Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Open Letter Concerning Appointment of New EVC/P

Chancellor Drake
University of California, Irvine
May 20, 2013
Dear Chancellor Drake,

We, the undersigned students, faculty and community members, are writing to express our dismay that Howard Gillman, former dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at USC, has been appointed UCI Executive Vice Chancellor Provost. We find it deeply troubling that Gillman will be in a position central to the overall functioning of UCI given that his time at USC was marked by controversy and disputes with ethnic studies scholars and units. For example, a pending EEOC complaint springing from an incident in which Gillman was involved cites data that indicates a largely disproportionate number of white, male professors were granted tenure compared to women and members of minority groups during Gillman’s time at USC ( While it is impossible to attribute this discrepancy solely to Gillman, a faculty grievance panel noted that he took steps in a tenure review process that “lacked appropriate protocols resulting in a procedural defect” in a tenure review for a minority woman scholar ( These instances raise sufficient concerns about Gillman’s commitment to fair hiring practices, democratic governance, and diversity writ large.

We cannot overemphasize the gravity of this decision, particularly after the extent of student and faculty concern was made clear to Chancellor Drake, Vice Chancellor Parham and Dean Albert F. Bennett in an meeting on 16 May 2013. Morale at UCI is at historic lows. The statewide budget cuts have severely impacted students both financially and academically as fees and class sizes rise while programs are cut. The now infamous “Needs Attention Memo” issued by Academic Planning and the former EVC/P, Michael Gottfredson, further exacerbated this demoralization in the School of Humanities by placing seven academic units — all of which focus on issues of race, ethnicity, gender or sexuality — in unfavorable positions regarding funding and faculty lines. And most recently, high-profile instances of anti-Black racism on campus have contributed to a climate of anger and distrust. Filling this top administrative position with an individual who has been sharply criticized for his treatment of women and minorities and for his failure to support and respect faculty members shows an egregious lack of foresight and lack of concern for the campus community at large.

The search process that led to Gillman’s candidacy reflects the same type of closed, anti-democratic governance of which Gillman himself has been accused. Out of 19 faculty and administrators, the search committee was composed of 0 social sciences and arts faculty, only two humanities faculty, and three students. Furthermore, public input during the EVC/P search was limited, with little to no information made available publically about candidates for finalists. Therefore, we, the undersigned, urge Chancellor Drake to repeal his decision to appoint Gillman as the new EVC/P of UC Irvine until student, faculty, and community concerns have been addressed and taken into serious consideration. We echo the chancellor's recent words and ask that he and his office please join us in reaffirming our campus’s core values as we fight for equality and inclusion at UCI.

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