The CUNY English Discipline Council isn’t happy with President Diane Call’s decision to step all over the QCC English Department’s decision to vote in a new chair by rejecting the recall and naming her own choice to head the department, and they aren’t afraid to say so. What follows below is the council’s letter to Call, demanding that she respect the department’s vote, and rescind the announcement that Vice-President Karen Steele will represent the department–which she herself has looked to pick apart–on the college-wide Personnel and Budget Committee. Good stuff.
ENGLISH DISCIPLINE COUNCIL
THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK
Diane Call, President
Queensborough Community College
222-05 56th Ave
Bayside NY 11364-1497
Dear President Call:
We are writing in response to your decision of November 6, 2012 to reject the election of a new chair in the Department of English. The vote of more than two-thirds of the faculty for Professor David Humphries shows remarkable unity given recent challenges facing the department. It is clear your decision is a reprisal for the department’s rejection on September 12, 2012 of a course proposal for composition courses that are three hours, three credits. As such, your decision is clearly a punitive departure from norms of academic freedom and departmental self-governance.
Furthermore, your decision to appoint Interim Vice-President Karen Steele as the English Department representative to the college-wide Personnel and Budget Committee is callous at best and intimidating at worst. Vice President Steele will be responsible for presenting English Department candidates for reappointment, promotion, and tenure whom she has threatened to fire because of their previous vote on Pathways composition course proposals. This vote on a departmental curricular matter was consistent with other votes at Queensborough and at many campuses across CUNY which have been met with a similar pattern of threats and reprisals.
We must insist that you retract Vice-President Karen Steele’s threats aimed at the department, which included cancelling the vast majority of English courses and terminating the employment of nearly all full-time and part-time English faculty. We must also insist that the English Department vote for chair be honored and that Vice President Steele be removed as the English Department representative to the college-wide Personnel and Budget Committee.
The English Discipline Council