Marie's Open Letter to the Senate Concerning the
Student Environmental Protection Act (SEPA)
and the Misuse of Pesticides
at Southwest Baptist University
From the Update for Wednesday, October 20, 1999 about 1:00 pm (CST)
This past week, Senator Robert Torricelli (D-New Jersey)
and Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington) co-sponsored
legislation that would impose the new requirements on
the use of pesticides in elementary schools.
This legislation was developed with the aid and resources
of the National Coalition for the Misuse of Pesticides
(NCAMP) and Jay Feldman, the executive director of NCAMP.
NCAMP has been of invaluable assistance to us -- especially
in dealing with the hostility of the SBU leadership and legal
In one of the first of a series of violent incidents and dangerous
assaults, on October 2, 1992, after Empire District Electric
Cooperative had previously disconnected Marie's electricity,
two Deputies of the Polk County Sheriff's department and a
social worker from the Bolivar Division of Aging (who now
heads the department) broke down the back door and window
of Marie's home and forcibly entered her home.
Their stated intent in entering Marie home was: to forcibly
detain Marie at a medical facility; to prevent Marie
from obtaining any further governmental, community, or
church assistance, and/or to discourage Marie from the
pursuit of any further civil or criminal recourse against SBU.
If it had not been for the firm intervention of NCAMP
following this incident, the associates of SBU would have
eventually succeeded -- encouraged, as they were, by SBU's
corporate attorney, Gary Lynch, whose law firm (Douglas, Lynch,
Haun, and Kirksey) also happens to represent the County of Polk,
the City of Bolivar, the Empire District Electric Cooperative
and Citizen's Memorial Hospital .
This Monday, Oct. 25, we will post an open letter to Senators
Torricelli and Murray in which Marie describes her experiences
with the unwise, unethical, and illegal use of pesticides on the
campus of Southwest Baptist University and requests that this
pending legislation be expanded to include ALL PUBLIC and
PRIVATE SCHOOLS -- elementary, middle, and junior and
senior high schools; universities, colleges, and trade or technical
schools, and childcare or daycare centers.
Please read the ABC News and Associated Press coverage
of the press conference concerning this legislation.
A copy of Marie's open letter to the Senators will be sent to:
*all major and local media outlets;
*the former SBU Director/Trustee and honorary SBU
alumnus and current Governor of Missouri -- Mel Carnahan;
*the Missouri Department of Agriculture;
*the federal Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman;
*the Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist Convention,
and SBU alumnus, Jim Hill;
*the President of the Missouri Baptist Convention, Gary Taylor;
*the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Paige Patterson;
*the former SBU Trustee and former President of the
Southern Baptist Convention ,
Dr. Thomas Elliff (who initiated the Disney Boycott);
*the Executive Director of the Southern Baptist Convention
Association of Southern Baptists Colleges and Schools, Bob Agee;
*the Director of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the
Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Richard Land;
* the Chief Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), Carol Browner;
* the Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), Susan Wayland;
* both the federal and Missouri Departments of Education;
* Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), the Speaker of the Congressional
House of Representatives;
* Trent Lott (R-Mississippi), the Majority Leader of the Senate;
* and Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chair
of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
[PLEASE NOTE: This letter to House Committee on
Standards of Official Conduct is in reference to the possible
unethical and/or illegal conduct of former Trustee, President,
and CEO of Southwest Baptist University and current
Congressman of the Seventh District of Missouri -- Roy Blunt .
Because it has become increasingly evident that Mr. Blunt and
associates fear the public revelation of their unethical and potentially
illegal conduct, we have been compelled to make this complaint
Without such public scrutiny, Mr. Blunt and his allies are likely
to continue to hound and harass Marie and her family and friends
causing further hardship, injury and disability, or perhaps,
ultimately -- Marie's death.
Our overtures of conciliation have been consistently met with
hostility, slander, and violence; therefore, we have no choice.
Roy Blunt is a 1970 graduate of Southwest Baptist University
with a Masters degree in History from Southwest Missouri
State University (SMS) in Springfield, Missouri.
He taught History at Drury College in Springfield, Mo (1972)
and served 12 years as Greene County Clerk in Greene County
courthouse in Springfield, Missouri (1973-1985).
He then served as the Missouri Secretary of State (1985-1992),
was a member of the SBU Board of Trustees (1985-1993),
and was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Southwest
Baptist University (December 30, 1992-November 1996)
before being elected to the Congress in 1996 .
Currently, Roy Blunt -- who is completing his sophomore term
in Congress -- serves as a member of the Committees on
Agriculture, International Relations, and Transportation and
Infrastructure and is closely allied with former pesticide
applicator and pest control business owner, Majority Whip
Tom DeLay (R-Texas).
Roy Blunt has recently been named "Chief Deputy Whip" --
the position which his friend Tom DeLay vacated in order
to accept the promotion to "Majority Whip" -- the position of
leadership just below the Speaker of the House.
[Update Note: According to Mr. Roy Blunt's Congressional Website
Page on Committee Assignments,
Mr. Blunt is no longer a member of the Agriculture Committee.
Instead, he serves on the Commerce Committee
Subcommittees: Finance & Hazardous Materials, Telecommunications,
Trade & Consumer Protections, and Oversight & Investigations .]
Congressman Blunt still maintains an "associate" relationship
with Southwest Baptist University and a close alliance with
the ousted former SBU Chancellor/President, Dr. James Sells,
and his son, Ben Sells, a former SBU Vice President.
SBU Chancellor Dr. James Sells and his Vice President,
Gerald Andrews (along with two of the secretarial staff)
were terminated in the Fall of 1992 after what became
known locally as the "Saddlegate Scandal."
In an effort to manipulate the SBU Presidential search
Committee into naming Roy Blunt (who had just lost
a bid for the Missouri governorship) as the next SBU
President, Dr. James Sells and several of his staff
distributed threatening faxes to the new SBU presidential
appointee and his family and then faxed misleading and
false information to the media.
The ruse was successful.
The new SBU presidential appointee, discouraged by
the underhanded politicking, withdrew his name from
consideration and, after a short interval and suitable
excuses, Mr. Blunt was named the new SBU President
in December 1992.
Dr. Sells later sued SBU to claim the remainder of his
multiple-year contract (approximately $130,000 in
yearly salary and benefits), and SBU quickly settled --
reportedly by paying Dr. Sells (and other dismissed staff)
hundreds of thousands of dollars out of SBU's operating funds.
Dr. James Sells was technically retired when the dispute
began and, though he was terminated, he still remains
active in SBU politics and fundraising.
Ben Sells, Dr. James Sells' son, who was the Campaign
Director for Roy Blunt's failed bid for the Missouri
governorship, served as SBU's Vice President of Admissions
and Student Life (1992-94).
In 1994, Ben Sells left SBU -- after questions and allegations
surfaced concerning the complicity or participation of both
Ben Sells and his father in the concealment of the illegal
use of pesticides at SBU, the forging of records, the
distribution of false, fabricated, confidential, or deliberately
slanderous information, the misallocation of funds, and
other unethical or illegal conduct.
Those questions remain unanswered ...
Ben Sells now heads the International Center for Excellence
and Leadership (ICEL) of the Foreign Mission Board of the
Southern Baptist Convention. ]
[Note: Marie's open letter to the Senators is not to be confused
with the "Word of Honor" Letters, which are also being distributed
Though Marie's Senate Letter is prepared, it has not yet been
web-posted. It is scheduled to be posted the week of March 17 --
for St. Patrick's Day.
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