Students send a letter to
the University of Pennsylvania provost, complaining about the banning of Gil-White's
Psychology of Ethnicity
Dr. Peter Conn,
December 7, 2004.
I am writing to express concern about the undue restrictions that have been imposed on Professor Francisco Gil-White’s course Psychology of Ethnicity (PSYC 270-302), which specifically addresses anti-black racism and anti-Semitism. The new requirements include taking the pre-requisite course Bio-cultural Psychology (PSYC 172) and being a junior or senior Psychology major, so that roughly 30 people in the entire university are even eligible to take it. Professor Francisco Gil-White says the course should have no restrictions, because it is designed so that even entry-level freshman can fully benefit from it. These restrictions are therefore a purely departmental edict.
It is disturbing that, although this course has received sterling reviews from students, the Psychology Department supports its actions with the false claim that Professor Gil-White’s teaching style is inadequate and has been highly criticized. In fact, several students (who now would not even be eligible), say it is the best class they have taken at Penn. Several concerned peers, including leaders of campus-wide organizations, have written to the Psychology Department, whose response has been less than satisfactory.
It is salient that these restrictions were not previously imposed on this course and they coincide suspiciously with the ongoing political tempest between Dr. Gil-White and the Psychology Department.
on Professor Gil-White’s course are not only arbitrary but also contrary
to the principles of this open and esteemed institution. We, the
undersigned, demand that the University of Pennsylvania take action to
allow unrestricted access to Professor Gil-White’s course to all those
who wish to take it. We would like to have your assurance that Penn
supports academic freedom in all aspects of University Life.
Kambili J. Moukwa
Jared A. Bennett
Jane L. Rosenberg
Oren M. Gur
Hoang Jessica Tang
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