Letters – January 21, 2010 Issue

Righting Wrong Impressions

I believe it is appropriate that I correct two impressions in the article (see “Soul Survivor,” Dec. 10 edition) on the doctoral program that I created at Temple University in 1987. First, I did not misappropriate anyone’s work. Secondly, my opposition to Heather Thompson was not personal.

If I had “misappropriated” any person’s work, I would have been and should have been fired from Temple University. Why would Diverse deliberately include such a statement in this report about the department? Who would have created this fanciful story about my resigning the chair after 12 years?

As to the recent hire in the department, Dr. Ama Mazama and I did not oppose Heather Thompson as Heather Thompson; we opposed the idea that a Department of African American Studies could not hire persons who had doctorates in African- American studies from Massachusetts, Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, or Michigan State or other Ph.D. programs. Furthermore, we opposed Dean Teresa Soufas’ imposition of Dr. Thompson’s tenure without input from the majority of the tenured faculty.

My letters to the dean and provost on this situation are public knowledge. I resented the fact that the previous year Dean Soufas had called a Black female candidate with equally strong credentials unqualified and denied her an appointment although she had been unanimously approved by a search committee.

— Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, professor, Department of African American Studies, Temple University