Gender equity and the politics of leaking confidential data (25 March 2015)

In The Guardian on 26 March 2015, Trevor Timm published an article titled “It’s OK to leak government secrets – as long as it benefits politicians”. Timm discussed leaks by former general David Petraeus, former general James ‘Hoss’ Cartwright, and several members of Hillary Clinton’s entourage at the Department of State, all of which were leaks made with impunity, in contrast to the many prosecutions of low-level leakers by the Obama administration, such as that of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling and former army officer Chelsea Manning. In The Guardian, Timm says:

When it comes to leaks, the powerful play by different rules than everyone else – despite the fact that they’ve violated the same law they’ve accused so many other leakers of breaking.

This is one way to interpret the tack Carleton University’s provost, Peter Ricketts, took with regards to gender inequity data. Peter Ricketts seems to consider himself a powerful politician at Carleton University. One could claim that Peter Ricketts officially leaked confidential gender inequity data at the open session of university Senate on 27 February 2015, leaked that confidential data again via e-mail that was not marked confidential on 6 March 2015, and then on 17 March 2015 tried to retroactively label that data confidential. See my 27 February and 17 March 2015 Senate blog postings for details. As I suggested on 17 March 2015, the other way to interpret Peter Ricketts’ actions is that the gender inequity data he presented and later e-mailed were never confidential, but only labeled confidential ex post to save him from embarrassment. Either way, Peter Ricketts owes Carleton University and its Senate an apology.

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