As many of you know I will be retiring at the end of this semester. I began teaching at Chicago State as an adjunct in 1985. So I have spent most of my adult life teaching here, and Chicago State has become part of who I am.
The Department of Criminal Justice, Philosophy, and Political Science had been planning a party for my retirement to give us all a chance to say farewell. However, given the role played by the department’s official chairperson Marian Perkins in the (unsuccessful) effort to stop Wednesday evening’s forum “Repression at CSU,” I am asking that the department NOT be the sponsor of any retirement party that may be held for me. (Is it not ironic that the CSU administration and Perkins attempt to stop a forum on repression?)
Let me explain the events leading up to Perkins’ phone call and letter; I have pasted the letter at the end of this message. On February 10th I sent to the department a room reservation form requesting the library’s 4th floor auditorium for a March 19th forum on mass incarceration and sexism (with the topic subject to “revision, refinement, and clarification”). I did not hear back from the office of meetings and events until March 4th. On March 5th I received an approval, but I felt that this late approval gave us insufficient time to organize a proper forum. On March 14th I requested an April 2nd date, but when by the 20th I had still not secured an approval, I requested another postponement until April 9th, and this date was approved.
By that time several things had happened. On March 7th Willie Preston was arrested when he attempted to speak in the public comments section of a Board of Trustees meeting; the charges were trespass and “violating an order of protection.” Then there was a court hearing for Preston where eight of us showed up in support of him. We had put out a leaflet pointing out how Angela Henderson’s court order of protection against Preston was based on the racist stereotype of the violent young black male, which plays an important role in mass incarceration. I had proposed that the topic of the forum be changed to “The New Jim Crow Comes to Chicago State,” but in a discussion held after the court hearing we decided that the forum should not focus solely on the racism of Willie’s case but be broadened to include other administration efforts to stifle dissenting voices of students, faculty and staff. So we decided on the title “Repression at CSU.” This decision occurred March 24th.
When, on April 7th, publicity began to appear for the forum with its new title and topic, I received a phone call from Perkins and the email below reviewing the call’s contents. Because of her role in the efforts to suppress the forum, I do not want her to honor me on my retirement.
I greatly look forward to these last weeks as a teacher at Chicago State. For 29 years I have tried to do a good job. I greatly respect so many of the students, other teachers, and campus workers I have known. So many students strive so hard despite so many difficulties—many of them due to the vicious racism of U.S. society. I respect so many of my fellow teachers who are trying their best to give to students what they have to offer. I respect so many campus workers who likewise do their best. I look forward to saying a very fond farewell to all of you.
With very fond regards to so many,
To: "Dr. Gomberg" <email@example.com>, Paul Gomberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Message from CJPPS Department Chairperson Marian E. Perkins, J.D. - Re: Room Reservation Request for an event or activity to be held on April 9, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Date: Apr 7, 2014 8:11 PM
April 7, 2014
Dear Professor Paul Gomberg:
Hello! This e-mail is a memorialization of the telephone conversation that we had this evening, April 7, 2014 at approximately 7:50 p.m. I made the following statements:
1. There is a duly executed and approved Chicago State University Room Reservation Request Form for a panel discussion on "Mass Incarceration and Its Impact on Families & Women" that was originally scheduled for March 19, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. in The New Academic Library Auditorium (4th Floor);
2. An extension of this Room Reservation Request for a panel discussion on "Mass Incarceration and Its Impact on Families & Women" was granted by The CSU Office of Meeting & Events for the date of on April 9, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. in The New Academic Library - Auditorium (4th Floor) and
3. A Flyer has been distributed around the CSU campus that states that the event or activity: "Repression at CSU and Panel to Address Student/ Faculty Concerns" shall be held on April 9, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. in The New Academic Library where there is no Room Reservation Form approved for that particular event or activity on April 9, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
You stated to me during our telephone conversation on April 7, 2014 the following:
1. The topic: " Mass Incarceration and Its Impact on Families & Children" will not be discussed at the CSU event or activity scheduled for April 9, 2014 in The New Academic Library - 4th Floor (Auditorium) and
2. You further stated that you and the group planning this event instead chose to change the topic from "Mass Incarceration" to "Repression at CSU" and did not amend the Room Reservation to reflect that event/ activity change.
I stated to you that the event or activity: "Repression at CSU and Panel to Address Student /Faculty Concerns at CSU" that you have organized for April 9, 2014 in The New Academic Library - Auditorium (4th Floor) without departmental approval or sanction may be cancelled. I further stated that it should be cancelled because there is no departmental approval or a duly executed Room Reservation Form for the event/ activity" "Repression at CSU" scheduled to be held on April 9, 2014 from 6:00 p.m. - 9: 00 p.m. in The New Academic Library.
If you have any questions, or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you.
Marian E. Perkins
Professor Marian E. Perkins, J.D.
The Department of Criminal Justice,
Philosophy & Political Science