Thursday, March 20, 2014
Esteemed New African Scholar at Temple University in Philadelphia is attacked and forced out by European American cultural chauvinists managing the university
"Reinstate Anthony Monteiro! Temple University Professor Fired by Campus Administration for Supporting Mumia"
2014-03-20 Letter from "Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal" to Dr. Neil D. Theobald, President, Temple University. Posted at [www.laboractionmumia.org/2014/03/24/reinstate-anthony-monteiro/]:
The Labor Action Committee sent the following letter to Temple University President Neil D. Theobald protesting the firing of Dr. Anthony Monteiro, one of the nation’s leading scholars of W. E. B. Du Bois.
Monteiro was fired for his community activism, socialist views and vocal support for Mumia as one of the founders of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal. An article about the firing on the Black Agenda Report is available here [link].
Dear Dr. Theobald,
The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal demands the reinstatement of Dr. Anthony Monteiro to his position as an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Temple University. We demand an immediate end to retaliation against Dr. Monteiro and an end to the censorship of socialist views on the Temple University campus.
Dr. Monteiro’s academic record is distinguished and he is among the most frequently cited scholars in his department, particularly in the area of Du Bois Studies. He is the organizer of the annual Du Bois Lectures and Du Bois symposia which have a national reputation, and he is one of the nation’s outstanding theorists of “Black Reconstruction in America”. One Temple student, Sabrina Sample, has said that “many students come to Temple in particular to hear Dr. Monteiro lecture”.
Following two major events organized by Dr. Monteiro on political prisoners, one on Mumia Abu-Jamal and the other on Russell Maroon Shoatz, Dr. Monteiro was barred from reserving rooms on campus or hosting events on campus for the community. As a well known community figure who has worked to bring political and community issues onto the Temple campus, these actions by the campus administration are a blatant act of political discrimination targeted at Dr. Monteiro.
Dr. Monteiro has vocally spoken out on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal and maintained his innocence in the face of the racist frame-up led by the Fraternal Order of Police. As labor activists and political organizers working for Mumia’s freedom, we are all too familiar with spokespersons and defenders of Mumia being silenced and attacked.
As you are undoubtedly aware, despite overwhelming evidence of Mumia’s innocence, an objective presentation of his case is made impossible because of the continuing media blackout of news about Mumia, extreme bias in existing news reporting, systematic intimidation and many acts of physical violence which have been directed towards people who defend Mumia and his outspoken criticism of capitalism in America. Most recently, for example, Democratic and Republican Senators joined forces to reject Obama’s nominee to head the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department, Debo P. Adegbile, solely on the basis of his providing legal representation for Mumia as head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The firing of Dr. Monteiro by Dean of Liberal Arts Teresa Soufas is clearly in retaliation for Dr. Monteiro’s advocacy of an alternate Chair for the Department of African American studies. It is also an attack on an outspoken and eloquent scholar of the black radical tradition. As Dr. Monteiro himself says, you cannot teach African American Studies without teaching C. L. R. James, Amiri Baraka, Du Bois and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Without an understanding of Marx and the influence of socialism on the black radical tradition, the field of African American Studies would cease to have any relevance to the real issues faced by the black community today: issues such as the expanding system of mass incarceration, the epidemic of police violence against people of color, and the continuing class warfare being waged against the black community.
Perhaps this is acceptable to your administration, but it is not so to the many working class people who benefit from his activism.
Reinstate Dr. Monteiro!
[signed] Richard Chen,
For the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
"Community rallies in support of Temple professor"
2013-11-13 by Samaria Bailey from "Philly Tribune" newspaper [www.phillytrib.com/northwestmetroarticles/community-rallies-in-support-of-temple-professor.html]:
Anthony Monteiro, Ph.D., a professor of African-American Studies at Temple University, said he was the target of administrative backlash from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, when he was barred from chairing doctoral dissertations, in October. Monteiro said in response, he approached the “Vice Provost for Graduate Education” and was advised that “there is no rule that bars a non-tenured faculty member” from chairing a dissertation. —Tribune Photo by Samaria Bailey
A group of Philadelphia educators, students and social activists are calling for community action against Temple University, in light of what they call an unfair attack on an African-American Studies professor.
At a Nov. 8 Town Hall meeting held at the Church of the Advocate, The Steering Committee to Save Black Studies at Temple University alleged that the dean of the Liberal Arts College — Teresa Soufas, Ph.D. — has targeted Anthony Monteiro, Ph.D., a professor of African-American Studies, in an act of revenge for a community protest he led earlier this year.
“I think it’s a direct response to the battle we waged in the spring to get Dr. Molefi Kete Asante as the chair of the [African-American studies] department over her objections,” Monteiro said. “But it required a public airing of the situation in the department and that went way beyond anything she can personally tolerate.”
He noted that before he and other community activists fought to have Asante assigned to the position, the current Liberal Arts dean — Teresa Soufas — moved to appoint a Caucasian woman with no African-American studies background. Monteiro and some of the other committee’s organizers said that having Asante, who is considered a national scholar in African and African-American studies — Asante has published more than 70 books on said topics — put into the position, was a “partial victory,” but with recent actions by the dean, they say the struggle continues.
