N. Bruce Duthu '80 declines dean of faculty appointment

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 5/22/17 2:07pm

UPDATED: May 22, 2017 at 2:38 p.m.

Native American studies professor N. Bruce Duthu ’80 announced today in a faculty-wide email that he has declined his appointment as the next dean of the faculty of arts and sciences. His announcement follows concerns regarding his co-authorship of a 2013 declaration supporting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions

In his announcement, Duthu stated that he will also step down from his current position as associate dean of the faculty for international studies and interdisciplinary programs on July 1 and return to the Native American studies department as a faculty member.

Duthu acknowledged in his statement that his appointment “remains a source of concern and contention.”

“Whether warranted or not, this matter has been and will likely continue to be a significant distraction for me professionally and a source of considerable pain and frustration for me personally,” Duthu wrote. “It also has the great potential to be damaging to the college in the long term, given the higher visibility and engagement with external audiences that come with the dean’s position.”

According to the statement, Duthu notified College President Phil Hanlon of his decision this past weekend. He was to succeed current dean of the faculty Michael Mastanduno on July 1.

Hanlon and Provost Carolyn Dever sent a campus-wide email later that afternoon expressing regret for Duthu’s decision. The email referred to Hanlon’s 2013 statement affirming that the College opposes boycotts of academic institutions and expressed support for Duthu.

"In principle, we condemn bias against any group or individual and have complete confidence that Bruce does, as well," the email stated. "In fact, his life's work has been dedicated to supporting social justice and fighting bias in all its forms."

The email stated that plans for moving forward are under development.

On May 3, economics professor Alan Gustman sent a faculty-wide email stating that Duthu’s co-authorship of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association's 2013 “Declaration of Support for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions” signifies that he is an advocate of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. In his email, Gustman asked Duthu to disavow the “BDS positions he has publicly endorsed” or resign his position as dean.

Duthu responded to Gustman’s email on May 9 in a statement to the faculty, saying he does not believe “a boycott of academic institutions is the appropriate response.” He added that as associate dean, he fully supports the College's position of opposing the boycott of academic institutions.

Gustman responded on May 9 expressing dissatisfaction with Duthu’s statement.

On May 19, Native Americans at Dartmouth sent a campus-wide statement in support of Duthu and criticized heightened scrutiny of his credentials and scholarship.

“When people of color are appointed to positions of power, they are met with racist backlash disguised as bureaucratic scrutiny from communities who benefit from a system that lacks diversity,” the statement reads. “These attitudes, when accommodated, inhibit institutions from becoming an equally secure environment for all students.”

As of press time, 499 people had signed on in support of NAD’s statement.