LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Response to “Threats Made to Antioch Community”


Kathryn J. Hausman, Wife to Thomas Hausman

December 12, 2018
Re: Threats made to the Community of Antioch article
Tom told a bad and inappropriate joke . Someone reacted to his bad and inappropriate joke by saying that it made him or her feel fearful. The bad and inappropriate joke changed into something it wasn’t. It grew into something bigger than it was. Tom was portrayed as a violent person. Anyone who knows Tom knows two things about him. He tells bad jokes and he is not a violent person. He admitted his mistake and apologized to his colleagues – and trusted that they knew him well enough not to fear him.

The words Tom used are not unusual, forbidden, illegal, pornographic or obscene. They are
found in the library – in books, in magazines, in film, in games. But in some context the words can be a threat. It is not the norm to include conversation in meeting minutes , but
nevertheless Tom’ s words were put into the minutes, minutes written not by the Board
secretary but by a staff member. Tom’s words were taken out of context. Other parts of the
conversation that might have put his words into context were not included. His bad joke stood alone as a comment recorded in the minutes, and they were written to suggest the words of a violent person. I hope that comments at the beginning and the end of the following meeting that may have put his words into context were written down.

There is disagreement about Tom ’s exact words and what was written into the minutes. Tom did not want an incorrect statement included in the minutes and so asked to have it changed or removed. Rather than trying to “cover up” his words as suggested by a board candidate, he was trying to correct the minutes. Again, it is not the norm to include discussion in meeting minutes for exactly that reason. It is too easy to misinterpret, mishear, or disremember someone’s words . The result can change what was into something it isn’t and to grow something into something bigger than it is.

The bad and inappropriate joke went from the board meeting to the police, to the Secretary of State office, to the Illinois State Librarian, to Sequoit Media. The police talked to Tom, the Secretary of State referred the matter to the Illinois State Librarian, Sequoit Media talked to Brent Bluthart. The discussion continues into a third meeting, and a trustee candidate has made it a spring election issue . It hurts Tom and our family, reflects poorly on the Board and how they dealt with the matter, and does nothing to build on the work and accomplishments that have made the library’s reputation a good one.

Tom is proud of Antioch Public Library District, is proud to be a member of the Board of
Trustees and will continue to do the best job he can as a trustee. He will continue to do the
best job he can and hope that an error in judgement, a mistake he has admitted and for which he has apologized, will not define him or his work as a public servant.

Kathryn J. Hausman