Letters

Article gave flawed picture

We were disappointed with the biases and inaccuracies in the April 18 article about Northwestern’s Asian American Studies program.

The program was portrayed as unstable and lacking in firm vision, competent leadership and administration. The author made this case by relying on selective quotes from students. We would like to further inform students and the Northwestern community about the program and correct misperceptions by The Daily.

The article quoted a student as saying, “The program has been running off student efforts and has been plagued by instability.” The truth is that the program has a director, associate director, assistant director and a program coordinator. This group makes the major academic and administrative decisions for the program during its weekly meetings. Additionally, this group also meets with the core faculty regularly to implement the plans and vision of the program.

It is a myth that the program treads along without leadership and suffers from high turnover. The article left the impression that Prof. Aldon Morris’ pending departure as director reflects instability. This is not true, for he is completing a three-year term as director — a typical term for NU program directors. Prof. Ji-Yeon Yuh, who served this year as the program’s associate director, will succeed Morris as director. Recently, other institutions tried to recruit Yuh but she chose to stay at NU because of the broad support from the university for Asian American Studies.

The Daily also incorrectly claims that high faculty turnover in Asian American Studies is a source of instability. Prof. Dorothy Wang is the first faculty member to leave. It is not unusual for faculty members at research universities to take positions elsewhere and we will conduct a search for a replacement to Wang. Nonetheless, our program has been fortunate not to suffer from high faculty turnover.

The article also implied that Asian American students are obligated to minor in Asian American Studies. Yet the program is not just for Asian American students. It is for NU students of all backgrounds who wish to learn about the United States. Courses in Asian American Studies have attracted students of all backgrounds and the program welcomes greater participation.

The program has grown stronger than it has ever been. Although The Daily was given these facts, it made the editorial decision to portray the program as weak and struggling to find its way. We will continue to build on our strong foundation, for no program can rest on its laurels. We suggest that The Daily lift its own quality by engaging in accurate and balanced journalism.

— Aldon Morris,

director of Asian American Studies

— Ji-Yeon Yuh,

associate director of Asian American Studies

Academic bill an insult

In response to Shil Patel’s letter April 5 and Ben Snyder’s column April 19, I think it insults our intelligence and is a “deliberate mischaracterization” to suggest that Bill of Academic Rights is not partisan. The agenda behind the bill is obvious to anyone who does the slightest research into what the bill’s supporters hope to accomplish.

Every student should want to stop this potentially dangerous product of right-wing extremist David Horowitz from getting further at Northwestern than it already has. This bill is so objectionable and its title is a misnomer because its true meaning and intended effect directly contradict the values the bill suggests to support. It really would be more appropriate to call it “The Opposite Bill” because in reality it would stifle and mire the educational process in restrictions, discouraging diversity. It would not guarantee any rights or freedoms.

It’s also insulting to the intelligence of all students in that it implies that they need a bill to mandate neutrality and cannot question what they hear for themselves. One can see from the suggestions on the Students for Academic Freedom Web site that the real intent is to use the bill to promote complaints and even reprisal and litigation against professors from students who want to make a public issue out of disagreement rather than seek redress through already available channels in their university, should their rights really have been violated.

Although at this stage the bill is purely symbolic, it sets a bad precedent if it is allowed to continue further, as it has at other universities.

— Matthew Hoory,

McCormick junior