambridge


From: Bill Reader
Subject: Re: embarrassing
Date: Tue. 13 Mar 2007 03:55:27
To: Patricia Cambridge

Patricia --

I resented having to send the message in the first place.

[Untenured Colleague] did politely mention the card, and the collection, in the faculty meeting last week, and made polite requests to colleagues in that forum. As of mid-day Monday, less than 24 hours before the card and the collection were to be presented, there had been little participation in either, which I though was highly disrespectful.

Rather than politely ignore the situation, I shared the simple facts that what we had to offer [Departing Colleague] was an embarrassment. That was not an opinion; it was an all-too-obvious fact.

If the facts insulted or discomforted you, or anybody else on the faculty, I'm sorry you feel that way. But I will not apologize for my message, nor its tenor or tone.

I also disagree that the note was unnecessary -- by the close of business on Monday, both the card and the collection were much more in line with what this faculty owes [Departing Colleague] by way of "thanks." If anger, spite, and resentment toward me and my original note fueled that action, so be it; a polite request in the faculty meeting last week, not to mention many, many in-person reminders by [Untenured Colleague] to some of our colleagues, clearly did not work.

Thank you for taking the time to sign the card, and for helping to send [Departing Colleague] off with the respect she deserves. Too few of our colleagues had the decency to do the same.

Bill R.

On Mar 13, 2007, at 7:02 AM, Patricia Cambridge wrote to Bill Reader:


This is the situation. We have an activity initiated by a colleague who as asked others to participate. Such an activity is *optional*. If signing the card were a requirement, then the proper form would be for our director to issue a directive. As I stated before, I would prefer not be accosted when I open my e-mail.



On Mar 13, 2007, at 7:33 AM, Bill Reader wrote to Patricia Cambridge:

Pat -- I suppose it's OK, though, to publicly scold an individual faculty member simply because you didn't like the tone of a message he sent to the whole group? Who is accosting whom?

Your double standards are showing.

Bill R.

Anonymous said...

This is anonymous 7:43 again. After reading this, I would change nothing about my reaction. The original message was patronizing - like a father scolding the kids. I would be annoyed if a department chair used such a tone, but when a junior colleague sends such a response borders on absurd. It is certainly an example of faculty incivility.

What I would have done would be to respond with my standard "You will not speak to me this way", not signed the card, and ignored subsequent responses.

Anonymous said...

Having read the note and the multiple comments, I think the particular example may have been at best an unwise way to state the concern and at worst uncivil.

Responding, "don't speak to me this way," is probably a sure fire way to escalate the matter, not improve it.

Now, I don't know that it is a representative example of all email exchanges between members of this department or a one time event.

I can see, if it a representative example of the kind of email exchanges between members of the faculty, it would be a good idea for a facilitator could probably couch the lot of them in good email etiquette. Though, I suspect the rift in this faculty would require a deeper level of facilitation than just one in email etiquette.

I can't say, however, it constitutes a threat or grounds to deny tenure. There are far better ways to resolve a conflict among adults than running the people you disagree with out of the community.

Anonymous said...

My goodness, this is why somebody is being denied tenure and accused of being a threatening bully? Seems like much ado about nothing, except that somebody is losing a job over it.

I agree with Anonymous 7:43 about just letting these things slide away, but would Anonymous 7:43 not sign a card for a departing colleague simply because of such an e-mail? That also seems childish.

I don't find the initial e-mail anything more than a bit preachy. Since when is that a rarity in any faculty meeting?

If this is all it takes to get denied tenure at Ohio University, then my advice to all of my Ph.D. students is to steer clear of that place.

Brian W. Ogilvie said...

Having read the exchange, I have to say--perhaps comparing great things with small--is that it reminded me of Erasmus's letter to Martin Dorp regarding the "Praise of Folly." Erasmus pointed out that in his critique of churchmen he had named no names but merely pointed out commonly recognized vices, and that if anyone felt himself touched by the critique, it was a sign of a guilty conscience.

Of course Erasmus was not disingenuous. And I know nothing of the details of Prof. Reader's case. But it strikes me that if the exchange is accurately reproduced (it's so easy to alter or forge emails, after all), then he was far from alone in being intemperate. I've sometimes felt ashamed at myself for not doing what I thought I should do, but when that happens, I try my best not to turn my shame into anger at whoever points out my failure or hypocrisy. Since Prof. Cambridge had signed the card (according to the emails reproduced by Anonymous@6:04 PM), it's hard for an outside observer to understand why she might feel "accosted" by Reader's remark.

