Students rally in support of #fight4facultyofcolor

by Sonia Qin | 5/27/16 7:27am

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Dressed in white, over 120 students marched from Wentworth Hall to Parkhurst Hall today around 1:20 p.m. in support of #fight4facultyofcolor.

According to several emails that advertised the event, the rally directly responds to the recent denial of tenure to English professor Aimee Bahng, “as well as the 36 faculty of color who have left the College since 2002 due to hostility toward faculty of color and their work, denial of tenure, few job opportunities on campus for spouses, and lack of institutional support and resources for their fields.”

Thirty-six students also walked with numbers pinned on their shirts to represent the number of faculty of color who have left the College since 2002.

Five students led the procession with a coffin representing what emails called the “death of the scholarship of faculty of color who have left.”

In front of Parkhurst, students read statements from former faculty of color, which explained their reasons for leaving Dartmouth and also detailed their accomplishments since leaving the College. As these statements were being read, the students with numbers placed red roses inside of the coffin to represent laying their educations to rest at the feet of the administration.

Many of the faculty statements expressed similar sentiments of isolation, stress, bullying by other faculty and a hostile, toxic and unprofessional working environment. One former professor advocated for a more “formal, fair, equitable, transparent hiring process” and asked that the College have a more consistent hiring process with less nepotism and preferential treatment. Another former faculty member said that at the College, mentorship of students of color by faculty of color is often dismissed as unimportant.

The 36 faculty represented a wide array of disciplines at the College, including anthropology, biology, history, government, English, Native American studies, religion, geography, Asian and Middle Eastern studies and theater. Most are now stationed at other institutions of higher education.

Statements included those from former Dartmouth biology professor George Langford, English professor Jeffrey Santa Ana and history professors Judith Byfield and Russell Rickford, among others.

The same student emails also urged the College to make cluster hires in ethnic studies, improve campus climate for faculty of color through adjusted hiring and evaluation practices and increase the transparency of the Committee Advisory to the President’s voting procedures.

The gathering ended with a brief moment of silence.