The unfounded allegations that Fresno State canceled the Edward Said search because it caved in to outside pressure from “Israel advocacy groups” is a misinterpretation of the valid reasons the search was postponed until next year.
Rules and procedures stipulated by the Academic Policy Manual are voted and agreed upon by the Academic Senate of the University – a representative body of professors that reflects the ideals of democracy and social responsibility.
Vida Samiian, as someone who spent almost 25 years as dean and associate dean, should know the value of following the APM and should know that following “past practices” does not constitute good policy. This was never meant to be political, and it’s been difficult and hurtful that it has been interpreted as such.
Dr. Samiian and Dr. Parks speculate that the search was canceled due to influence by Israel advocacy groups. These conjectures are presented without evidence, and are unfounded. As such, they further undermine the integrity of our policies and hiring process.
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As I have not received any type of communication from the outside entities they reference, I find that the onus is on them to produce evidence of interference influencing the cancellation of the search.
In canceling the search this year and following proper procedures next year, we are defending the democratic system of representation that governs our university.
It is heartening to see the wide support the Said position has received from various sources. In a fall forum proposed by our Palestinian student group, I’m hopeful that we can take this opportunity to forge a space in which we can talk and proactively dialogue about these important matters.
Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, dean, College of Arts and Humanities