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UWI | Its a Travesty of Justice! 146 Int'l academics flay Beckles contract delay

Featured UWI | Its a Travesty of Justice! 146 Int'l academics flay Beckles contract delay

KINGSTON,  Jamaica, Thursday March 25, 2021 - One hundred and forty six members of the international academic community, have written to the Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Robert Bermudez, over the failure of the UWI Council to make a decision on the reappointment of the current UWI Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, despite his stellar service.

In their letter dated March 23, the academicians extolled the scholarly and administrative achievements of Professor Beckles, pointing out that  he is “an eminent historian and thought leader who is internationally recognized and respected, for his tireless efforts to make The UWI rank amongst the world’s best research universities.

They observed that ”The UWI is now ranked among the world’s top 100 universities in the Times Higher Education’s “Golden Age University Rankings.”  

The following is the full text of the signed letter of concern sent by members of the international academic community to UWI Chancellor Robert Bermudez:


March 23, 2021
Mr. Robert Bermudez
Chancellor, The University of the West Indies
Regional Headquarters
Kingston 7, Jamaica

Dear Chancellor:

We, 146 concerned members of the international academic community, write in solidarity with our UWI colleagues who have expressed concern over troubling aspects of the Report of The UWI Chancellor’s Commission on Governance at The University of the West Indies (July 2020), as well as over the failure of the UWI Council to date, to make a decision on the reappointment of the current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, despite his stellar service. 

In their letter to you dated 26th February 2021, for example, Heads of Departments in the Regional Headquarters of The UWI, even suggested that this delay in the decision on the Vice-Chancellor’s contract might be considered a travesty of justice.

We have also seen the various articles in Caribbean newspapers and read the Governance Report; and because some of us are alumni and affiliates who have the interests of The UWI and the Vice-Chancellor at heart, we are also alarmed by some of the recommendations contained in the report, which we will outline later. 

In addition, if the failure of the Council that you chair to make a decision on the Vice-Chancellor’s contract at this stage represents a departure from well-established procedures at The UWI, where normally Vice-Chancellors are reappointed (for the same term as the initial appointment), a year in advance of the expiration of their contract, then we urge you, Chancellor, to rectify this situation speedily.

This seeming break with tradition, in our estimation, can only be viewed as an attempt to sanction Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles.  Yet, we are not in doubt, given his stellar reputation and achievements, that his pre-reappointment review (which we believe is standard practice at all universities) was successful.

We extol the scholarly and administrative achievements of Prof. Beckles, an eminent Historian and thought leader, who is internationally recognized and respected for his tireless efforts to make The UWI rank amongst the world’s best research universities.  

The UWI is now ranked among the world’s top 100 universities in Times Higher Education’s “Golden Age University Rankings.”  Along with improving UWIs academic reputation, he has increased access to students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds during his tenure.  

We also applaud Vice-Chancellor Beckles' role in the international Reparations movement, including establishing the Centre for Reparations Research at UWI Mona.  We recognize principled scholarly activism on matters of international equity and justice as central to the role of academic leadership in the 21st century.

Turning to the Report, public for some time now, we are also alarmed by the Report's proposal to abolish the Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GPC), the democratic chamber of the university, and to replace it with an Executive Committee of the Campus Council, to be chaired by the Chair of the Campus Council and to introduce corporate governance.  

Such an audacious policy change could curtail faculty oversight, and diminish the voice and contributions of students, staff and other stakeholders who have a vested interest in the university.  We wish to emphasize the importance of upholding the autonomy of faculty governance -- of the freedom to research and to teach -- without the direct interference of business imperatives.  The modern research university is primarily a place for research and discovery, and for exploring fundamental and pressing questions of the human condition unbounded by corporate interests.

The timing of the Report and the delay in reappointing Prof. Beckles seems geared to conflate an important issue that we feel must be clarified.  The distinct impression is given that the challenges facing UWI (a governance issue) is somehow tied to Prof. Beckles’ term of leadership, which from our vantage point, is a stellar one.

Given The UWI’s history, there are structural issues relating to its governance that must be addressed if the university is going to fulfill its mission.  With Prof. Beckles at the helm, The UWI is well-positioned to address the needs of the Caribbean people, and to become a world-premier university.  Governance structure, we remind you, is not synonymous with academic leadership.

