Tenure decisions should be made out in the open

by Beacon Staff • February 18, 2009

I am writing in regard to the denial of tenure for Professors House and Desir (Page 1, Feb 12). I find the denials, made by Deans Grafton Nunes and Janis Andersen, vice president of Academic Affairs Linda Moore, the Board of Trustees and President Liebergott, to be questionable and outrageous.

While I have never interacted with Professor Desir, Professor Roger House has been nothing but professional, reliable and helpful as the faculty advisor for Emerson Peace and Social Justice, a student organization with intent to tackle social issues and provide change at Emerson and beyond. House continues to maintain a constant interest in the group, which is more than I can say for other chosen advisors of groups with which I have interacted.

iThe Beacon/i reported that both House and Desir received support and praise from current and former students, as well as fellow professors-groups who interact with these men daily. However, upper-level administration rejected House and Desir's applications for no clear reason. Others who had a hand in Professor House's rejection refused to comment or could not be reached.

iThe Beacon/i cites Andersen saying House was denied because he has not published two books-the only publicly stated reason House, who has given six years to the college, is being dismissed. I was under the impression that Emerson's faculty exists to be a resource for students, not to produce a quota of publications.

I personally know professors who were granted tenure yet have received negative reviews from multiple students, including myself. I have taken classes taught by non-white professors, and most if not all have had issues with the administration.

I wonder if student opinion is taken into consideration at all when faculty members are reconsidered for hire or tenure.

While the decision about House and Desir may have been left to the administration of this college, I am writing to say that there are students who feel the administration should not operate behind closed doors on such matters of employment.

What do you have to hide?

i-Michael Francis

Junior

Radio major/i