KSU department suffers from clash
Garrison claims former chair
By Justin Boyd
Record–Courier staff writer
November 30, 1997
Discord among faculty of Kent State
Univer- sity's Department of Pan-African Studies and unrest among Black
United Students stems from a dispute about "who is in charge," according
to the current chairman of the department.
Chairman George Garrison contends his
critics want his predecessor, Edward Crosby to run the department.
"The situation in DPAS, plain and simple,
is about who is in charge," Garrison wrote in a letter published last week
in the Daily Kent Stater, the student newspaper. "Shall the department
be run by a man who retired five years ago, or will it be run by the current
chair? That is the question."
Crosby, for his part, said he is not
Crosby, who was chairman of Pan-African
Studies since its creation in 1977, retired in 1994. He came to KSU in
1969 and helped to found the Institute of African American Affairs, which
is now a part of the Department of Pan- African Studies. Garrison was hired
as chair- man when Crosby retired.
Garrison is the subject of an early
admini- strative review called for by members of the Pan-African Studies
Department. BUS, the largest black student organization at KSU, presented
him with a letter Nov. 20 asking for his resignation.
Garrison defended his record to about
350 students, faculty and staff at a BUS rally Nov. 21.
"I am not guilty of the allegations
brought against me and time will bear that out," he said.
Crosby said he was not the cause of
"It surprises me that in Tuesday's
Kent Stater the first sentence in his letter says I'm the problem,"
he said. "I say to myself 'My God, I don't have to be around and I am the
One faculty member in Pan-African Studies,
however, said Crosby is deeply involved. "He's masterminding everything,"
said Kwame Nan- tambu, a faculty member since 1990.
The call for an early review of Garrison's
chairmanship was a "coup attempt" to unseat Garrison by people loyal to
Crosby, he said.
"It's a power play to protect the tradition
of Dr. Crosby, and that's all it is," Nantambu said.
Pan-African Studies faculty also are
unfair in their criticisms of Garrison's conduct, he said.
"What they're accusing George Garrison
of is exactly what they let Dr. Crosby get away with for 25 years," he
Crosby said Nantambu's criticisms of
him stem from personal problems between them.
"He blames me because he didn't get
pro- moted to full professor," he said. "I wasn't even on the committee."
Crosby denied accusations he prompted
faculty and student actions against Garrison. They distract people's attention
from the real problems in the department.
"It's always been me for the last 25
years," he said. "'Crosby's the one. He does every- thing. Even when he's
Crosby said Garrison was not an effective
"He's not taking care of departmental
busi- ness," he said. "You can't be a chair and not lead your faculty.
You can't be an effective chair when your students are against you."
Mwatabu Okantah, a critic of Garrison's
chairmanship and a former student of Crosby's, said Garrison is attempting
to move the department away from it's founding princi- ples. It is Garrison's
apparent resistance to this historical mission that caused BUS to ask for
Garrison's resignation, I told him, 'If you make these students choose
between you and Dr. Crosby, there is no choice,"' he said.
In Tuesday's letter, Garrison implied
stu- dents were not thinking for themselves.
"It is a day of shame for those
young people who allowed themselves to be manipulated by individuals
who have abused their position of trust and renounced all pretense to elderhood,"
"If we were really influencing them
they would have done this a long time ago," Okantah said.
The committee conducting the
review may finish its review by the end of the fall semester, said
Joseph Danks, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.