Letter to the Editor

On Feb. 16, The Guilfordian published a letter to the editor from John Teague, a Guilford graduate, in which he leveled a number of charges and asked for a public response to four questions, many previously asked by others and answered. In order to provide the community with information, I will also respond to John Teague’s letter.
1) Given the overwhelming supporting data available, would Dean Israel and president Chabotar admit that Guilford remains at or below the already disparagingly low national averages when it comes to the recruitment, hiring, compensation, and retention of women faculty of color?
Although some have devoted much time and energy to improving the recruitment, hiring, and retention of international faculty and faculty of color, only recently have these efforts yielded significant results. Nevertheless, Guilford currently employs a higher percentage of faculty of color than similar colleges in North Carolina and nation-wide. Although the numbers continue to be lower than I would like to see, awarding tenure to anyone simply to satisfy diversity goals is not what racial and gender equality are about.
As for compensation, according to the most recent American Association of University Professors (AAUP) study of gender and faculty salaries, the average salary for women faculty at Guilford is higher than the average salary for men in all ranks. The AAUP does not reveal data on the compensation level for women faculty of color at Guilford; however, it is on par with the compensation of other women faculty at Guilford at all ranks.
2) Would Dean Israel and President Chabotar agree or disagree with notes civil rights attorney Julius Chambers’ conclusion that the tenure review process at Guilford is “broken?”
Given that Julius Chambers did not make this statement to me or to Kent Chabotar, it is best that he respond to your inquiry. Julius Chambers stated on Monday, Feb. 19: “I expressed to Dr. Branch my general observation that every tenure review process, including Guilford’s process, would do well to eliminate as much subjective consideration as possible. I recognize, however, that some subjectivity exists any time promotion decisions are made, and I did not find Guilford’s process to be ‘broken’ or defective to the extent that race was or could have been a factor in the tenure decision. I suggested, however, that the College should eliminate as much subjectivity as possible, and I made some suggestions to Dr. Chabotar in the context of the specific matter I reviewed. I believe my suggestions were followed.” the decision not to award tenure resulted from a process that incorporated Julius Chambers’ advice.
3) Given that Julius Chambers has no objection (in fact, he never did) to make his complete report available to the Guilford community, and that Dr. Branch has stated that she has no objection to this, would Dean Israel and President Chabotar recommend that his complete report be released for review?
In an extraordinary effort to respond to Eleanor Branch’s charges of racism, the College retained Julius Chambers to review the process as it was applied to Eleanor Branch and to inform the President whether the decision resulted from race discrimination. Mr. Chambers was given access to whomever and whatever information he needed to make this determination, and, as you know and as has been previously reported, he concluded that race was neither a legal nor a deciding factor the FAC’s decision. Everyone who spoke with Mr. Chambers agreed to do so after the President assured them of confidentiality. The President does not intend to breach that trust. However, the college community should be reassured that a noted civil rights expert reviewed the process and concluded that the decision not to recommend tenure was not racially motivated.
4) Would Dean Israel and President Chabotar at least acknowledge that compulsory training for members appointed to the FAC, which could include widely regarded training programs for white FAC members, such as Judy Katz’s “White Awareness: Handbook for Anti-Racism Training,” would no doubt have a positive impact on Guilford’s “broken” tenure system?
As I have said before, I have enthusiastically supported anti-racism training campus-wide, have worked to get it funded and institutionally sanctioned, and in the late 1990s as a faculty member joined the group who approached members of the Board of Trustees asking that the anti-racism initiative be adopted at Guilford. I recommend anti-racism training for all faculty, staff, and students, those who serve on policy committees and those who do not. Each of us can help dismantle racism. Unfortunately, the last time the College attempted to require such training, some actively resisted participating. Current efforts to incorporate anti-racism training into all aspects of College life are clearly described in the strategic plan and are supported by me and Kent Chabotar.
I trust this letter responds to the questions posed.-Adrienne Israel, Vice President for Academic Affairs