Cathedral of Shame

John R. Allen
Brookings Institution

January 8, 2018

Cathedral of Shame

Mr. Allen,

On December 26, 2017, I requested from you an internal investigation of a study conducted by the Brookings Institution titled “Capturing the next economy: Pittsburgh’s rise as a global innovation city”.  That letter sent to you by email is now on the website Perhaps the email was intercepted by one of your colleagues and withheld from you, or you chose not to respond. Either way, the needs and wants of our community are important and valuable. We deserve a response.

My grandparents’ generation in Oakland contributed to the funding for the construction of the Cathedral of Learning. They trusted that the University of Pittsburgh would benefit their community and that of succeeding generations. That trust has since been broken. The shameful greed and self-interest of the university has devastated both the community’s residential and business districts and has caused much suffering, especially for the elderly longtime residents. Today, there are shocking new revelations of serial sexual harassers and discrimination against people of color in the university’s Department of Communication. The Cathedral of Learning has become the Cathedral of Shame.

This climate of hostility to women and people of color is documented in a bombshell essay written by a former Pitt professor. The link to that essay is included at the end of this letter. The essay confirms what we have said: The Litchfield Consciousness of devaluing human dignity is prevalent at the University of Pittsburgh. The long-standing culture of hostility described in this essay occurred in a department that is in close contact with our local media. Did the leaders of the local media know about the ongoing sexual harassment and discrimination to people of color, and yet choose not to investigate the university, thus ignoring the suffering of university personnel and students—the same way they have ignored the suffering of the elderly longtime residents of our community? Or do they claim ignorance? Who investigates the investigators?

It is likely that the shame in other university departments will be brought to light. On August 22, 2013, I wrote an Open Letter to the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees which is on Link 2 of the website The letter said: “A Pitt researcher from China who experienced wrongdoing in her department but was fearful of losing her job if she spoke out said, ‘There is more academic freedom in China than there is at the University of Pittsburgh.” The letter continued: “The new Chancellor must have the confidence and courage to create an environment whereby faculty and other employees of the University do not have to face the fear of retribution should they speak the truth.” That fear of retribution still exists today. The letter had been distributed to numerous local media personnel, but no action was taken.

The acknowledgments in the above mentioned Brookings Institution study began with: “The authors are especially grateful to the leadership of Chancellor Patrick Gallagher.” Brookings Institution is perceived to be a “hired gun” of our city’s wealthy non-profits to perform a study to further their own agendas, as well as the agenda of the University of Pittsburgh, among others. Your non-response has furthered the perception that the esteemed Brookings Institution is yet another puppet entity dominated by the University of Pittsburgh. Shame that is masked, denied, and ignored will continue to grow. Has the shame of the University of Pittsburgh spread to your own institution?

Please respond to my original letter.

Here is the link to the former Pitt professor’s essay:

Thank you,

Carlino Giampolo