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On March 20, nearly two hundred current and former students were added to a private Facebook group to discuss Emmanuel’s recent decision to deny tenure to Dr. Chris Craig, Assistant Professor of English, for the second year in a row. Members of the group were quick to express their outrage at the school’s impending loss, but discussion soon grew to encompass not just Craig, but Professor Christina Kulich-Vamvakas, Lecturer in Political Science, whose contract for the next semester has not been renewed. This outcry has quickly developed into a student movement for increased transparency and student input regarding the tenure and contract-renewal process.
Almost simultaneously to the creation of the Facebook group, a petition drafted by Dakota Roundtree-Swain ’16 began circulating campus, particularly addressing Craig’s denial, gathering nearly 300 student signatures. Many students and alumni have also reported sending e-mails to and calling both William Leonard, Dean of Arts and Sciences and Associate Professor of History, as well as President Sister Janet Eisner’s office with little substantive response.
“Emmanuel College has been pushing out their best professors for too long,” said Roundtree-Swain. “Professor Craig has been one of the most influential people in my pursuit of knowledge and to see him go would be a travesty. However, this isn’t just about Craig anymore, but about the lack of transparency there is on this campus when it comes to tenure. We need to know who is up for it and we need to have a say. Because it’s our education we’re talking about and I think the administration forgets that.”
The desire for student involvement in these processes has grown into a group of students who call themselves S.A.I.N.T.s -Students Acting for Institutional Transition- levying for more transparency in the tenure and contract-renewal process. This group, spearheaded by Kyéra Sterling ’15, has begun meeting around campus to draft an official ethos. Currently, the group seeks to be the parent organization encompassing the Kulich and Craig cases, aiming to address the greater issue of transparency between administration, faculty, and students.
“S.A.I.N.T. really came about through the realization that there is a greater trend behind the tenure denial of Chris Craig and the decision to not renew the contract of Christina Kulich,” Sterling said. “Students are watching what may be the end of the their time with two professors that they have come to consider vital in their education. In trying to express their dissatisfaction with this they were blocked by numerous channels, even their own Student Government Association. It has been made evident by these events that there is an overwhelming lack of say that Emmanuel students have in the proceedings that determine their own education, and by extension, their future. The S.A.I.N.T. movement attempts to empower students to once again believe that they indeed have a voice.”
The group, which hasn’t officially gone public yet, intends to draft a document to then be shared with the deans and the student body as a whole.
**This is a developing story. Please continue checking The Hub for more updates.
Monica Busch is the Executive Managing Editor of The Hub and may be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @somethingmonica.