Friday, June 16, 2006

Ethnic studies chair to CU: Validate us

Albert Ramirez said the university needs to show support for ethnic studies:
The faculty of this department need to know that the leadership of the university considers both them and their discipline as legitimate and credible as any other department," said Albert Ramirez, ethnic studies department chairman. "It's an important message to hear.". . .
Ramirez laid out his feelings about the Churchill case and the problems in the department in a four-page letter, and he said he is meeting soon with administrators to discuss the letter.

"It is puzzling, in fact, that the university has not taken a more supportive role in regard to the department, since ethnic studies at CU has contributed significantly to the research and teaching mission of the university," Ramirez wrote, adding that the course and faculty ratings regularly exceed the school average.
In fact, the Churchill report explicitly voices support for the department and brands the Churchill mess an isolated incident, almost certainly to forestall complaints like Ramirez's:
"We have taken pains in this report to explain that the findings (of academic misconduct) apply only to professor Churchill and should not be casually generalized to the others in his department or field of study," the Standing Committee on Research Misconduct wrote. "We recommend that the chancellor consider means to ensure that the reputation of other faculty and staff in the department of ethnic studies is restored and maintained appropriately."
Ramirez just wants CU's "more supportive role" to take a particular form:
He has asked to fill the position of Churchill's wife, Natsu Taylor Saito, who recently resigned, and wants to make sure he can fill Churchill's job if he is fired. Ramirez said he isn't sure why the administration did not respond to the racist calls and e-mails the department received in the spring of 2005.
So he wants an assurance that CU isn't going to try to phase out the department through attrition. Oh, and those "racist calls and e-mails" CU administration didn't respond to?

Malmsbury confirmed that the ethnic studies department received racist e-mails and that administrators met to discuss the situation, but she did not address what was done in response to the e-mails or whether there would be a statement of support for the department.

What happened to the "calls?" And hasn't everybody on Earth received at least one racist e-mail by now? That gambit has completely lost its ability to outrage anybody except ethnic studies types and media wowsers. Toughen up, chaps and chapettes! You're revolutionaries!

Ramirez . . . said that the department is vital in the face of immigration controversy and other national issues.

"We help create for society voices that are now invisible," he said. "For a lot of society, that is kind of threatening and kind of controversial."
See? Revolutionaries.

Update: Pirate Ballerina links to a statement from Boulder Faculty Assembly Chair Jerry Hausen, who pours on the PC just the way Ramirez likes it:
Part of the fallout from this case has been public questioning of the validity of disciplines that focus on the historical and contemporary accomplishments of and questions of social justice concerning women, peoples of color and other groups that often have been consigned to the political, economic and legal margins of our society. Studying the contributions of marginalized, often underrepresented and, during some periods of American history, unrepresented citizens plays an important role in a broad-based education. Such courses invite students to consider the complexity of struggles to be treated with fairness and justice and to think critically about the vestiges of these struggles that persist in today's society. Courses that examine these parts of the American experience and provide opportunities to reflect on their causes and cures have significant value for helping our students become positive contributors to the continuing American dream of a society based on amity and hope. We call on the Board of Regents of the University to reaffirm its support for these disciplines.
Will the regents knuckle under to this? The suspense is freakin' awful.

Better-late-than-never update: Hi, PJM readers! Hang around and check out the Drunkablog main page. You'll be ashamed you did!

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