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Faculty, Students Cry Foul Over Harvard’s Tenure Denial to García Peña

Harvard University’s decision of denying tenure to Romance Languages and Literaturea associate professor Lorgia García Peña has caused outrage among hundreds of scholars nationwide.

Peña was denied tenure by the university in the last week of the number. Since then, students and faculty members across the country have been rallying behind her and pushing the university to reconsider its decision.

On Monday, nearly 200 faculty members from different universities nationwide penned a joint letter mentioning the excellent track record and accomplishments of Peña. It also applauded her role in addressing the intersections between blackness, migration, and immigration status in the United States and globally.

“We express solidarity with the disappointment about Dr. García Peña’s tenure denial expressed through letters and statements, direct action, and on news and social media. We add our voices to the thousands of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, Harvard alumni, activists, and others opposed to the denial of tenure to Dr. García Peña because her research and publication record, institutional and professional service, and teaching are exemplary,” the letter reads.

 

Another letter endorsed by 200 students and 30 student groups and addressed to University Provost Lawrence S. Bacow, Provost Alan M. Garber, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay calls on the administration to reverse the decision.

The letter further called on increasing, “transparency in the tenure review process for all faculty, providing more lines of accountability and greater consideration of the ways in which faculty have contributed to supporting underrepresented students on campus.”

Peña is also well known for her book, The Borders of Dominicanidad, which bridges Gloria Anzaldúa’s theories of the border with the particular configuration of the border as it developed over the 19th and 20th centuries in the island that is today Haiti and the Dominican Republic and the symbolic border established across imperial lines between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.

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