The clash between García Peña’s supporters and the Ivy League school began on Nov. 27, when the university announced its decision not to grant her tenure. More than 4,600 outraged students and scholars last week signed a 2,000-word open letter demanding that the school reverse its decision and create a formalized ethnic studies program.
“Harvard’s denial of Dr. Garcia Peña’s tenure is a testament to the ways that Black and Latinx studies continue to be ignored as sites of vital knowledge production in the academy,” said hooks—the acclaimed author, professor, feminist, and social activist—in a statement on Monday.
“Dr. Garcia Peña’s scholarship and service is the cornerstone to continue building ethnic studies as a leading program at Harvard and her absence would be a detriment to the students and faculty that depend on her keen insight,” added hooks, who is currently serving as a distinguished professor in residence at Berea College.
Last Thursday, hundreds of Harvard affiliates protested the tenure denial on the steps of Widener Library, and days earlier, about 50 students staged a sit-in at University Hall, reported The Harvard Crimson. During the sit-in, students reportedly occupied the lobby of University Hall for 48 minutes to symbolize the 48 years that students have been lobbying for a formalized ethnic studies program at the elite school. Students also interrupted a faculty meeting on behalf of García Peña.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction