Petition for Don White sign now

To the Administration of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study and New York University:


We, the students and alumni of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study and New York University, are writing to express our most profound disappointment and distress at the lack of resolution to Dr. Donald Whites unfair and unjust employment situation at the Gallatin School. The last meeting between representatives of the student-alumni body and university staff regarding Dr. Whites case occurred in August 2006 and ended without a commitment on the part of the university administration to seek a fair resolution to this matter. Dr. White has left Gallatin, and it is clear to all that he has never received an earnest and unbiased review of the circumstances of his hiring or of the commitments made to him by university administrators to keep him teaching at Gallatin. For this reason, we have decided to send this letter of condemnation to all those who have played a part in this squalid and distasteful scheme to hire and retain Dr. White as a non-tenure track instructor while promising from the beginning that he would one day be able to achieve fair consideration for tenure, knowing full-well that while this could happen, it never did.


We believe the universitys maltreatment of Dr. White stands in complete opposition to the Gallatin Schools lofty mission of providing not only the highest quality education, but devoted mentorship as well. Dr. White symbolized the ideal Gallatin faculty member in both these regards. His courses defined the Gallatin tradition of interdisciplinary excellence, and to put it simply, NYUs reluctance to retain Dr. White has compromised Gallatins core identity as a unique school that offered an exceptional learning experience. While we acknowledge and celebrate the vital contributions of other excellent faculty members to the Gallatin experience, the truth must be told that with Dr. White gone, Gallatin has taken a giant leap toward the ordinary.


Furthermore, the mistreatment of Dr. White has led us, the current students and alumni of NYU, to question not only Gallatins commitment to its professed mission of interdisciplinary excellence, but also NYUs commitment to its students. For at least seven years students have actively protested Dr. Whites unfair treatment, only to be met with blame-shifting, denial, and bureaucratic incompetence. Many of these students are now facing this same distasteful apathy, ineptitude, and dishonesty as alumni, and there is no doubt that these many years of ill-treatment of both Dr. White and ourselves will influence alumni decisions to support NYU in any way.


The substance of any great university lies in passionate students who are dedicated to learning and in professors like Don White, who are committed to teaching and scholarly excellence. Because of institutional attitudes that have resulted in the humiliation and betrayal of students and teachers, NYU will never be the prestigious university it aspires to be. One only has to look at NYUs abysmal alumni giving rates relative to the top universities to see the truth in this statement. We can only hope that there will be faculty and administrators in the future who are fundamentally committed to the principles of honesty, integrity, and fairness in hiring and promotion, for it is not only faculty members who suffer the anguish and indignities of unjust conduct, but their students as well, and indeed the entire institution of academia. NYUs deplorable behavior toward Dr. White over the course of ten long years will remain as a painful blight to all those involved.


Some alumni have urged that we include in this petition a demand for Don Whites tenure in the Gallatin School or review for it. But those alumni who have dealt with the administration previously and have witnessed its duplicity and lack of responsibility feel that the best hope for reform is to rebuke the wrongs of the past and to withhold cooperation at present to bring about a better and more humane educational experience for the university in the future. Unless the actions of tenure or institutional reform are taken, the current and former NYU students who have signed this letter have agreed to withhold financial or advocative support from their alma mater.



Sincerely,


The Students and Alumni of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study and New York University

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Keith GlassBy:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
Petition target:
NYU Executive Administration, Board of Trustees, Alumni, Students at Large

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