Barnard Members of the AAUP Deliver Letter to Dean Leslie Grinage

The letter, released on April 22nd and signed by Barnard faculty who are members of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), ask for the dismissal of student suspensions and charges, among other demands.

To Dean Leslie Grinage:

Barnard members of the AAUP are shocked and outraged at the illegitimate arrest, suspension, and eviction of over 50 Barnard College students for engaging in a peaceful protest on the designated “free speech zone” of Butler lawn. As we stated in our joint declaration with Columbia University, “these acts violate the letter and the spirit of the University Statutes, shared governance, students’ rights, and the University’s absolute obligation to defend students’ freedom of speech and to ensure their safety.”

In the past few days, AAUP members have watched with horror as your office, at the direction of Barnard’s senior administration, denied students access not only to campus buildings, but also to housing and dining, unlike Columbia’s students who did not lose access to these basic necessities. We have watched your office deactivate their ID cards without any form of due process, making them almost instantly homeless, while offering them only a timed 15 minute visit to gather their belongings from their room while accompanied by security. We have watched your office leave these eighteen and twenty-something year-olds to fend for themselves as they navigated the Strategic Response Group of the NYPD that the University invited to arrest them, as they posted bail, and as they tried to house, feed and clothe themselves without most of their belongings, without their families, and most importantly, without institutional support. It is hard to believe that an institution tasked with the education and care of young people would intentionally endanger the safety of young students to punish them, let alone an institution like Barnard that prides itself on its communities of care. Indeed, we seem to have entered a new era where Barnard punishes its students by endangering their safety.

These actions have disrupted our ability to teach and our students ability to learn far more than any protest has. AAUP members have been given little information about our students’ suspension and how to manage the disruption to our classes this has caused. And as we stated in our letter to the Barnard trustees on April 15, none of the policies under which these acts have been implemented with the consultation and approval of faculty, marking the complete erosion of shared governance. We reiterate those demands here and vow to pursue further action against the administration if they are not met immediately.

  • We demand that all Barnard College suspensions and charges be dismissed immediately and expunged from the students’ records, and that all rights and privileges be restored to them immediately.
  • We demand that no new policies be implemented by the administration without meaningful faculty participation as defined by the faculty.
  • We demand that no new disciplinary proceedings be initiated without faculty support.

These suspensions are not simply procedural violations–they violate the decency and the dignity we should afford to all members of our Barnard community, no matter their political positions.


Barnard Members of the AAUP

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