KSU department suffers from clash 

Garrison claims former chair is problem 

By Justin Boyd  
Record–Courier staff writer  

Sunday, 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 the problem. 
   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 the problems. 
   "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 dog.'" 
   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 said.  
   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 not around.'" 
   Crosby said Garrison was not an effective administrator. 
   "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," he wrote. 
   "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.