CalArts Remove Travis Preston
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Travis Preston has a proven track record of unscrupulous behavior. In his latest violation he violated the artistic integrity and work of Aleshea Harris. Please note that Preston has had numerous complaints and grievances filed against him during his tenure as the Dean of the Theater School. We alums and students are filing this petition as we have a clear and consequential evidence of his behavior.
Below are posts from Ms. Harris herself detailing what happened.
Please note that Travis Preston never addresses any of Harris's alarming concerns in the lackluster response he posted on the CNP website.
By following the original facebook threads it is evident that generations of alumni have come up against the same challenges. Travis Preston's history of abusive and unprofessional behavior has been continually ignored and mishandled by CalArts Administration. CalArts Alum and Students have had enough, we call for Travis Preston to be removed immediately.
Post 1 from Harris Detailing the Original Incident:
In 2015, I was approached by Director Arnaud Meunier, head of Comedie de Saint-Etienne, to write a play alongside another writer. The commissioning bodies were La Comedie de Saint-Etienne and CalArts Center for New Performance. Throughout the very challenging process, Meunier fired multiple people, including the other playwright. I (against the advice of friends) stuck with it and wrote a play entitled FORE!, which will premier tomorrow at La Comedie de Saint Etienne and continue to tour France and Belgium. But Meunier would not allow me access to the rehearsal room for this brand new play. Ironically, Meunier (a white Frenchman) is passing himself off in the press as someone sensitive to “the responsibility of white intellectuals and their duty of ‘delicacy’ since they do not know the reality of black Americans.” I, a black American woman, have been barred from access to a play I wrote from my very black American female consciousness by a white Frenchman. And the silence from CalArts (of which I am an alum and former faculty member) Center for New Performance is deafening. I cannot pull the play and honestly, don’t want to (so many students worked hard to make it happen). What I want is for CalArts CNP and La Comedie de Saint-Etienne to know that this is unacceptable. A number of you have offered publicly or privately to help. By all means, share this post, send those emails, ask those questions. I've found that people who abuse power maintain it through our silence. I work too hard to be silenced. They must not know that #TimesUp. Let’s remind them. UPDATE: If/when you share this, be sure to include the original post! Thank you.
Post 2 Detailing Travis Preston's Behavior:
Rather than reach out to me, Travis Preston, Artistic Director of CalArts Center for New Performance reached out to Arnaud Meunier (the white male director who barred me from the rehearsal room of a new play I wrote) and asked him to forward emails I’d sent him. He then read these emails aloud at an emergency faculty meeting. He offered these out-of-context correspondences as proof that, as far as he and CNP were aware, everything was going smoothly with the process of FORE!
This simply isn’t true. Below is an email I sent Travis Preston on July 4th, 2017 which indicates my concern with the culture of fear and instability around the process of FORE! There are other emails illustrating that something was wrong he and others from CNP were copied on. I am disappointed that he would go to such lengths to deceive faculty and staff (some of whom are former colleagues and/or professors of mine). I am disappointed that protecting students was not a priority. I am disappointed that he would try and downplay CNP’s knowledge of the events. I am disappointed that he would work to feign ignorance and mischaracterize my private emails rather than reaching out to me. This whole thing stinks. #TimesUp, #CNPDoBetter, #HoldPowertoAccount, #dontshushme. NOTE: Please note Travis’s response. (Detailed in a photo post) He did not contact me upon his return from China. I did not hear from him for two months. I found his lackluster response discouraging and opted to try and focus on writing the play rather than struggling to convince him that these matters deserved urgent attention. I wish I’d gone above his head then.
Post 3 (Detailing the response from Travis/CNP):
CalArts Center for New Performance has issued a statement on their website which absolutely absolves them of any responsibility. This is disheartening but at this point, unsurprising. Way to own up to major issues that started in your institution under your watch that you were (prove-ably) aware of, Travis Preston. Read the statement here:
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