Open letter to President Frohnmayer

We are deeply troubled by the document titled "Five Year Diversity Plan Draft". We find the text frightening and offensive. This plan is an attempt to strictly control essentially all aspects of university life. If implemented, even partially, this program will do immeasurable damage to our university.

We are especially disturbed by (emphasis in the following added):

1). The Orwellian insertion of the undefined political notion "cultural competency" into every aspect of administration, teaching, and performance evaluation throughout the University. As just a few examples:

a). evaluation criteria for 3rd year reviews, tenure, post-tenure reviews, promotion, and raises will be changed to assess demonstrable commitment to "cultural competency";

b). all instructional faculty will be expected to participate in ongoing "cultural competency" professional development; "diversity training will be incorporated in all departmental and administrative unit training with benchmarks for evaluation"; emphasis on "cultural competency" in all faculty orientation programs;

c). annual assessment of all officers of administration and classified staff on matters of "cultural competency";

d). course requirements for all students will be expanded to include "cultural competency".

2). The dramatic interference into the faculty search and recruitment which, apart from violating academic freedom, will have a devastating effect on the quality of research and teaching at the university.

a). The requirement for all academic units to develop 3-5 year hiring plans which will be evaluated by the Equity and Diversity Committee. All requests for tenure track searches are to include an explanation of how the new hire meets equity or diversity goals.

b). Implementation of two "cluster hires" every year, each including 3-5 new faculty members. Proposed hiring themes include critical race studies, critical gender studies, and queer studies.

3). The spending of vast additional sums of money on diversity-related bureaucracy, requirement that at a minimum the university has a vice provost for equity and diversity as well as four assistant vice-provosts, creation of a "Diversity Institute", seven new funded centers and directors, more special math and English classes reserved for minority students, the creation of new departments of Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies, a minor in Queer Studies, ... . The list goes on and on.

The document has been prepared in the atmosphere of secrecy---some people cited in the Diversity Advisory Council on page 1 had no idea about the contents of this document and have already repudiated it.

There are many other disturbing points. But it is already clear from the above that many faculty will see the document as an attempt to create an atmosphere of fear, hostility, and political intimidation throughout every aspect of the University. Already, many of the best faculty are talking about leaving. Many others will boycott these draconian measures or will go for help to the legislature and the press. At a time when salaries of state employees have been frozen because of budget problems and morale on campus is already low, it is outrageous that the university is spending millions on projects like this.

In order to avoid further strife we ask that the administration:

1). Withdraw the "Five Year Diversity Plan".

2). Make all the information related to the diversity programs open and available to faculty members and the press. In particular, we want to know the budgets of all diversity programs on campus, including the moneys used for recruitment, scholarships, salaries, funded committees, new diversity administrators and sources of those moneys. This information is essential for an informed faculty discussion of future actions.

Signed by (in alphabetical order):

  1. Boris Botvinnik
  2. James E. Brau
  3. Charles W. Curtis
  4. N. G. Deshpande
  5. John Donovan
  6. Tom Givon
  7. Stephen Hsu
  8. Rudolph C. Hwa
  9. Jim Isenberg
  10. Michael Kellman
  11. Alexander Kleshchev
  12. Richard M. Koch
  13. Mikhail Myagkov
  14. Jens U. Noeckel
  15. John M. Orbell
  16. Victor Ostrik
  17. N. Christopher Phillips
  18. Alexander Polishchuk
  19. Qi-Man Shao
  20. Brad Shelton
  21. Terry Takahashi
  22. Arkady Vaintrob
  23. Hao Wang
  24. Sergey Yuzvinsky
  25. Robert L. Zimmerman

If you would like your name added to the list, please email N. Christopher Phillips.