Union backs professors in tenure battle

by Beacon Staff • March 18, 2009

Emerson College's faculty union publicly pledged its support for two black professors embroiled in a battle for tenure with the college's administration in a letter to iThe Beacon/i published in the March 5 issue.

The professors, Dr. Roger House and Pierre Desir, allege the college denied them in May based on their race, and union representatives said they are concerned by these allegations.

The union can file complaints with the administration on behalf of professors, said Tom Kingdon, the union's grievance officer, in a telephone interview. Both professors have already petitioned the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination for reinstatement.

In the letter to iThe Beacon/i, John Anderson, a member of the governing council of the Emerson College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said the union was concerned about the issue of diversity on Emerson's campus. He lamented that the tenure process is no longer part of the union contract, but said the union and administration should cooperate to improve racial diversity among the faculty.

"The union can assist in making Emerson better reflect the heterogeneous world around us," wrote Anderson, a communication studies professor. "It can also help ensure that all of our colleagues have the opportunity to succeed upon joining the faculty. The union is dedicated to helping in any way it can, vis