Protect Professor Hamamoto's Academic Freedom

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Hello, we are a group of UC Davis undergraduate students. We are writing this letter in support of Dr. Hamamoto, senior professor of Department of Asian American Studies. For winter quarter 2016, Dr. Hamamoto was scheduled to teach three courses (ASA 2, ASA 189B, and ASA 150B). However, on December 18th, 2015, Dr. Hamamoto’s courses were cancelled without his authorization. The university administration did not notify the students enrolled in his courses and Dr. Hamamoto ahead of time (such as during Fall Quarter 2015) that his courses will be cancelled. Students had to go through the difficulty of finding new courses to replace the cancelled courses last minute.

We are outraged over the cancellation of Dr. Hamamoto’s courses, because more than 80 students were denied of relevant education from Dr. Hamamoto. We do not understand why his classes were cancelled when all of them were either full or nearly full. After all, Dr. Hamamoto is popular with many students; his courses are very informative, and they provide unique perspectives and cutting-edge research. Additionally, Dr. Hamamoto genuinely cares about his students' futures. During Dr. Hamamoto’s office hours and his classes, Dr. Hamamoto makes us feel safe, respected, and valued as aspiring scholars. Dr. Hamamoto carefully and fully listens to our opinions, ideas, and feedback for his courses, and he treats them very seriously. He sees us as mature, intelligent adults with a lot of potential for social change.

With Dr. Hamamoto’s commitment to the university and dedication to his students' education, the fact that he is being attacked and slandered by some students at UC Davis profoundly concerns us. Since there’s a long history of UC Davis students spreading egregious misinformation about Dr. Hamamoto’s reputation, are UC Davis administrators and students currently misunderstanding Dr. Hamamoto’s lectures and scholarly contributions? Is the cancellation of his classes a violation of academic freedom and a violation of his Constitutionally protected right to free speech? Additionally, in his ASA 189H class and ASA 113 fall 2015 quarter, there was an older man taking notes of all of Dr. Hamamoto's lectures. He didn't look like a student. Was he there to intentionally hurt, harm, or slander Dr. Hamamoto's reputation? We demand answers and accountability of those individuals responsible.

Please sign the petition to demand administrators on all levels to be transparent with their actions against Dr. Hamamoto. We demand that he return to teaching. Hamamoto inspires us to become independent, competent, creative, and free thinkers who preserve a culture of free intellectual inquiry and genuine curiosity. We only see him as major asset to UC Davis and the wider public.

We believe that you can bring positive change to UC Davis student community and provide farsighted and innovative education for current and future generations of UC Davis students. There are many UC Davis students and potential UC Davis transfer students who want to take Dr. Hamamoto’s courses. These students include both family members and those within the larger diverse communities. We believe that Dr. Hamamoto can guide our future careers and academic goals. His thoughtful advice has nurtured our ambitious career plans and prepared us to become reputable, truth-seeking scholars.

The letter and petition signatures will be sent to Chancellor Gary May, Vice Provost Maureen Stanton, Dean Susan Kaiser, and Professor Richard Kim at UC Davis. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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