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Saturday, February 8, 2014
Temple U. Professor Dr. Tony Montiero Cries Foul at White Supremacy Administration Behavior
If you on your job, you won't have a job!--60s slogan
A Temple University African-American Studies professor is alleging that an administrative decision made in early January to not renew his contract for the 2014-15 academic year was an act of retaliation for a protest he led in the spring of 2013.
Anthony Monteiro, Ph.D., an associate Professor and W.E.B. Dubois scholar, said he received a letter in early January from Temple’s Dean of College of Liberal Arts, Teresa Soufas, Ph.D., stating that effective June 2014, his professorship would be ending.
Anthony Monteiro, Ph.D, speaks at a Nov. 8 community Town Hall meeting that was held to address his removal from chairing doctoral dissertation committees. — Photo by Samaria Bailey
“This is a retaliatory act and firing for the [protest] we held to get Dr. Molefi Kete Asante as the chair of the [African-American Studies] department over her objections,” Monteiro said. “It’s nothing except her anger.”
The protest that Monteiro refers to is one he helped lead — with the participation of students and the community — against Soufas’ selection for chair of the African-American Studies department. Monteiro and other organizers lobbied to have Molefi Kete Asante, Ph.D., appointed to the position, and won. That was in the spring of 2013.
Later that year, in November, Soufas removed Monteiro from chairing doctoral dissertation committees. Monteiro said that was an act of retaliation as well because there were no bylaws that prohibited non-tenure and non-tenure track professors from chairing dissertation committees.
In that situation, Temple’s Associate Vice President for Executive Communications, Ray Betzner, said Soufas’ removal of Monteiro and other non-tenured and non-tenured track professors from chairing dissertation committees was not necessarily a rule or law, but enforcement of a university “administrative practice.”
When he received the January letter that said his contract would not be renewed, Monteiro said he sought a reason why. He said Soufas did not tell him why she decided to terminate the contract. Instead, she referred him to the chair of the African-American Studies department, Dr. Asante.
In response to the claims of retaliation, Soufas stated:
“All decisions about the renewal of contracts of non-tenure-track faculty members are made jointly by department chairs and the dean’s office. Often when departments revise their curricula, it is necessary to change faculty resources in the non-tenure-track ranks to match the new course directions. Dr. Asante, the chairman of African-American Studies, is making some exciting curriculum changes in the department and wanted different fields of study to be covered by instructors.”
When contacted by the Tribune, Asante explained that Soufas “consulted” with him, informing him of her decision; and that was the limit of his involvement.
“The dean writes the letter when she wants to write a letter about anybody in the department,” Asante said. “Did she consult with me to tell me what she was going to do? Yes, she did. I didn’t provide any guidance at all. My position is he has a year to year contract and it’s up to the dean.”
Asante noted that a new addition to the curricula he has been considering for the African-American Studies department is “contemporary African-American culture,” but that he could not make a connection between Monteiro’s contract termination and such.
“I can’t make that connection,” Asante said, continuing that he was “not worried about” Monteiro’s contract not being renewed because it is year to year and that “there are scores of African-American people who could help us build this program. The thing you can’t worry about … if somebody signs a [year-to-year] contract and then get upset when someone says your year is up,” Asante said.
Others in the Temple community said there would be a void if Monteiro did not return for the next school semester.
“He is definitely somebody we need,” said Melanie McCoy, a senior African-American Studies major. “He has a very strong relationship with the community and students have genuine love for him. We all need different points of view and his is one we might lose. He is a piece to the puzzle.”