Friday, August 8, 2008

Ethel Whitty Abuses Woman for Eight Weeks

"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here." From Gustave Dore's illustration of Dante's Inferno, (Hell).

Remember the woman who was banned from the Carnegie Seniors' Center for daring to talk back to Devor, a notoriously abusive coffee seller? She remains banned. She said today that she has now been banned eight weeks....for daring to use her voice.

Since the Communist Bruce Erikson was influential at Carnegie, there has been a painting by Erikson of the Downtown Eastside and a wooden banner hanging on the wall in the theatre area. "To have no voice is to have no power", are the words carved in the wood of the banner. Yet there is no doubt that the City of Vancouver management at Carnegie, Director Ethel Whitty, Assistant Director Dan Tetrault, Security boss, Skip Everall, and Whitty's supervisor at the City, David McMillan, are punishing female assertiveness.

Carnegie Director Ethel Whitty does not deny that the woman was banned for using her voice. And Whitty explicitly acknowledged in a taped conversation in June that the banned woman had never posed a physical risk.

Not only have Carnegie staff banned the woman for using her voice, they continue to subject her to "mental cruelty" by evading telling her when the ban will expire. Two weeks ago, the woman dropped off a letter to Carnegie requesting written notification of when the ban would be lifted. She has not received a response to the letter. At the time she dropped off the letter to Carnegie, Tetrault and Everall even attempted to avoid giving the woman proof of receipt in the form of a signature and date stamp, but after ongoing insistence on her part and an impromptu private meeting on their part, Everall did sign for the letter, using his initials only.

This is the same pattern of mental cruelty to which Whitty, Tetrault, and Everall subjected duly elected Carnegie Board member William Simpson over the past year. It's a pattern, notes the boyfriend of Whitty's latest victim.

The woman herself describes Whitty's behaviour toward her as "sadistic". On two occasions when the woman gave Whitty detailed accounts of how the banning had stressed her, she says Whitty "smiled and she got this look in her eyes as if she was enjoying hearing about it." And then Whitty would -- the woman imitated her here -- turn down her lips and shrug her shoulders, the way people do when they're indicating they don't care about something. The woman didn't didn't know at the time that the meetings were being taped but she did find it odd that Whitty was "using gestures instead of words" to respond to things she was told.

Rumor has it that VanCity is going to be asked to cease providing grants to Carnegie until this human rights abuse case is resolved.


truepeers said...

I've been having a hard time getting my head around this story. My first thought is what does this Devor have on Ethanol that she won't do anything about him and punish the innocent instead, offering no account to justify the arbitrary action

But now that I think about it a little more, maybe it is really is just so primitive that she picks her victims without reason, at random, to really put the fear of holy retribution in Carnegie people.

Dag said...

Nice touch adding the graphic by Dore and the quotation from Dante. As soon as people see it hanging over the door of the Carnegie Centre, if only in their mind's eye, they might realize how true it is:

"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

Nothing but Death awaits them, the smiling, caring and sharing Death Hippies. See smiling Ethanol. She is our friend. Sharing. Caring. Community. No individuals. See them die.

Carneigie Centre:

"Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

Anonymous said...

Hard working volunteers who consistently show up for their shifts are in short supply at Carnegie. This is true, but no excuse for keeping someone who is abusive. The same dynamic is happening with Paul Taylor, editor of the Carnegie Newsletter, the reasoning is that he must be kept no matter how abusive and unhelpful to the community he is because "No one else will stay up till 4 AM to get the job done" it doesn't seem to occur to anyone that another, less neurotic, editor would be able to get the job done with out staying up till 4:00 AM!!

But back to Devor, he's abusive and horrible but none of that seems to matter compared to the trouble that staff might possibly have trying to replace him. He does work for free, and that is the important thing. Saving staff trouble is worth any amount of abuse to the patrons, apparently. There is also the very real possibility that Devor knows something unsavory about staff, perhaps specifically the volunteer program staff, that he would let be known if his shifts were cancelled.....

Dag said...

There's power among the people if only they would use it. The Carnegie Seniors' Lounge makes a ton of free for nothing money for the site, in part thanks to Dvor's labours. Why frequent the site under those conditions? Why not boycott the site? Shut down the visits and the poor service and the high levels of abuse, and in turn, shut down the cash cow that is the Seniors' Lounge. You have the power to squeeze the place dry and to make a positive change. You not only have the power to act, you can act by doing not a thing at all. Don't go; don't give the man your money; don't pay the Carnegie Centre to abuse you.

Boycott the Seniors' Lounge.

If you do, abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand how Ethel can have so much power (to ban people). I thought the Carnegie was run by the community through it Board of Directors.

reliable sources said...


The Board has little power at Carnegie other than to "advise" Whitty and she has stated explicitly that she does not have to take their advice. Whitty made that position clear last year when Board member Grant Chancy, a guy with a union background who had a copy of the WorkSafe manual at home, asked her to point out the specific section of the manual William Simpson had supposedly violated. Whitty, who constantly changed her explanation for why Board member Simpson had been barred form Carnegie, was now claiming that he had violated WorkSafe. Chancy wasn't buying it. But Whitty refused to answer his question. Verbally, she gave him a stiff middle finger; she told Chancy that she did not have to answer to the Board. She explained that she only listened to the Board out of "respect" but that she wasn't obligated to take their advice.

Board member Peter Fairchild noted at that meeting that Whitty did not have to listen to the Board but that a previous director who wouldn't listen to the Board got removed. Whitty won't get removed though, because she now has a compliant Board. Anyone who made a peep about human rights abuses, such as Rachel Davis or Sophia Freigang, are gone.