Faculty peers: KSU department head should resign 

Faculty group echoes students' request 

By Justin Boyd 
Record–Courier staff writer 

December 12, 1997 

     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. 
     "After careful 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. 
     The resolution 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. 
     Garrison, who 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 room." 
     Thursday's action 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. 
     "Those quotes 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." 
     PAFSA's statement 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. 
     An immediate administration response is unlikely, he said. 
     While Garrison was present at the meeting, he was unavailable for further comment after PAFSA's announcement. 
     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."