In October, graduate students in the African-American studies department — some of whom have been working on doctoral dissertations under the guidance of Monteiro for the past three years — were advised that non-tenured professors, such as Monteiro, could not chair their dissertations and that they would need to seek out other professors.
“It’s extremely disappointing,” said Brandon Stanford, a fourth year African-American Studies student who had Monteiro as an adviser. “My dissertation is on W.E.B. DuBois and he is the preeminent scholar on DuBois. We’ve been building three years on my discussion question. And it’s [disappointing] when you build with someone for so long and then told you have to choose another chair.” Stanford said he also felt the dean’s move was an act of “backlash,” since it happened, “after this whole fight for chairperson of the department.”
According to Temple’s Associate Vice President for Executive Communications, Ray Betzner, however, Soufas’ is not unfairly targeting Monteiro. He advised that her decision to remove Monteiro and other non-tenured and non-tenured track professors from chairing dissertation committees is enforcement of a “practice,” not necessarily a rule or regulation, “for the entire university.”
“If folks are trying to say Dean Soufas is doing this against a single individual, there is no reason to find that to be true,” said Betzner. “In 2005, representatives from the graduate studies programs across the university voted to make it an administrative practice of the entire university to have either tenured track or tenured professors chair the dissertation committee.”
Despite the reasons for the dean’s decision, students said they were still concerned about the interruption of their dissertation work and how such decisions affect their standing at the university.
“This is one of the most important things I’ll [ever] have to do. [But] my agency has been stricken, in terms of having the academic freedom of choosing who I want to chair my dissertation,” said Stanford. “Who else am I going to work with? No one else specializes in DuBois.”
"Reinstate Anthony Monteiro – Shun and Denounce the Betrayer, Molefi Asante"
2014-02-11 "Black Agenda Radio" commentary by executive editor Glen Ford [http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/reinstate-anthony-monteiro-–-shun-and-denounce-betrayer-molefi-asante]:
“Asante is a back-stabber who should never again be allowed into a position of Black trust.” Only months after community and student activists saved Temple University’s African American Studies department and Dr. Molefi Asante’s job, chairman Asante has collaborated in the firing of his colleague, Dr. Anthony Monteiro. “Dr. Asante may have earned the gratitude of his masters at Temple University, but his tenure as a person of respect in Black America, is over.” He is beneath contempt.
Temple University needs to be taught a lesson, and so does Dr. Molefi Asante, the professor who chairs the university’s African American Studies department. Both Temple University and Dr. Asante must be made accountable for their crimes of arrogance and disrespect to Black Philadelphia and to African Americans at large.
Temple University, an elite white-run institution, and Molefi Assante, a man who claims to be a disciple of Afrocentricity, have conspired to fire the brilliant public intellectual and activist Dr. Anthony Monteiro, who has been an associate professor in African American Studies for the past ten years. We know why Temple University might resent Dr. Monteiro, who has worked tirelessly to bring the surrounding Black community onto the campus, and to make the university more accountable to its Black neighbors. It is to be expected that an elite white institution might be uncomfortable with a scholar like Dr. Monteiro, who organized on-campus events in defense of Mumia Abu Jamal and other political prisoners. And, it should come as no surprise that Temple’s white overseers might not appreciate Dr. Monteiro’s deep knowledge of, and commitment to, the Black liberation struggle – that he lives what he teaches. In short, there is no mystery to Temple University’s refusal to renew Dr. Monteiro’s contract. It’s called racism in higher education, 101. And we know how to deal with it.
However, Dr. Molefi Asante’s betrayal is much more hurtful. He has put his considerable prestige at the service of racists, while stabbing Dr. Monteiro in the back and spitting in the face of every Black Philadelphian who has had the misfortune to trust Asante. Last year, student and community protests forced the university to back off a plan to take away the African American Studies department’s autonomy, and to name a white woman with no expertise in the subject as chairperson. At least twice, Dr. Asante was threatened with firing. Instead, the community and student forces that Dr. Monteiro had helped summon, won the day. With Dr. Monteiro’s support, Dr. Asante was named department chairman.
“Asante shuffled, like a minstrel in a dashiki.”
Just a few months later, the white female dean of liberal arts refused to renew Anthony Monteiro’s contract, effectively firing him. What was Dr. Asante’s response? Asante confirmed that the dean had consulted him about the firing, and that his position was that Dr. Monteiro “has a year to year contract and it’s up to the dean.” Then Asante shuffled, like a minstrel in a dashiki. He said he couldn’t “worry about… if somebody signs a contract and then gets upset when someone says your year is up.”
Dr. Asante may have earned the gratitude of his masters at Temple University, but his tenure as a person of respect in Black America, is over. Asante is a back-stabber who should never again be allowed into a position of Black trust, a grasping opportunist who apparently believes that “Afrocentricity” means everything revolves around him. The university’s dean would not have fired Dr. Monteiro if she hadn’t been confident that Uncle Asante had her back – that he would provide Black cover for the racist termination of his colleague. Therefore, two things must happen in this fight. One, Dr. Monteiro must be reinstated. Two, Molefi Asante must be shunned and expelled from the company of honest people for his treachery.