We thus implore the leaders of The UWI, regional leaders and the Council of the University of the West Indies to uphold the highest values on which the institution is built.  Prof. Beckles should not be subjected to recriminations for his scholar-activism.  To do so would have a chilling effect on younger generations of scholars at a time, globally, when ethical resolve is needed more than ever.  In addition, this will bring irreparable damage to the international reputation of UWI.

The Vice-Chancellor's contract should be renewed for a second six-year term; and theenshrined norms of academic autonomy and faculty governance should be resolutely upheld.

Sincerely,

 

1. Kris Manjapra
Professor of History
Tufts University
 
2. Ahmed Reid
Professor of Caribbean History
City University of New York
 
3. Veronica L. Womack
Professor of Political Science and Public Administration
Georgia College & State University
 
4. Lewis R. Gordon
Professor and Head of Philosophy
University of Connecticut and Honorary Professor at Rhodes University and Visiting at
University of Johannesburg and Honorary President of the Global Center for Advanced Studies
 
5. H. Adlai Murdoch
Professor of Romance Studies
Tufts University
 
6. Horace G.Campbell
Professor of African American Studies and Political Science
Syracuse University
 
7. David Eltis
Emeritus Professor of History
Emory University
 
8. Michael Ralph
Department of Social & Cultural Analysis
School of Medicine
New York University
 
9. Adekeye Adebajo
Professor and Director Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation
University of Johannesburg, South Africa
 
10. Keston K. Perry
Lecturer in Economics
University of the West of England
 
11. Robin D. G. Kelley
Professor of History
University of California, Los Angeles
 
12. Jovan Scott Lewis
Assistant Professor of Geography
University of California, Berkeley

13. Andrew Ross
Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis
New York University
 
14. Zophia Edwards
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Black Studies
Providence College, RI, US
 
15. Ada Ferrer
Professor of History and Latin American and Caribbean Studies
New York University
 
16. Anna McCarthy
Professor of Cinema Studies
New York University
 
17. Mary Nolan
Professor of History emerita
New York University
 
18. James S. Uleman
Professor Emeritus of Psychology
New York University
 
19. Fred Moten
Professor of Performance Studies
New York University
 
20. Lenora Hanson
Assistant Professor, English
New York University
 
21. Pacharee Sudhinaraset
Assistant Professor, English
New York University
 
22. Steven Hahn
Professor of History
New York University
 
23. Nicholas Mirzoeff
Professor of Media, Culture and Communication
New York University
 
24. Kathleen Wilson
Distinguished Professor of History
Stony Brook University
 
25. Stephen Duncombe
Professor of Media and Culture
New York University
 
26. Michael A. Gomez
Professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies
New York University
 
27. Cristina Beltran
Department of Social & Cultural Analysis
New York University
 
28. Rebecca E. Karl
Professor, History Department
New York University
 
29. Jini Kim Watson
Associate Professor, Dept. of English
New York University
 
30. Charisse Burden-Stelly
Assistant Professor, Africana Studies and Political Science
Carleton College
 
31. Kaneesha Parsard
Assistant Professor, English
University of Chicago
 
32. Biko Agozino
Professor of Sociology
Virginia Tech
 
33. Leon Sealey-Huggins
Assistant Professor, Global Sustainable Development
University of Warwick
 
34. Renee Blake
Associate Professor, Linguistics/Social and Cultural Analysis
New York University
 
35. Elizabeth Maddock Dillon
Distinguished Professor of English
Northeastern University
 
36. Jenna Marshall
Postdoctoral Fellow, Development & Postcolonial Studies
Universität Kassel, Germany
 
37. Walter Johnson
Winthrop Professor
Harvard University
 
38. Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Latina/o Studies
Northwestern University
 
39. Alexander Weheliye
Professor of African American Studies
Northwestern University
 
40. Saidiya Hartman
University Professor
Columbia University
 
41. Kerry Sinanan
Assistant Professor
University of Texas at San Antonio
 
42. Nicole N. Aljoe
Associate Professor
Northeastern University
 
43. Elizabeth A. Bohls
Professor
University of Oregon
 
44. Bethany Moreton
Professor
Dartmouth College
 
45. Nicola Frith
Senior Lecturer
University of Edinburgh
 
46. Tita Chico
Professor of English
University of Maryland
47. Christina Sharpe
Professor, Canada Research Chair in Black Studies in the Humanities
York University
 
