Society

Students Blast University Hiring Of A White Professor

| by Robert Fowler

Students of a California-based university are calling for their administrators to revoke a hiring offer to a sociology professor.

Over 100 students signed a letter blasting the hiring decision, asserting that the teacher's white ethnicity does not represent the diversity of their department, and citing a controversial book she had written about black communities in Philadelphia. That letter has since been deleted.

On April 21, 128 students of Pomona College signed a letter calling for school administrators to rescind an offer to Professor Alice Goffman to teach qualitative methods at the university's Sociology Department. Goffman is slated to begin teaching at Pomona in July, according to Inside Higher Ed.

The letter asserted that hiring Goffman, who is white, does not fulfill Pomona's official policy of diversity and inclusion. Citing that roughly 57 percent of the university's sociology department are students of color, the letter also noted that Goffman had been hired over two other candidates who were women of color.

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"The vast majority of Sociology majors are students of color... but the faculty are not at all representative of their students' diversity," the letter stated.

The students also blasted Goffman for a book she had written on the impact of the drug war on urban communities Philadelphia, titled "On the Run."

Goffman had written her doctoral thesis on the same topic, for which she received an award by the American Sociological Association. Despite the accolades, she had drawn fierce criticism from other academics who accused her of embellishing passages in her book and for not following research standards.

The University of Wisconsin at Madison, where Goffman teaches as an assistant professor, has defended her work. After reviewing the accusations, UWM officials announced that they found them to be "without merit."

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The student letter cited the controversy surrounding her book, asserting that it was evidence that Goffman would provide "harmful research methods."

"Her methods have endangered her research participants, encouraged the hyper-policing of Black communities, and continue to perpetuate anti-Blackness," the letter added.

The students called for administrative officials to rescind the offer made to Goffman, give an official explanation for their decision and to establish a student hiring committee that can weigh in on hires.

Pomona College News director Mark Kendall has reported that university officials will not rescind their offer to Goffman and defended their decision making.

"We follow a rigorous process when hiring faculty," Kendall told Campus Reform. "We are pleased that this process resulted in an offer and an acceptance, and we look forward to her joining our vibrant academic community in the fall as a visiting professor."

On April 25, the student letter had been deleted. There has been no comment on why it was removed, The Daily Caller reports.

Sources: Campus Reform, Inside Higher EdThe Daily Caller / Photo Credit: Nostalgicwisom/Wikimedia Commons

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