On the other hand, it's difficult if not impossible to judge how to interpret the exchange absent an understanding of its context. In that case it might be wise to adopt the interpretive principle of charity--i.e., absent any evidence of malice, to attribute to each participant the best possible motives that are consonant with his or her behavior--though it seems that the principle was sorely lacking in that department.

raised eyebrow said...

The suggestion that the e-mail exchange over a greeting card led to the tenure dispute is disengenuous. Go to the Web sites of the local newspapers, the gown-run Post and the town-run Athens News and read the news stories and the posted internal reports for a more complete version of events. What emerges is an unflattering and often disturbing portrait of the professor in question. It's difficult to see how bad behavior by others excuses his own. One university investigation confirmed the reports (not "untrue rumors") of verbal threats that rose to the level of unprofessional conduct. (The incident in which the professor in question told his dept. head that he would "put you on my list" for denying him tenure and then exhibited scars on his forearm from self-mutilation are particularly disturbing.) The greeting card incident is but one of the more benign examples of the division the professor in question is accused of causing on a regular basis. Regarding the "snake pit," given that reputation and his position as one seeking tenure, the professor in question still engaged in such behavior? News reports say that he is the first in the department in fourteen years to be denied tenure. Perhaps even the snakes in the pit have their standards.

Tenured Radical said...

I find this such an interesting discussion, and it raises several issues. I realize there are many things I don't know (although I know more than I did, since I have been sent a least one facsimile of a document from the case that I doubt was meant to leave the university.)

The first is the willingness of those involved to take this dispute public, time and time again, and in venues that will have no effect on the case -- like this one. One is tempted to suggest that everyone involved just *shut up* since too much chatter and need to be right got them into this in the first place.

The case is a matter of public record of course (otherwise I would not have blogged about it), and yet nothing I have seen in the comments causes me to change my mind about the fundamental principle at stake. If procedure isn't adhered to in a tenure case, it is an infringement of the candodates rights, whether other people believe they have been violated or not. Tenured people can't poison the procedures by finding or creating loopholes and using them to exert extra influence without being guilty of an ethical -- and possibly a legal -- infraction. This is equally true whether a "bad" person is being denied, or a "good" person is being helped.

Perhaps this is a generational difference, but frankly, I find the fact that women have used extra-procedural means to damage Reader particularly egregious, whether he is guilty of intimidating them or not. I realize this is unfair, but I expect more from a class of people whose rights have been repeatedly infringed upon. How many women in the blogosphere have reported stories about being told by senior colleagues that having a baby, or taking a maternity leave after having a baby, will damage their tenure case by demonstrating a lack of seriousness? How many women have expressed anger at being treated in sexist or racist ways, and then been reported out at tenure time as lacking in collegiality?

Violence against women, by men, is a serious problem in this country, but if these women felt physically endangered by Reader a) not tenuring him was unlikely to prevent it, and might exactly trigger what they feared; b) harassment during the tenure case needed to be dealt with afterwards; and c) such concerns needed to be either flagged earlier *and* dealt with through civil or criminal procedures.

Anonymous said...

I saw the link to this post from IHE and am impressed with TR's comments up front, and her postscript most of all. I have read some of the public documents and see a case of rumor-mongering among a few women who for whatever reason don't like Reader (who sounds to me like somebody who steps on toes only in the metaphorical sense), but also shows very strong support from other women who say Reader is a good colleague who is being mistreated (many of those women attached their names to their opinions, at great personal peril). I would hope that women brave enough to stand on principle for a male colleague demonstrate that he is neither a misogynist nor a monster.

I agree strongly with TR -- women should not "cry wolf" on such serious issues as harassment and workplace violence. Or, in this case, it seems inflate a few annoying e-mails and rumors into formal charges of workplace violence. There are far too many real cases of both that get dismissed or overlooked because of a handful of bogus situations.

