GWUFA Releases Petition for LeBlanc’s Resignation

April 1: GWUFA releases Petition

Today the GWU Faculty Association releases the petition we circulated calling on Thomas LeBlanc to resign as university president. We release this petition to proclaim our commitment to our values as a university, a commitment that is, if anything, even more urgent in this time of turmoil. “Crisis management” is no substitute for effective governance. The crisis presented by the global spread of coronavirus, and the subsequent transition toward online educational continuity, should not detract attention from the institutional crisis that President LeBlanc has been creating since his arrival on campus in 2017.

If you haven’t signed the petition you can still add your signature here.

We release this petition today to make clear to the GW community that expressions of racism from the leadership of the university are intolerable, and that we regard President LeBlanc’s remarks as part of a broader pattern of disregard for democracy and diversity.

We release the petition today to reaffirm our commitment to shared governance and assert our opposition to President LeBlanc’s 20/30 plan and the dubious means he has employed in his efforts to implement it over significant faculty and student concern and opposition. We reaffirm our opposition to the contract President LeBlanc has made with the Disney Institute and the untold millions in sorely needed university funds he has poured into it.

As we, the university community, determine how we will live, in both the short and long terms, with the new conditions presented by the pandemic, we think it more important than ever to stand by our values of shared governance, diversity, and inclusion. We face immediate questions about the continuation of online instruction beyond this semester, about the fair distribution of the financial burdens of the pandemic, which only compound the burdens placed on the university by the 20/30, Disney, and other initiatives imposed on GW by President LeBlanc.

The petition has been signed by 122 faculty members. After the GW Hatchet endorsed the petition, an additional 174 individuals, mostly students but also alumni and staff members, signed the petition.

Precisely now, precisely in this time of crisis, we must uphold our commitment to diversity, inclusion, democracy, and shared governance, as these values define the community of students, staff, and faculty at GW. In concert with these values, we call on President LeBlanc to resign.

If you haven’t signed the petition you can still add your signature here.

In solidarity with students, faculty, and staff,

The GWU Faculty Association
https://gwufa.org/

Update: March 3, 2020

Less than a week ago, the GWU Faculty Association began circulating a petition calling on President LeBlanc to resign.  It was, and remains, open to all faculty members, whether GWUFA members or not, whether full- or part-time. The response has been overwhelming, and we now have 110 signatures, listed below. We hope additional faculty will join their colleagues, who represent every rank of faculty, and a wide range of fields, from geography to microbiology, and from computer science to history.  It’s not too late to sign!

Click here to sign!

We have also heard from many students and staff who would like to sign. Although we don’t have the capability to send this petition beyond the GWUFA listserv, we would love to open it up to students and staff so that the petition becomes a University-wide call.  

With our 110 faculty signatures listed to provide courage and momentum, GWUFA asks every student and staff member who would like to sign to please do so and to spread the petition through your GW networks, far and wide. 

We will protect the anonymity of students and staff members as we do that of faculty without tenure. We don’t know what the reach of the petition will be among students and staff, so we won’t include the number of either if their numbers are not sufficiently large

We stand as a diverse and democratic community against President LeBlanc and his administration.

In solidarity with students, faculty, and staff,

The GWU Faculty Association

https://gwufa.org/

We, the undersigned George Washington University faculty, call on Thomas LeBlanc to resign from his position as president of our university. Our demand gains its urgency from the racist remarks made by President LeBlanc and his insufficient apology (here and here).

We understand LeBlanc’s comment to be just the latest evidence of his disregard for both diversity and democracy at GW. Just a few of his most egregious earlier acts include:

  1. proposing a strategic plan that will have a negative effect on the racial, ethnic, and economic diversity of GW’s student body.  Despite repeated faculty protests LeBlanc has shown no recognition of this concern;
  2. setting the university on a course that drastically reduces income without a plan to make up the shortfall, thus creating a condition of financial insecurity and jeopardizing academic programs, faculty, students, and staff
  3. ignoring a formal request for information about this plan by the Faculty Assembly;
  4. paying consultants from the Disney Corporation unknown amounts of University funds to assess and then overhaul GW’s “culture” through a top-down training initiative, the latest of which includes bringing senior administrators to an expensive Disney resort in Florida to attend a Disney-led training program that concludes with each participant creating “a written commitment and action plan to present to President Tom LeBlanc” and the Disney-designed culture he is seeking to impose on GW. GW is a university, not a corporate cult!

A president like this–who engages in activities like these, including making blatantly racist remarks–is made possible by a lack of shared governance between the Board of Trustees, faculty, students, and staff. Indeed, Thomas LeBlanc was selected by a committee that completely excluded faculty of color despite the repeated objections of GW community members.

Click here to sign!

