Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tenure For Andrea Smith

If you listened to the first podcast, Madel and I were talking about Cherokee scholar Andrea Smith and how angry we were when Critical Gender Studies refused to hire her at UCSD. She is an amazing scholar and feminist and she was just denied tenure at University of Michigan. Here is a recent email that came to me:

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Native Feminism Without Apology!

Statement of University of Michigan Students and Faculty in Support of Andrea Smith's Tenure Case

On February 22nd, 2008, University of Michigan's College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA) issued a negative tenure recommendation for Assistant Professor Andrea Lee Smith. Jointly appointed in the Program in American Culture and the Department of Women's Studies, Dr. Smith's body of scholarship exemplifies scholarly excellence with widely circulated articles in peer-reviewed journals and numerous books in both university and independent presses including Native Americans and the Christian Right published this year by Duke University Press. Dr. Smith is one of the greatest indigenous feminist intellectuals of our time. A nominee for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Smith has an outstanding academic and community record of service that is internationally and nationally recognized. She is a dedicated professor and mentor and she is an integral member of the University of Michigan (UM) intellectual community. Her reputation and pedagogical practices draw undergraduate
and graduate students from all over campus and the nation.

Dr. Smith received the news about her tenure case while participating in the United States' hearings before the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Ironically, during those very same hearings, the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that restricted affirmative action policies at UM specifically were cited as violations of international law. At the same time, there is an undeniable link between the Department of Women's Studies and LSA's current tenure recommendations and the long history of institutional restrictions against faculty of color. In 2008, students of color are coming together to protest the way UM's administration has fostered an environment wherein faculty of color are few and far between, Ethnic Studies course offerings have little financial and institutional support, and student services for students of color are decreasing each year.

To Support Professor Andrea Smith: The Provost must hear our responses! Write letters in support of Andrea Smith's tenure case. Address email letters to ALL of the following:

Teresa Sullivan, Provost and Executive VP for Academic Affairs, LSA,
Lester Monts, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, LSA,
Mary Sue Coleman, President,
Voice your ideas on the web forum at

To Support Women of Color at Michigan and the Crisis of Women's Studies and Ethnic Studies: Attend the student organized March 15th Conference at UM!!!!
Campus Lockdown: Women of Color Negotiating the Academic Industrial Complex is free and open to the public. Speakers include renowned activists and scholars
Piya Chatterjee
Angela Davis
Rosa Linda Fregoso
Ruthie Gilmore
Fred Moten
Clarissa Rojas and
Haunani-Kay Trask.

For more information and to register, visit:


Educated . United . Diverse . Supportive . Active . Powerful
The Students of Color Of Rackham

In my opinion, Andrea Smith is an exciting creative scholar who gives so much to students, not even necessarily her own. As an undergraduate I was a member of the Native American Student Union when one of our co-directors raped a member. She dropped out, he didn't and his friends joked about it in our student lounge. Some of us got together to address our safety and our expectations, also to alert the rapists home community about his actions. As a result when Andrea Smith came to our campus to give a talk she asked to have lunch with us and advised and encouraged us. She deserved better than this, and I'm glad that the students at University of Michigan are organizing to support her.


At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 2:06 PM, Blogger cy said...

Andrea Smith is an amazing, prolific, wonderful freedom fighter. I sent in my support to her tenure case when this went down but ultimately it is U Michigan's loss.


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