But there is another gender-related issue here that bothers me, and I'd like those who are following TR's blog and comments to weigh in on this issue. Some of Reader's accusers seem to be hateful toward him -- are they the ones who maybe should be scrutinized as potential "Amy Bishops" (goddess forbid) for the way they have behaved in this case? If, as most of the documents and reports state, Reader never was a physical threat to anybody, why should those who accused him of being a physical threat not also be considered "dangerous"? They certainly have done a lot to harm the reputation of an individual they clearly don't like, probably to the point that even if he gets tenure, he won't be able to get a job anywhere else for a long, long time. Will the attacks on his character (whether justified or not) continue, even if he returns quietly to his work and steers clear of his accusers?

A clean slate is clearly in order. Give Reader tenure and warn him to steer clear of his detractors, and tell his detractors to steer clear of him. Then get the whole bunch into some kind of professional reconciliation process. And for heaven's sake, keep last-ditch allegations out of the tenure process from now on -- it hurts everybody!

Historiann said...

TR is right. It looks to me like there's a lack of respect for each other & for the process, but that's for the most part on the tenured faculty, not on Reader. The eagerness of those involved to share e-mail exchanges is odd, and damaging for all.

I really don't care about the sexes of Reader's foes. If they colluded in rigging the process, it's wrong, full stop. If they didn't want Reader around, they should never have hired him, or if they had legitimate cause, they should have dumped him at the 3rd year review. Waiting until he's up for tenure and pulling the "collegiality" card just looks bad. (And really, really stupid.)

Anonymous said...

I ended up attending Bill Reader's faculty senate hearing. I'm not in Scripps, nor do I know the guy, but I do know that my 15 minute Friday break, turned into a 2 hour break. I saw the crowd and took a seat in the back. I don't think journalism was the appropriate career choice for Reader. He should have become a trial attorney. Long story short, his facts (and the way he delivered them) made his accusers look foolish. It became pretty uncomfortable to watch these two, well dressed, articulate old guys (one of them mentioned he was a lawyer), epically fail at supporting claims with evidence. Anybody with a pulse, could tell those guys were full of sh*t. If Reader is still around next year, I'm going to try to pink slip into one of his classes.

Unknown said...

Hear, hear for the original post! I would simply emphasize that our academic culture has over-determined the importance of prestigious degrees, fellowships, and academic positions. Over time, this has led to an unhealthy culture of competition and measurement. That Amy Bishop received her PhD from Harvard did not surprise me: not that Harvard is a bad place, far from it, but it can generate forms of entitlement that are misleading.

We are teachers right? We do this to educate students, and create model citizens, right? We're not here to pad our c.v.'s. Let's not lose track of ourselves.

HistoryMaven said...

Thank you, TR, for a wise post. I left my tenured position last year not only because I was a victim of bullying and mobbing colleagues, but because I started defending myself in ways that just satisfied and encouraged the bullies' strategy.

Reader's message about the greeting card wasn't sui generis; it reflects social relations and assumptions that mirror the situation I left. The failure of tenure in many ways reflects more on the department/college than on the candidate.

In my former department "collegiality" was redefined by those in power to fit their own purposes--even as they skirted rules, mocked the chair, vilified colleagues, and ridiculed colleagues' achievements.

The final straw was an incident in which the University Counsel and the AAUP agreed with me, and that the department majority was wrong. It wasn't a fight I (in retrospect) needed to engage, and the underlying animosities for the bullies' attack on me through departmental decision-making were reinforced. Ignoring the decision of the UC and the AAUP, the bullies retaliated in other ways, and that was that.

Whether or not you have bullies in power, being right isn't the same as being judicious.

Goldie said...

I am concerned that recent budget choices will make things worse here at Zenith, which has preserved faculty positions by inviting senior administrative assistants to leave. In my experience, several departments have relied on good adm assts to maintain their high levels of civility, by quietly intervening to unruffle feathers, taking inflammatory letters back to authors for "clarification" before sending out, or pointing out to oblivious boors (pre- or post-tenure) the effects of their actions or comments. Like most work done mainly by women, these acts of tactful diplomacy tend to go unrecognized and unrewarded. But now that we are losing 10% of them in one fell swoop, I predict that life is about to get just a little bit nastier.


PS: I wish the popular press would point out that the tenure decision is either GET FIRED or GET PERMANENT JOB SECURITY. Without the GET FIRED part, the intensity of the reaction to not getting tenure is hard to understand.

philosoraptor said...

Could you elaborate on the part about its being "quite possible" to work productively with people whom one neither likes nor respects? Do the grounds of the dislike/lack of respect matter?