48. Jemima Pierre
Associate Professor, African American Studies & Anthropology
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  
49. Peter James Hudson
Associate Professor, African American Studies & History
University of California, Los Angeles
 
50. Daniel Carey
Director, Moore Institute
National University of Ireland Galway
 
51. Barbara Ransby
John D. MacArthur Chair and Professor of Black Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies and
History
University of Illinois at Chicago
 
52. John P Waters
Continuing Associate Professor
New York University
 
53. Dionne Brand
Professor, School of English and Theatre Studies
University of Guelph
 
54. Sabine Broeck
Professor Emerita, Modern Languages and Literatures
University of Bremen
 
55. Jagdeep Raina
Sessional Instructor, School of Fine Art and Music
University of Guelph
 
56. Andrew H. Lee
Curator, Division of Libraries
New York University
 
57. Kimberly Bain
John Holmes Assistant Professor in the Humanities
Tufts University
 
58. Akwasi Osei
Associate Dean and Professor
Delaware State University
 
59. Joyce Hope Scott
Clinical Professor of African American Studies
Boston University
 
60. David Richardson
Professor of Economic History
Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull
 
61. Stephanie Smallwood
Associate Professor of History and Comparative History of Ideas
University of Washington
 
62. William Cheng
Chair & Associate Professor, Music
Dartmouth College
 
63. Eng-Beng Lim
Director, Consortium of Studies in Race, Migration, and Sexuality; Associate Professor,
Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Dartmouth College
 
64. Vincent Brown
Charles Warren Professor of American History
Professor of African and African American Studies
Harvard University
 
65. Audrey O’Connor Spicer
Instructor, Economics and Government
Broward County School District
 
66. Trevor Burnard
Director and Professor, the Wilberforce Institute
The University of Hull (and ex-staff member, UWI, Mona)

67. Sonia Hofkosh
Associate Professor, English
Tufts University
 
68. Roderick A. Ferguson
Professor, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Yale University
 
69. Adédiran Olaiya
Expert/Moderator
UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab
 
70. Thuy Linh Tu
Associate Professor, Social and Cultural Analysis
New York University
 
71. Kehinde Andrews
Professor of Black Studies
Birmingham City University
 
72. Rinaldo Walcott
Professor, Women and Gender Studies Institute
University of Toronto
 
73. Warren C Hope
Chair and Professor, Educational Leadership and Counseling
Florida A&M University
 
74. Michael McEachrane
Researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
Lund University, Sweden
 
75. Tom Looser
Chair and Associate Professor, East Asian Studies
New York University
 
76. Lisa Lowe
Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Race, & Migration
Yale University
 
77. Celia E. Naylor
Professor of Africana Studies and History
Barnard College, Columbia University
 
78. Maria A. Windell
Assistant Professor of English
University of Colorado Boulder
 
79. Anita Rupprecht
Principal Lecturer in Humanities
University of Brighton, UK
 
80. Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Georgetown University
 
81. Allison Bigelow
Tom Scully Discovery Chair Associate Professor of Spanish
University of Virginia
 
82. Erica E McInnis
Chartered Clinical Psychologist
Manchester Universities NHS Foundation Trust Hospitals
 
83. Mireille Fanon Mendes France
Legal consultant
Frantz Fanon Foundation
 
84. Donald E. Pease
Ted & Helen Geisel Professor in the Humanities
Dartmouth College
 
85. Jonathan Senchyne
Associate Professor of Book History and Print Culture
University of Wisconsin-Madison
 
86. Caroline Shenaz Hossein
Associate Professor of Business and Society
York University
 
87. Jean Muteba Rahier
Professor of Anthropology and African & African Diaspora Studies
Florida International University
 
88. Sam Sommers
Lecturer in African American and American Literatures
Auburn University
 
89. Sean X. Goudie
Director, Center for American Literary Studies
Associate Professor of English
Pennsylvania State University (University Park)
 
90. Lydia G. Fash
Assistant Professor of English
Simmons University
 
91. Glenda Goodman
Assistant Professor of Music
University of Pennsylvania
 
92. Christian Hogsbjerg
Lecturer in Critical History and Politics, School of Humanities
University of Brighton
 
93. Lassane Ouedraogo
Chairperson & Academic Executive Officer
Africa Solidarity Centre Ireland & Trinity College Dublin
 
94. Richard S. Pressman
Professor Emeritus
St. Mary’s U of San Antonio

95. Laura Laffrado
Professor
Western Washington University
 
96. Agostinho M. N. Pinnock
Early Career Researcher, Department of Geography & the Environment, School of Social
Sciences
Loughborough University, UK
 
