Kirstein Quoted in Chicago Sun-Times Coverage of Prof. Namita Goswami Press Conference

This is a link to their article. They also present pictures of Professor Goswami and others. These are real people, not just names on a faculty list. These are real folks with dreams and families living in a country where discrimination should not occur. This is not 1955 or 1965 and universities should be reminded of that fact.

DePaul hit for denying tenure to minority profs

by kara spak Staff Reporter/ Dec 7, 2010 06:32PM

More than 30 DePaul University faculty and students rallied Tuesday around two professors, both women of color who were denied tenure in what their supporters claim is part of a troubling pattern at the school.

Namita Goswami, a philosophy professor, and Quinetta Shelby, a chemistry professor, were two minority candidates denied tenure this year. Four other minority professors were also denied, although one’s denial was reversed.

Every white professor up for tenure at the same time received the lifetime job guarantee, said Matthew Abraham, a professor in the Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse Department. This follows tenure controversies in 2007 over Norman Finkelstein, an outspoken critic of Israel, and in 2009, when five of seven professors denied tenure were women and another was a minority man.

Abraham said the group assembled Tuesday in an art gallery blocks from the Lincoln Park campus was asking DePaul’s Board of Trustees — including Mary Dempsey, Chicago Public Library commissioner, and Chicago mayoral candidate Gery Chico — to investigate “what increasing numbers of faculty believe is a broken tenure system and a crisis of leadership at the top.”

The university released a statement Tuesday saying President Dennis Holtschneider “did not find that race was a factor at any stage of the process” but that he was concerned at the number of minority faculty whose tenure bids had been denied. He had instructed the school provost to search for “best practices in the U.S.” to help candidates develop strong tenure applications, the statement said.

Both Shelby and Goswami appealed their tenure decisions, and separate appeals committees ruled that tenure should have been granted. Holtschneider in both cases declined to reverse the tenure denials.

In Goswami’s case, for the first time in the university’s history, an appeals committee said her academic freedom had been violated. A committee with the Illinois Conference of the American Association of University Professors reached the same conclusion.

 Goswami, who is from India, was hired in 2003 to teach feminist and post-colonial theory in the philosophy department. She published and won the university’s highest teaching award.

But the philosophy department apparently got a case of “buyer’s remorse” and decided they didn’t want a non-Eurocentric perspective, the very thing Goswami was hired to provide, said Peter Kirstein, a history professor at St. Xavier University who chairs the Illinois Conference committee supporting Goswami.

In Shelby’s case, she said that even after tenure was denied a picture of her in a laboratory continues to be used in various DePaul promotional materials.

She is the only African-American in the chemistry department and has previously alleged race was a factor in her tenure denial.

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