To the Board of Trustees of CIIS and President Joseph Subbiondo:
We, undersigned faculty and allies, were shocked to learn about the suspension and ongoing termination proceedings against Professors Angana Chatterji and Richard Shapiro of the Social and Cultural Anthropology Department at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).
In a time of increasing corporatization and mediocrity of the Academy, which degrade and devalue spaces for progressive thought and politics, we are deeply disturbed to hear about the targeting of Professors Chatterji and Shapiro. Their academic and advocacy work have focused on justice and restitution in conflict areas, anti-oppression work, and scholarship critical of systemic forms of oppression. This work should especially merit support from an institution which claims as one of its primary ideals “to further the effectiveness of emancipatory movements such as feminism, social and political liberation, cultural self-expression, and ecological activism”.
We are appalled to hear about the many procedural irregularities in the investigation against Professors Chatterji and Shapiro, as well as the student testimonies of mistreatment throughout these proceedings by members of the CIIS administration. We understand that the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has examined all of the evidence presented to faculty by the administration and urged their reinstatement. We also understand that a majority of their students insist that their education continue with Chatterji and Shapiro, and have secured legal counsel to demand their professor’s reinstatement.
We see this targeting of Professors Chatterji and Shapiro, and their students, as part of a trend to consolidate autocratic administrative powers in higher education, which undermines academic freedom and faculty and students rights. We understand that both Professors Chatterji and Shapiro have been a vocally political force within the Institute and have consistently advocated for collective and participatory governance, student rights, and faculty empowerment at CIIS. The Anthropology Department, designed to privilege social justice and advocacy, enables academic and ADVOCACY work in solidarity with marginalized communities.
We urge that CIIS extend its support for education offered by Angana Chatterji and Richard Shapiro.
We urgently request:
1. The IMMEDIATE reinstatement of Professors Chatterji and Shapiro to their full faculty status, in keeping with the AAUP’s August 11th letter to CIIS;
2. The IMMEDIATE formation of a faculty committee, with the guidance of the AAUP, to investigate the conduct of the relevant Institute Administrators in this matter, with the power to terminate any
Administrator for misconduct of a grave nature;
3. An expeditious procedure addressing Anthropology students’ grievances about the degradation of their education and their experiences of mistreatment by members of the Administration;
4. That any credible and outstanding grievances against Chatterji and Shapiro be dealt with through established protocols.
Please be informed that we will continue to watch this matter very closely.
(To Sign CLICK HERE)