Inter-Departmental Correspondence
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY
Kent, Ohio
 
 

To          Dr. John J. Gargan, Department of Political Science            Date       March 6, 1998
             Chair Extraordinary Review Committee
              
              RE       Dr. George R. Garrison, Chair

From      Dr. Edward W. Crosby, Chair and Professor Emeritus, DPAS

Subject   My List of Particulars Concerning the Ineffectiveness of the Chair

I never believed I would within a space of just one year come to the conclusion that Dr. Garrison is destroying or has destroyed the Department of Pan-African Studies. In February, 1996, Garrison implied that I had been incorrect as the interim editor of KITABU. This was during a mass meeting, which was inappropriately called by Dr. Garrison to discuss a departmental matter. At that time, I tried to warn the University's black faculty, staff and students in attendance that (1) he has a skill for altering the truth, (2) he doesn't read his mail or other materials brought to his attention, and (3) he has a way of relying on others to resolve problems he has brought on himself. I also warned at the time that he was taking the Department to hell in a handbasket. But no one wanted to listen to me then. Two years later Garrison has brought himself to this job threatening impasse, and as the result of his non-, mis- and malfeasance he should be removed from the leadership of this Department. The man is a fraud, a charlatan. I list below those areas where he has been deficient:

  • Garrison talks about his vision for the DPAS's future. But this is always off the top of his head. I, and others, have not yet seen any written document outlining this vision and presenting methods for accomplishing same.
  • Garrison cannot accept criticism or having to deal with people who do not agree with him. Whenever disagreement occurs Garrison bolts from the meeting. This has happened in faculty meetings and at PAFSA meetings. A standout instance was when he precipitously resigned his presidency and walked out of the meeting after the faculty and staff refused to do what he demanded.
  • Garrison intimated to me before he came to Kent that he was computer literate. Later, in meetings with Garrison, J. Rowser, G. Smiley Bell concerning the fledgling E-JAS (the Electronic Journal of Africana Studies), a cooperative effort between DPAS and the KSU Library (Media Services), he demonstrated he was not as computer literate as he had led us to believe.
  • Now that I have mentioned the electronic journal, I should introduce the DPAS publications situation. There are three scholarly publications that have not been pursued by Garrison: E-JAS is one, the African American Affairs Monograph Series is another, KITABU is a third, but Dr. Badejo has assumed that responsibility. My gripe with Garrison is that he has not even tried to keep these publications viable just like he has not attempted to preserve the viability of other programs and components of this Department: Communication Skills and Arts, the Progressive Education Community School, the Henry Dumas Memorial Library, and the Freshman Textbook Loan Program.
  • Garrison has only attended BUS events when he is invited. He has never attended an African Community Theatre production or any event sponsored by the CP-AC. He just wants to take credit for their existence.
  • Garrison has alienated not only numerous African Americans off this campus, but he has also alienated many African American students, faculty and staff on campus. The student-friendly ambience of the Department has been destroyed. What was once a safe haven, a place students could come to just to be around their peers and faculty has been altered irreparably.
  • The Black United Students have been separated from the internal management of DPAS. They created it and they have a right to be respected for their ORIGINAL creativity, for no other student group on this campus or off has created or provided the impetus for institutions that have lasted for 30 years.
    • The Institute for African American Affairs
    • The Center of Pan-African Culture
    • The Department of Pan-African Studies
    • The Learning Development Program
    • UHURU Magazine
    • The Progressive Education Community School
  • Communication with DPAS Faculty and Staff is woefully non-existent and disrespect- ful. Minutes of meetings are not distributed. 
  • His most egregious shortcomings are:
    • Failure to follow the Duties and Responsibilities and work hours outlined in the CB mandated "Faculty Handbook" and the "Collective Bargaining Agreement."
    • Formulating DPAS academic and student affairs policies and programs without communicating these new formulations to the faculty in a timely manner.
    • Through his mismanagement allowing the projected Engelmann Hall Diversity Studies Program a collaborative effort with Residence Services and DPAS to evaporate. Garrison failed to return calls from Ms. Constance Foley, director of Residence Services, and to respond to memos from Lowell Croskey about the breezeway between Ritchie and Engleman Hall. Since he didn't respond, it was razed.
    • Treating DPAS's Black women faculty with callous disrespect. This character trait was confirmed in my conversations with staff members at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
    • Changing the editorial policy of KITABU without communicating with the person who was temporarily responsible for the departmental newsletter's publication and attempting to turn the IAAA newsletter into a refereed journal.
    • Summarily removing the DPAS founder and Emeritus Professor from all teaching duties and barring him and Graduate Assistants from faculty/staff meetings. This is in spite of the President's stating in her recent State of the University address that "Kent welcomes having emeritus faculty continuing to serve the University."
