Dixie State University lawsuitThere is an old adage about the past where it is implied that just because someone puts the past behind them, it is not necessarily so that the past is through with them.

Such is the case for Dixie State University and by association the City of St. George who would like nothing more than for everyone to forget the aberration of justice wantonly demonstrated by the two over the last two years in the Varlo Davenport case, among others.

You may recall the letter published by the school after the not-guilty verdict in the trumped-up assault case that was all but fabricated by the school, the campus police chief, and the city attorneys. The letter stated that in spite of this acquittal, the school would not recompense Davenport because he was on probation for ominous other offenses.

This was an outright lie, and the proof of it is in correspondence that is now part of an upcoming lawsuit against the school.

The school has been carrying on business as usual, going so far as to continue its trend of entering into non-disclosure agreements with compensation for former employees who have been deemed not “loyal” enough. You’ll recall President Biff Williams’ sandbagging of former professor Joel Lewis and the subsequent pay for his silence.

But I digress here.

I want to make it known that while I think it absolutely imperative that the school and anyone involved with the blatant violations of people’s rights should be thoroughly held to account, I am absolutely appalled that there are actually individuals who take payoffs not to report the behavior of their former employer.

It would seem to me an obvious observation that when there is a bribe or a coercion in play, that there are two parties involved — the “briber” and the “bribee,” if you will.

Not to be conflated with a settlement won in court for damages, a bribe, in this case, is actually something quite sinister and demeans the credibility of anyone who receives it. Unless under some threat of harm, that is.

In the coming weeks, I will tell you that it is reasonable to expect the filing of what might well be the largest lawsuit against the school to date. I will represent to you that the school has been sufficiently implored to do the right thing repeatedly but instead has continued to double down on its bet that the general public will forget and that the attorney who has set his sights on bringing DSU to justice will run out of resources.

There is this prevailing mentality perpetrated by many that somehow the good being accomplished by the school, of which there is much, negates the need to address things like this. As if somehow one really nifty football stadium makes up for stripping a man of his professional life, livelihood, and reputation without any hint of due process or proof of any wrongdoing whatsoever — in fact, even worse than that, with quantifiable evidence of malice of intent.

There is simply no way for this school or the city to go forward with the benefit of the public trust having done this. In fact, there is evidence that it is a pattern that continues to be repeated. No doubt there are some administrators, lawmakers, law enforcement officers, and even some professors who would like nothing more than for the collective public to forget what has happened and continues to happen, but it is the moral duty of the citizens of this community not to let that happen.

For my part, I will do my best not to allow the general public to simply forget and encourage you to pay close attention to this upcoming case. Not only will it stand to bring much-needed justice for Davenport but it will be an acute demonstration of the character of the school and its leaders as well as that of the executive branch of this city.

See you out there.

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Dallas Hyland is a professional technical writer, freelance writer and journalist, award-winning photographer, and documentary filmmaker. As a senior writer and editor-at-large at The Independent, Hyland’s investigative journalism, opinion columns, and photo essays have ranged in topics from local political and environmental issues to drug trafficking in Utah. He has also worked the international front, covering issues such as human trafficking in Colombia. His photography and film work has received recognition as well as a few modest awards and in 2015, he was a finalist for the Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Based in southern Utah, he works tirelessly at his passion for getting after the truth and occasionally telling a good story. On his rare off-days, he can be found with his family and friends exploring the pristine outdoors of Utah and beyond.