A statement from Midwest Writers Workshop concerning Dennis Hensley
Last Thursday Taylor University released a statement regarding “significant and credible allegations of serious misconduct” by professor Dennis Hensley, a frequent faculty member at our summer conferences and a former planning committee member. The Marion Chronicle-Tribune and the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette reported that the misconduct involved unwanted sexual advances.
Dennis last taught at our summer workshop in 2016 and resigned after the committee called him out for unprofessional behavior in which he required attendees to buy his book and solicited his editing services during workshop sessions.
Taylor University reported that allegations date back to 2004. We have connected with other workshop organizers where Dennis has taught and have heard various allegations of misconduct. There have never been any reported incidents at the Midwest Writers Workshops.
But given that allegations date back decades and the amount of time Dennis spent at our conference with students, we aren’t ruling out the possibility.
If you attended our workshop and were the victim of such behavior by Dennis or by anyone, and feel that it would help your healing, we are here to listen. Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are ready to share with a trained professional please contact a crisis center near you. In Muncie, we recommend A Better Way (24-hour crisis line 765-288-HELP).
We are also here to learn how to protect all of the writers we serve. We are evaluating our policies and procedures. For instance, in the past, attendees and faculty would make their own arrangements of where to meet for one-on-one writing critiques. Now all such critiques will be conducted in a public place. We know other organizations and conferences are asking themselves the same tough questions. We intend to be a part of that conversation.
We feel compassion for and support those brave persons who have come forward to tell their stories.
-MWW Board of Directors