  • Graduate assistants are in fact and deed University staff. They, like part-time faculty, should be included in faculty meetings so that they are either informed or mentored as future full-time faculty members at this university as well as at other institutions. There are policies demanding that this be the case.
  • Faculty continue not to attend faculty meetings or to leave the premises immediately after their classes are over. A Department and discipline cannot be built with a faculty composed of individuals who, like the chair, are never around. 
  • I along with others have noticed that the Chair's door is always shut. No one knows whether he is in or not. He leaves his office and tells no one when he will return. His administrative assistant is not allowed to maintain his calendar. In the 39 years I have taught at the college level, I have never seen a president, the dean, chair, or faculty cocoon him- or herself off from students and faculty by regularly shutting their office doors during the workweek, but leaving their doors wide open on the weekends when no one is around.
  • The Visiting Fulbright Scholar has been dissed and thoroughly insulted; on one occasion, at least, he was summarily forced to change where he meets his classroom WHILE CLASS WAS IN SESSION. Is this the impression of DPAS we want to convey to the United Kingdom or the world?
  • Faculty and Staff hires have been made by the chair without first conferring with the FAC. The DPAS Faculty Handbook and the CB agreement clearly state that the faculty have the primary responsibility for suggesting to the chair candidates who meet established DPAS hiring criteria. Garrison refuses to follow these policies. 
  • Full-time faculty have been assigned to teach classes they are not qualified to teach. When they protest, Garrison simply ignores their protestations.
  • Some part-time faculty have been officially hired and their interview has been conducted AFTER the fact.
  • Garrison always wants to say his intent is to have a Graduate Studies program, but he personally has never sought Graduate Faculty Status for himself. I suggested to him when he first appeared in Kent that he should seek this status via Philosophy. He never did. In fact the two members of the faculty who have sought Graduate Faculty Status he has discouraged from offering courses in Graduate Departments. 
  • Garrison does not know how to delegate meaningful work. His administrative assistant, for instance, doesn't have work to perform on a regular basis beyond her perfunctory responsibilities: assisting students with registration, scheduling classes and assigning classrooms. The chair has never on his own asked what her duties are. He did not discuss her duties with her until she wrote him a memo and presented him with her Civil Service Position Profile.
    • In this same regard the chair has not ever to my knowledge asked his faculty what duties and services they perform for the Department and how he can aid their efforts.
  • Faculty are promoted and given merit increases even though they do not deserve promotion or merit increases. Those who are deserving are overlooked. It appears that only the chair's sycophants warrant his attention.
  • Special academic programming has been noticeably non-existent. Almost three years have passed and still there are no regular activities planned except those sponsored by the Center of Pan-African Culture. Yes, Derrick Bell was invited, but nobody knew about it until the day he spoke. Garrison has also allowed the University to usurp Black History Month programming.
  • Little thought is given to the recruitment of African American students to the University and, in turn, to major or minor in Pan-African Studies via Education and Fine and Professional Arts.
  • Garrison gives the impression that he knows why the Black United Students demanded Black Studies at Kent State. Yet he refuses to acknowledge that the students created something unique at KSU. There are no extant Black Student Unions in the nation that have lasted uninterruptedly for 30 years.
  • Everything Garrison says and does belies his mouthings and his claims to expertise in Africana Studies and Africentric educational programming.
  • Garrison does not understand the purpose of the Center of Pan-African Culture and he has never tried to inform himself. I doubt he has ever read Dr. Milton E. Wilson's Kent State University: Involvement, Two Years Later which clearly even though at times inaccurately presents the history of IAAA (now DPAS), BUS, and the Black Culture Center (now the Center of Pan-African Culture).
  • Garrison attributes to himself what others have done. For instance he and the Provost contend he created or upgraded the DPAS computer lab. The fact is that lounge furniture and computer upgrades were requested on many occasions before the advent of Dr. Garrison. These prior requests came to fruition when Garrison assumed the chair. Garrison and others may claim he is the one responsible for the possibility of CP-AC/DPAS occupying the second floor of Ritchie Hall. The fact is that this was on the University's agenda well before Garrison came to Kent. Talk to Lowell Croskey, Vice President for Facilities and Planning! Dr. Dorsey had drawn up plans for the second floor and presented them to the administration at least two years before Garrison's advent.
I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that Dr. George R. Garrison is the classic personi- fication of what Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan and Haki Madhubuti christened a few years ago as "Black Studies Pimps," for Garrison has pimped this Department. The Department has retro- gressed under his leadership. Indeed, DPAS has lost its internal dynamism, causing students to jump ship. As Sowande warned us sometime ago, kubili, the destructive number TWO has entered this facility; factions have been created and no one or no thing can make it ONE again. Garrison's removal will help, but the faculty must heal itself, if its not already too late.

