Re: Racism and Academia

Ed Krauss (
Sun, 15 May 1994 07:45:04 GMT 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.
>The Dean of Liberal Arts and Science intervened and stalled the search before
>Dr. Morsy was offered a contract. Two of the majority faculty then filled
>an affirmative action complaint with the University's Office of Affirmative
>Action. Then ensued a six month wait while Affirmative Action ostensibly
>carried out its investigation.

> In November 1994 Dean Romano called the faculty to a meeting, where he
>informed us of his decision. At that meeting, the Affirmative Action officer
>reported that despite the fact that the office had not completed the
>investigation (!), her finding was that the previous search be called off
>and a new search begun. Dean Romano then ordered the Department to form a new
>search committee that would include people from departments other than
>Anthropology as well as off campus representatives. This committee would
>write a new job description and would have the responsibility of drawing up
>the short list and selecting the candidate to whom the job would be offered.
>In one fell swoop, Dean Romano arbitrarily disenfranchised the Department of
>We (the majority faculty) call on the academic community to
>write to Pres. Harry Hartley, Gulley Hall, The University of Connecticut,
>Storrs, CT (06269).

>PROTEST the following:
> 1. The blatant chicanery of the Office of Affirmative Action in
>issuing a finding before having completed its investigation.
> 2. The Dean's blatant interference in internal departmental affairs,
>and his authoritarian restructuring of Anthropology Department search
> 3. The Department Head's weak (or nonexistent) leadership in not
>maintaining control of his "troops"
>If you wish additional information about this case, please write to:

>Dr. Leigh Binford
>870 Storrs Rd.
>Mansfield, CT 06268

This reminds me a little of the episode at Berkeley when Jenny Harrison
first applied for tenure in the Math Department. In that case she was
refused by a committee made up of departmental faculty members. She
protested saying others (males) of lesser achievement had been granted
tenure, and by involving the extra departmental adminstration (chancellor,
deans, AA/EEOP etc.) in the process, i.e. going over the head of the Math
Department, was able to reapply and be granted tenure.

In fact, from what I've heard, it's the very autonomous nature of some of
the departments at places like Berkeley that greatly slow this process of
achieving "multicultural diversity."

Ed Krauss Berkeley, California