Re: Racism and Academia

Cameron Laird (claird@Starbase.NeoSoft.COM)
13 May 1994 09:43:03 -0500

In article <2qv1rv$>, <> wrote:
> In Spring of 1993, the Department of Anthropology at the University
>of Connecticut conducted a search for a senior medical anthropologist. By
>a slim margin (5-4), the faculty majority selected Dr. Soheir Morsy, a
>distinguished woman of color who later (in November 1993) won the Rudolf
>Virchow prize awarded by the Society for Medical Anthropology at the Annual
>Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Members of the losing
>faction immediately began a vicious campaign against Dr. Morsy's candidacy.
>diversity is to become a reality, it should begin in Departments of
>Anthropology. We (the majority faculty) call on the academic community to
>write to Pres. Harry Hartley, Gulley Hall, The University of Connecticut,
>Storrs, CT (06269).
>If you wish additional information about this case, please write to:
>Dr. Leigh Binford
>870 Storrs Rd.
>Mansfield, CT 06268
>Please do not send e-mail to the above account as it is not an e-mail address.
1. Dr. Binford tells a sad and ugly story. I feel
quite distant from UConn, and have nothing sub-
stantive to add on the merits of this appeal.
2. As an individual reader of sci.anthropology, I
explicitly and emphatically welcome this sort
of posting. I champion NetNews as a vehicle
for resolving, or at least publicizing, such
matters. I particularly congratulate "the
majority faculty" on taking the trouble to
communicate with us, the NetNews community,
through what is evidently a medium unfamiliar
to them.
3. Does anyone know how the decision was made by
the protesters to play this as a case of
racism, rather than violation of academic
freedom? From my background, the most unambigu-
ous outrage in the events described has to do
with the violations of departmental autonomy
and OAA protocol. I do not deny the evil of
racism; I only observe that it can be more
problematic to prove.
4. I suggest to the protesters that they adjust
their marketing. This requires more analysis,
first; what are Dr. Hartley's motives? Who does
he see as his customers? Might a student boy-
cott get through to him? Are there particular
large benefactors who might effectively be
5. Does anyone know whether Dr. Morsy would now
accept a UConn offer?

I've narrowed follow-ups.


Cameron Laird ( +1 713 267 7966 ( +1 713 996 8546