I have listened to the criticism of the Criminal Justice hires for some time now and find it interesting that the initial criticism was of three new hires in Criminal Justice. Since one of the candidates ostensibly has a significant publishing record, her name is now not included in the criticism, a retraction I assume that validates her hiring. I raise this point because if the criticism is about the process then the publishing record of all the applicants should not matter. The process is the problem and not the candidates, correct?
This brings me to my larger point. One of the recurring criticism of Lew Myers and Andre Grant is their publishing record and in the case of Mr.Grant, his teaching experience. I will plead ignorance and admit I now absolutely zero about their publishing records (as I now little about most of my colleagues publishing record). However, I know Lew Myers and was familiar with his name for years before actually meeting him. Mr.Myers is a highly regarded Civil Rights Attorney and advocate. Activist and scholars that I know throughout this country think it is quite a coup to have Mr. Myers in our fold. He has taught for years at Kennedy King College and provides a wealth of experience and expertise on the prison industrial complex, civil rights movement, the justice system, and the intercession between race, class, and law.
Dare I say that it is a common practice for universities of all stripes to hire people of note in their field. Black activists across the country know and respect Lew Myers. Advocates for political prisoners and prisoners rights know and respect Lew Myers. One of Wayne Watson's critics a few years ago, Haki Madhabuti, knows and respects Lew Myers. Mr. Myers has been involved in the Black freedom struggle in Chicago for over 30 years and has served as the legal counsel for Louis Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson. In short, he is no lightweight.
Finally, in my role as co-chair of the Chicago Council on Black Studies, Mr. Myers and myself have been organizing to incorporate the prison re-entry program he had at Kennedy King College at CSU. We are working assidously with grassroots organizations and ex-felons. Our goal is for CSU to be the leading advocate for ex-felon voting rights, empolyment rights, and human rights. This is a huge step for CSU and any effort that strentghens our connections to local communities should be applauded.
An applicants publishing record is only one element used to assess the value of a candidate. In fact, I do not think I am the only faculty member that finds the 4/4 load and committee and community responsibilities as an obstacle to publishing vigourously and widely. I have heard my colleagues lament about all we have to do AND publish. Therefore, when taking into account Mr. Myers and Mr. Grant, we should consider what they have accomplished and assess their publishing record with that context in mind.