The major and minor programs are in shambles. Faculty have argued for a complete evaluation of the undergraduate major and minors. Garrison as he did in Omaha believes he can teach each and every class in the curriculum. But when he does this the classes become garbage. I have attached to this document the curriculum of the Black Studies Department at UNO along with the relevant pages from his Vita. A cursory examination will show that Garrison seems to have taught just about everything in the curriculum.

This represents as complete a bill of particulars as I feel is needed at this time. I could list much more. The time is too short for such thoroughness, however. As I said to Garrison when he first arrived on campus, I am not interested in micromanaging his administration. All I tried to do in the beginning was assist with his transition. Garrison and others have tried to argue that I am the force behind his current difficulties. Well, I am not as powerful or as influential as some people would like to think I am. I am not as well as some people think, too. I have just recently undergone three serious and life threatening operations. So one can imagine that I, pardon the expression, don't care if Garrison lives or dies. I'm too busy keeping myself alive to care about him, my detractors, or DPAS. I didn't retake an interest until BUS acted on November 21, 1997. Garrison administratively erred when he wouldn't listen to his faculty and his students. This is a university and people here students as well as faculty are sup- posed to think for themselves.

Even though I was presented with faculty criticisms of Garrison immediately after his arrival, I refused to entertain these complaints. It was not until I was informed by BUS of his refusal to allow them to continue to refer to the CP-AC/DPAS as "the House that BUS built," that I was forced to take public and en camera action against this revisionist declaration and a number of other things I objected to. This was two years ago when BUS sat in the Executive Office portion of the Library. From then on I have kept my eye on him, his sycophants, his yes men and his supporters. I brought my grievances to Garrison in writing. But that did not help. I became especially aggrieved when Garrison took over the class I was voluntarily and tempor- arily teaching. He tried to teach it himself, but the class fell apart because of his lack of knowledge as to what the class was all about and the disrespect he showed the students. A similar situation now obtains in the Research Methods course which was designed for Majors. It is supposedly to inform them of the various research methodologies particular to Black Studies, standard reference works used in research on Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and the US, the Dictionary of National Biography, encyclopaedia. How to use the several internet search engines and the WWW in general for conducting research, etc. Students tell me that the course, with Garrison as the instructor, has disintegrated into nothing more than a term paper class.

For this faculty's own professional sake and the sake of the African American and general student body, Garrison must go!