Thirteen Yale University professors withdrew from the university's Ethnicity, Race and Migration (ER&M) program to protest a lack of support from the institution.
The professors accused Yale of reneging on promises to support the department, reports The Philadelphia Tribune. The departure means there are no tenured professors working in the ER&M department. The educators also accused the university of asking them to volunteer their services, in addition to other commitments, without proper compensation.
The educators also cited a lack of support for the 87 ER&M majors at Yale.
“These are students who absolutely work their tails off,” professor Daniel Martinez Hosang told WNPR. “They’re exceptional, hard-working, imaginative students that Yale just typically hasn’t served.”
He believes Yale’s negligence places the students at a disadvantage compared to their peers.
“For them to come to the university to declare an interest in a field of study -- and want that interest to be represented by faculty, by research possibilities, classes – and essentially being told you can’t, I think is a real injustice to them,” Hosang said.
The students in the ER&M program support their instructors and staged a protest of their own in front of the school library, reports Yale Daily News. The Coalition for Ethnic Studies at Yale built a pop-up library filled with the work of professors who have worked in the department since its 1997 inception, including the 13 latest departures. They also set up a photo project consisting of students finishing the sentence “We need ER&M because…” to illustrate the relevance of the program.
Student Emily Almendarez said the group’s actions are an expression of solidarity and gratitude.
“I think the faculty was our last push to thinking about visually how we can mobilize,” Almendarez said. “Because they did the most they could do and because their action was so brave, we have to hit with some sort of reciprocity, [and] also [with] something that demonstrates that while the University does not support and value their academic professorship, for us as students … those books that are witnessed are what make this University a part of our own knowledge production.”
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Yale President Peter Salovey released a statement claiming to support the ER&M department and expressing hope for a resolution.
"We greatly value the work of our faculty colleagues in ER&M, and we regret their decision to withdraw from it, and in this manner,” he said. “Yale will make sure that affected students are given the resources and support they need, and we remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached that works well for everyone.”
Salovey also mentioned two hires the department made in 2018 and his intention to hire more. He detailed other plans for expansion.
“That is a very high rate of growth, in keeping with the five-year, $50 million effort the university has undertaken to improve the diversity and excellence of its faculty,” Salovey continued.
“In that effort's first three years, we have hired more than 60 new faculty across the University who bring diversity and excellence to our ranks.”
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