A philosophy graduate student at Johns Hopkins University writes:
I am a member of the philosophy department at Johns Hopkins University writing to alert you to some rather disturbing events happening in the university. In short, the university’s administration is attempting to shut down an academic department without transparency, due-process, or clear justification. The department in question is the Humanities Center, an interdisciplinary department that has been part of the university since the 1960s. The issues between the administration and the department have been developing for several years, but they have just recently been made public. Several members of the department of philosophy, including myself, feel that the administration’s handling of the situation ought to be publicized as much as possible to discourage this kind of malfeasance both now and in the future.
Here is a brief description of the situation (further details can be found on this website, which has been set up in support of the Center):
Roughly three years ago, two senior members of the Humanities Center’s faculty announced plans to retire. The department requested permission to conduct searches to replace the retiring faculty. The dean at the time, Katherine Newman, told the department that any decision regarding new hires would be up to her successor, since she was planning to leave Hopkins that same year. Her replacement was Beverly Wendland, a member of the biology faculty. Dean Wendland informed the Center that she would not be considering either of their hiring requests until the department underwent a review, despite the fact that it had been recently reviewed twice (in 2008-2009 and 2011-2012). In both cases, the reviews were generally positive.