Numerous individuals and groups on campus have repudiated President LeBlanc’s racist remarks. These include the GWU Faculty Association, the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, the Progressive Student Union, and the YDSA GW. Now it is time to act. We believe it is essential to show students, staff, and faculty of color that the entire GW community stands with them in their right to safety and respect from the highest levels on this campus.

We want to see GW become a university that reflects the diversity of the city, the country, and the world in which it is located.  We want to see it enhance the existing strengths of its students, staff, and faculty rather than pursuing wild pipe dreams seemingly better designed to pad an administrative c.v. than to serve the university. The undemocratic and exclusionary selection of Thomas LeBlanc as president has  moved us in the opposite direction: a chaotic and top-down institution marked by haphazard administrative decrees, racism, and a demoralized community. We the undersigned declare: enough is enough.  It is time to show Thomas LeBlanc the door and to put GW on a course worthy of its considerable potential.

  1. Lowell Abrams, Associate Professor, University Writing Program and Mathematics
  2. Attiya Ahmad, Associate Professor, Anthropology
  3. Tyler Anbinder, Professor, History
  4. Elisabeth Anker, Associate Professor, American Studies
  5. Robert P. Baker, Associate Professor , Music
  6. Lisa Benton-Short, Chair and  Professor, Geography
  7. Charlene Bangs Bickford, Retired Project Director and P.I., 1st Fed. Congress Proj., History
  8. Douglas Boyce, Associate Professor, Corcoran, Music
  9. Brenda Bradley, Associate Professor, Anthropology
  10. Beda Brichacek, Research Assistant Professor, Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine
  11. Christopher Britt Arredondo, Professor, RGSLL
  12. Michael Bukrinsky, Professor, Microbiology Immunology and Tropical Medicine
  13. William Earl Burns, Professional Lecturer, History
  14. Dana Burgess, Professor, Corcoran School Theatre & Dance
  15. Jennifer Chang, Associate Professor, English
  16. Erin D. Chapman, Associate Professor, History
  17. Eric H. Cline, Professor, CNELC and Anthropology
  18. Kavita Daiya, Director, WGSS Program, English
  19. Daniel DeWispelare, Associate Professor , English Department
  20. Arie Dubnov, Associate Professor & Max Ticktin Chair of Israel Studies, History
  21. Michèle Friend, Associate Professor, Philosophy
  22. Roy Richard Grinker, Professor, Anthropology
  23. Thomas A. Guglielmo, Associate Professor, American Studies
  24. John M. Hawdon, Associate Professor, Microbiology Immunology and Tropical Medicine
  25. Jonathan Hsy, Associate Professor, English
  26. Hiromi Ishizawa, Associate Professor, Sociology
  27. Jennifer James, Associate Professor, English
  28. Jenna Weissman Joselit, Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies, History/Program in Judaic Studies
  29. Hugo Junghenn, Professor, Mathematics
  30. Loren Kajikawa, Associate Professor, Corcoran, Music
  31. Jodi I. Kanter, Professor, Corcoran, Theatre and Dance
  32. Ivy Ken, Associate Professor, Sociology and TSPPPA
  33. Dane Kennedy, Elmer Louis Kayser Professor of History, History
  34. Dean Kessmann, Associate Professor, Corcoran, Studio Art
  35. Imtiaz Khan, Professor, Microbiology Immunology and Tropical Medicine
  36. Kathryn Kleppinger, Associate Professor, RGSLL
  37. Antonio López, Associate Professor, English
  38. James Mahshie, Professor, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
  39. R.J. Maratea, Visiting Assistant Professor, Sociology
  40. Marcos L. Martinez, Professorial Lecturer, University Writing Program
  41. Robert McRuer, Professor, English
  42. Barbara Miller, Professor , Anthropology
  43. David T. Mitchell, Professor, English
  44. Daniel Moshenberg, Associate Professor, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
  45. Amber Musser, Associate Professor, American Studies
  46. Mika Natif, Associate Professor, Corcoran School, Art History Program
  47. Dara Orenstein, Associate Professor, American Studies
  48. Laura Papish, Associate Professor, Philosophy
  49. Richard M. Robin, Professor, RGSLL
  50. Shira Robinson, Associate Professor, History
  51. Johan Severtson, Professor, Corcoran Graphic Design
  52. James Sham, Associate Professor, Corcoran School
  53. Gregory D. Squires, Professor, Sociology
  54. Mary Beth Stein, Associate Professor, RGSLL
  55. Paul M. Swiercz, Professor Emeritus, Management
  56. Poorvi L. Vora, Professor, Computer Science
  57. Sergio Waisman, Professor, RGSLL
  58. Clay Warren, Professor, Department of Organizational Sciences and Communication
  59. Gail Weiss, Professor, Philosophy
  60. Lynn Westwater, Associate Professor , RGSLL
  61. Bernard Wood, University Professor, Anthropology/CASHP
  62. Maria Cecilia Zea, Professor , Psychological and Brain Sciences
  63. Andrew Zimmerman, Professor, History
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