Faculty peers: KSU department
head should resign
Faculty group echoes students'
By Justin Boyd
Record–Courier staff writer
The chairman of
Kent State University's Department of Pan African Studies heard a second
call for his resignation Thursday at a contentious emergency meeting of
black faculty and staff.
consideration of the issues involved, we believe that Dr. (George) Garrison
can no longer provide effective leadership for the Department of Pan-African
Studies," said Gladys Bell, president of KSU's Pan-African Faculty and
Staff Association, reading a reso- lution drafted by PAFSA's executive
board. Garrison has been chairman of Pan-African Studies since 1994.
Bell read the
statement to the group of about 30 people at KSU's Oscar Ritchie Hall after
nearly two hours of intense discussion about Garrison's record as chairman.
recommended Garrison immediately step down as chairman and requested the
KSU administration appoint an interim chair and begin an immediate search
for a permanent replacement for Garrison.
attended the meeting, defended his record and responded to allega- tions
he has defied the historical mission of Pan-African Studies and serves
interests of some in the KSU administration who want to alter the department.
"I am nobody's
puppet," he said. "I stand on my record. I'm proud of my record. I know
more about the struggle (of black people) than most of the people in this
is the latest development in recent public controversy facing Garrison.
On Nov. 21, Black
United Students, KSU's largest black student organization, delivered a
letter to Garrison demanding his resignation as chairman. BUS has charged
that Garrison opposes the efforts of black students on campus, ignores
the historical mission of Pan-African Studies and is unable to serve as
a responsible faculty member.
At the meeting;
Garrison denied BUS's allegations and said information used as evidence
against him was inaccurate. BUS representatives and audience members read
quotes from memos Garrison had sent to Joseph Danks, dean of the College
of Arts and Sciences; Nancy Scott, vice president of enrollment and student
affairs, and others.
are taken out of context," he said. "That is all I have to say about that."
"We stand by
our resolution," said BUS president Stacey MacMillan. "Anybody who wants
to see our documents can come down to the BUS office."
Garrison is also
the subject of an "extraordinary review" requested by four members of the
Pan-African Studies faculty. Periodic administrative reviews of department
chairs are standard at KSU, but an extra- ordinary review — one that occurs
out of the normal four-year cycle — must be requested by one-third of the
tenured faculty of a department according to the 1995 Collective Bargaining
Agreement between KSU and the American Association of University Professors,
Kent chapter. Bell said the request for Garrison's resignation was not
a personal attack.
"I'm only asking
for his resignation to save our unity, our community," she said. "It's
nothing against Garrison. In order for healing to take place on this campus,
he has to step down."
The PAFSA executive
board, which represents about 225 black faculty and staff members, made
their decision based on their own investigation into Garrison's conduct.
"There is documentation
to support the students' allegations," she said. "There are documents to
support the faculty's allega- tions."
will be considered by the committee conducting the review into Garrison's
performance as chairman, Danks said.
"One of the categories
that the committee will consult with is black faculty and staff," he said.
administration response is unlikely, he said.
was present at the meeting, he was unavailable for further comment after
I believe that
the review process should go forward," Danks said. "And if that leads to
a recommendation that Dr. Garrison not continue and I, looking at all the
facts, decide to accept that recommendation then we will deal with the
issue of Garrison's removal at that point."