Democratic Socialists of America supports the reinstatement with tenure of Dr. Anthony Monteiro as a full-time faculty member in the Department of African-American Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Monteiro, who has taught in the department for the past twelve years as a non-tenure track Associate Professor, recently did not have his contract renewed for the academic year 2014-2015.
This action by the Temple administration occurred despite Dr. Monteiro being a popular and respected professor; a well-published scholar of W.E. B. DuBois; and a leading community figure in the African-American North Philadelphia community in which Temple, an urban state institution, resides. Monteiro still lives in North Philly and has been an outspoken community leader against gentrification and capitalism for over 30 years.
Temple has a rich history of educating first generation college students, including many African-Americans from Philadelphia. The firing of Dr. Monteiro occurs a time when this tradition is threatened by the Temple administration’s effort to recruit a more affluent, suburban student body and to displace neighborhood residents with private student housing.
DSA sees the firing of Professor Monteiro as part of a broader neoliberal assault on the value of public higher education. The growth in non-tenure faculty not only denies highly qualified individuals the right to secure and humane working conditions, but also threatens the freedom of expression associated with university life. In addition, in a time of declining state funding for higher education, universities are increasingly cutting back on funding for academic programs whose purpose runs against the dominant pro-corporate ideology of our time. When radical professors like Dr. Monteiro have to worry about the ramifications of their political views on the future of their academic careers, a disservice is done both to ideological pluralism in the academy and to young activists and scholars who look to such professors as both mentors and sources of alternative analyses to mainstream political and economic discourses.
Thus, DSA views Professor Monteiro’s firing as part of a broader assault on interdisciplinary programs such as women’s studies, LGBTQ studies, ethnic studies, and labor studies. DSA supports the reinstatement of Professor Monteiro not solely because of the injustice in this particular case, but also as part of our broader efforts to fight the corporatization of public higher education. DSA supports the efforts of our Philadelphia local and Temple University campus chapter to build a movement powerful enough to compel the reinstatement of Professor Anthony Monteiro.
Statement of the National Political Committee on April 21, 2014.