Opinions

Open Letter to President Davis

Dear President Davis,

We would like to express our gratitude towards your continuous dedication to Furman since the beginning of your term this past June. Students have only compliments about your service to Furman, and are excited about your plans for the university. We have been especially grateful for your continuous commitment to student interaction and are much appreciative of your visibility on campus.

As student leaders, we are writing on behalf of Furman students on one particular area that might not have received your direct attention. Students have recently been dissatisfied with the treatment of multicultural faculty members. We would like to share our concerns regarding the tenureship review process and the recent dismissal of a number of multicultural professors. The dismissal of multicultural professors at an alarming rate, given their already small presence on campus has raised concern within the student body. Hence, as student leaders, we have taken the initiative to have a better understanding of the situation and have since spoken with dozens of professors and staff members. Through this, we have learned that each of the multicultural professors who were dismissed or were asked to resign were frustrated with the due process provided to them. They have also indicated the existence of unconscious bias and microaggression from colleagues and staff.

These professors who prefer to remain anonymous, have cited discrimination; including but not limited to, racial, gender and religious discrimination. After probing into the situation with materials available to us, we have found no concrete evidence of wrongdoings by these professors that could have led to their dismissal or resignation. On the contrary, they demonstrated great strength in their area of expertise and showed strong enthusiasm towards their students.

As students at this esteemed educational institution, we hope that the university places an emphasis on mentorship and leadership. Some of these professors who were relieved of their position were not given prior warning of any wrongdoing, thus, eliminating their power to improve. Instead, they were given a showcase letter, terminating their contracts or were asked to resign almost immediately. Furthermore, these accusations of wrongdoing have not been substantiated by justifiable evidence. In addition, there has been a lack of support and due process from both the administration and the departments.

We are honored to have you as our 12th President and we are excited to work with you in making Furman a better place for all students, faculty and staff members. Hence, we would like to respectfully ask for your support by forming an external investigation into the tenureship review process. We would also like the university to conduct a similar investigation into the existence of racial and religious discrimination among faculty members comparable to the recent gender study conducted. We ask that the consultant hiring team be independent of all Vice Presidents, current and previous members of the Faculty-Status Committee and all Department Chairs, in order to remove all potential biases.

Looking forward to your response and assistance in this matter.

Sincerely,

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2 comments

  1. This seems a bit overblown. You are arguing that there has been “racial, gender, [or] religious discrimination” without any proof of evidence. Because multiple professors say that they are upset with the way that this process has been handled (and who wouldn’t if they were getting fired) doesn’t mean that they are being discriminated against. Please state physical evidence that shows that the institution of which I belong to and pay dues to is actually committing a crime. Otherwise, isn’t this issue more easily explained by using monetary means? Furmans recent hiring policy has been to hire more diverse professors and staff, not to fire them. With the growing Asian Studies major in particular it seems natural that Furman would want to hire multi-cultured faculty in order to provide it’s students with the best learning towards that subject. Because of the recent ‘budget crisis’, hasn’t the Furman board of trustees been required to cut the budget? Would an easy way to do so be to not tenure the newly hired professors, whom of which tended to be multi-culturaled because of the hiring process.

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