Wang Ping is an internationally renowned poet and professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has published ten books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. As an academic advisor, her students have gone on to become award-winning authors and even professors themselves. Macalester should be proud to have such a brilliant woman teaching at their institution.
But they're not.
They don't give Dr. Wang the respect and recognition she deserves. They don’t treat her as an equal to her colleagues. They hold her to different standards and belittle her contributions as a teacher, scholar and server to society.
Dr. Wang was promised an early promotion because of her publications when she came to Macalester, but later found out the promise was not written in the contract. So she watched her colleagues get earlier promotions with just one book while she had to wait with her six books. When she expressed her interest to apply for full professorship, the trouble began. First the Provost sent her to be evaluated by an unqualified colleague, who told Dr. Wang she wasn’t qualified even to apply because her teaching wasn’t good enough. When asked for an explanation, she told Dr. Wang she had lost the materials. When Dr. Wang applied against the order, she encountered all kinds of obstacles. The Provost didn’t provide the personnel committee with Dr. Wang’s complete addendum. They claimed she wasn't a good teacher just because a couple students claimed she was disorganized in their reviews, despite of the majority students’ praising and her colleague’s testifying on Dr. Wang’s excellent teaching. They brushed aside the service Dr. Wang performed in the college, the Twin Cities, the nation and the world as a literary judge, poet, lecturer, program builder, and ignored the support letters from different departments, colleges and communities, insisting that she didn’t do enough service. They told her she must not compare herself to another colleague who got an earlier promotion with much less credentials.
They told her not to tell anyone she was denied and not to apply again for a very long time. When she appealed, and the appeal committee found several procedural errors, and recommended the President to correct the errors. This was brushed aside. Meanwhile, the school began to retaliate.
The administrators refused to allow Macalester to serve as Dr. Wang’s fiscal agent to receive funding for her Kinship of Rivers project. They ordered the grant officers not to help Dr. Wang to seek external funding. Even when she asked for funding to photocopy student work for a class anthology, they denied her.
Even her students were affected. When me and my classmates asked for legitimate funding for our press “Cloud City,” we were told there wasn't any money. The department even refused to buy our first book for the English department lounge, which only cost $3. Meanwhile, the English department lounge was becoming the place for students to go for interclass snacking. Every day the English department would pay for free breakfast, snacks, and even free dinner for students. It seemed hard to believe that there wasn't enough money.
It was only after Dr. Wang filed a discrimination complaint with the EEOC and Minnesota Human Rights Department that she was promoted to full Professor in 2012.
However, her strategy backfired. Macalester responded by aggressively pursuing the lawsuit. They are trying to discredit Dr Wang's teaching and send her into financial ruin.
They set a date to depose Dr. Wang, requesting impossible amount of documents dating back to her childhood, demanding her to hand over all her contacts, emails, diaries, images, conversations, her medical, criminal and tax records, and finally, demanding Dr. Wang pay their legal fees which would amount up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This is intended to use legal system to punish Dr. Wang for complaining about her unequal treatments and retaliation and for bullying her into silence. This is intimidation, retaliation, and ultimate discrimination.
Dr. Wang Ping needs our support. Macalester claims she is a poor teacher and doesn't do enough for the school. That's ludicrous and here's why:
She's a brilliant professor, who's revolutionized the way Creative Writing is taught at Macalester. She's created interdisciplinary courses combining creative writing with environmental studies, philosophy, American studies, civic engagement, public health, and science. She tears through conventional teaching methods to create curriculums that teach students holistically through the combination of academics and creative expression.
She's sent many of her students on to MFA and PhD programs at schools such as Brown, Columbia, NYU, LIU, and the Iowa Writer's Workshop.
She's taken her students on canoeing trips down the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix Rivers and Lake Itasca with Dakota guides and historians.
She's brought in 45 nationally and internationally renowned poets, writers, policy makers, environmentalists, artists and photographers to speak at Macalester, including Nobel finalist Beidao, Pulitzer winner Yusef Komunyakaa, State of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, and explorer Will Steger.
Her former students have gone on to become a Rhodes Scholar, a New York Times Bestselling author, winner of the LA Times Book award and a tenure-track professor at Macalester, one of NYC top ten young artists, USA Today reporter, and the list goes on…
This is just a sample of the work that Dr. Wang Ping has done for Macalester. Let's stand up and support her. It’s not just her battle, but ours, because discrimination can happen to you, to me, to us, anywhere and anytime.
UPDATE: Brian Rosenberg has been spreading lies to some of the folks who've written him letters, and likely to the Board of Trustees. He's claiming that Macalester has aproached Wang Ping for mediation several times and recieved no response. Sometimes he says Macalester has aproached Wang Ping for mediation, but her lawyers have denied Macalester mediation unless they come to the table with a huge monetary settlement. This is nuts. You can see from the legal forms that Macalester's law firm submitted that they are the ones who have denied Wang Ping's request to mediate, claiming "mediation would not be productive at this time."
Rosenberg has also claimed he's merely protecting Macalester and its faculty by pursuing this lawsuit. Who are you protecting Brian Rosenberg? The commission who denied Wang Ping promotion was entirely white. Here is the Timeline of Wang Ping's carreer at Macalester including her lawsuit.
For more information about Wang Ping or the pending case:
Wang's Kinship of Rivers project page
We Support Wang Ping (Please join this Facebook Group to get more up-to-date information and view additional documents)
Wang vs. Macalester College (including Wang's statement posted on her Facebook)
Wang vs. Macalester – Background Information (Including a timeline)
English professor brings discrimination suit (Macalester student newspaper, Feb. 15. 2013)
Poet, professor Wang Ping sues Macalester College (Star Tribune, Feb. 19, 2013)
Wang Ping, acclaimed poet and professor, sues Macalester for discrimination (City Pages, Feb. 19, 2013)
Macalester College professor accuses school of race, gender discrimination (Pioneer Press, Feb. 19, 2013)
Professor Wang Ping: Keynote Poet for Groundbreaking Conference at UC Berkeley (Huffington Post, March 8, 2013)
http://www.minnesotatimes.org/minnesota-chinese-newspaper-archives/MNTimes_3_15_2013.pdf (in Chinese, Minnesota Times, March 15, 2013)
Minnesota Original videos (videos from 2012)
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/04/30/wangping (Minnesota Public Radio interviews from May 1, 2007)