97. Zabelle Stodola
Professor of English, Emerita
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
 
98. Mary Grace Albanese
Assistant Professor of English
SUNY Binghamton
 
99. Amanda Louise Johnson
Lecturer in English
Rice University
 
100. Nicole Willson
Research Fellow
University of Central Lancashire
 
101.
Laura Kwak
Assistant Professor, Socio-legal Studies
York University
 
102. Katy Chiles
Associate Professor of English
University of Tennessee
 
103. Thomas Glave Richard Beaudoin
Professor of English
Assistant Professor of Music
SUNY - Binghamton
Dartmouth College
 
104. Ivy Schweitzer
Professor of English and Creative Writing
Dartmouth College, Hanover NH
 
105. Martha Schoolman
Associate Professor of English
Florida International University
 
106. JoAnn Watson
Professor of English
Wayne County Community College
 
107. Shalini Puri
Professor of English
University of Pittsburgh
 
108. Dr. Gabriella Beckles-Raymond
Independent Researcher/ Consultant
School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
 
109. Steve Cushion
Branch Secretary
University and College Union, London Retired members
 
110. Judy White
Professor Emerita
University of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
 
111. Phillip Beckles-Raymond
Senior Lecturer
University of West London

112. Sharon Austin
Professor of Political Science
University of Florida
 
113. Vickie Casanova-Willis
Executive Director
US Human Rights Network
 
114. Alicia E. Ellis
Associate Professor of German
Colby College
 
115. Gifford Rhamie
Senior Lecturer of Theology
Newbold College of HE, UK
 
116. Margareta Matache
Director of the Roma Program
Harvard University
 
117. Christine ‘Xine’ Yao
Lecturer in American Literature to 1900
University College London
 
118. Sandra Burr
Associate Professor of English
Northern Michigan University
 
119. David Sartorius
Associate Professor of History
University of Maryland
 
120. Anthony Bogues
Professor of Africana Studies
Brown University
 
121. Selwyn Cudjoe
Professor of Africana Studies
Wellesley College
 
122. Carole Boyce Davies
Professor of Africana Studies & Literatures in English
Cornell University
 
123. David Dabydeen
Honorary Fellow, Selwyn College, Cambridge University
Cambridge University
 
124. Katucha Bento
Lecturer in Race and Decolonial Studies
University of Edinburgh
 
125. Lennox S. Hinds
Professor Emeritus
Rutgers University
 
126. Natalie Zacek
Senior Lecturer in American Studies
University of Manchester
 
127. Tim Watson
Professor of English
University of Miami
 
128. Toyin Falola
Professor; Jacob & Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities
University Distinguished Teaching Professor
The University of Texas at Austin
 
129. Tracey Skelton
Associate Professor of Geography
National University of Singapore
 
130. Christian Hogsbjerg
Lecturer in Critical History and Politics
University of Brighton
 
131. Michelle Hartman
Professor and Director
Institute of Islamic Studies
McGill University
 
132. Adom Getachew
Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science
The University of Chicago

133. Rachel Douglas
Lecturer in French and Comparative Literature
University of Glasgow
  
134. Malick Al Nasir
Research Scholar, History Department
Cambridge University
 
135. Jorge L. Giovannetti-Torres
Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Puerto Rico

136. Jemadari Kamara
Director, Center for African, Caribbean and Community Development
University of Massachusetts Boston

137. Jennifer Morgan
Professor and Chair, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis
And Department of History
New York University

138. Minkah Makalani
Associate Professor
African and African Diaspora Studies
The University of Texas at Austin

139. Karin Wulf
Executive Director
Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture
Professor of History
William & Mary University

140. Annette Joseph-Gabriel
Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

141. Simone Browne
Associate Professor
Department of African and African Diasporic Studies
The University of Texas at Austin

142. Leslie James
Senior Lecturer in Global History
Queen Mary University of London

143. Davarian L. Baldwin
Rather Distinguished Professor of American Studies
Trinity College

144. Indrani Chatterjee
Professor of History
The University of Texas at Austin

 145. Benjamin Talton
Associate Professor of History
Temple University

146. Nathan Connolly
Herbert Baxter Adams Associate Professor of History
Johns Hopkins University

  • Countries: Caribbean

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