Withdraw Appointment of Ret. Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry to Run NU Buffett Institute


Withdraw Appointment of Ret. Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry to Run NU Buffett Institute

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Northwestern University Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, and Friends in Support of Academic Integrity started this petition to Northwestern President Morton Schapiro and

Photo from Eikenberry’s U.S.-Asia Security Initiative February, 2016 trip, escorting Stanford faculty and students to U.S. Pacific Command HQ in HawaiiSource: APARC-FSI (Eikenberry is center, blue shirt.)

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Whereas, in a public letter of February 9, 2016, 46 Northwestern faculty requested NU withdraw Ret. Lt. Gen. Eikenberry’s appointment to run the Buffett Institute; whereas in a private letter in November, 2015 over 60 Northwestern faculty requested NU not appoint Eikenberry, former Ambassador to Afghanistan, to this position; and whereas on September 30, 2015, more than a dozen Buffett faculty directors and affiliates requested that NU not appoint Eikenberry to lead the Buffett Institute.

Whereas, the Buffett Institute for Global Studies is a multidisciplinary research institute with a broad mission to support Northwestern faculty and students in the humanities and social sciences engaging global research questions, without favor to U.S. business, military, and national foreign policy priorities.

Whereas, the search committee announcement references Buffett as a “world-renowned hub of global research, scholarship and education.

Whereas, the job description used for recruiting applicants to lead the Buffett Institute indicates a preference for "A strong track record of significant and sustained research and publication in international affairs." Whereas a normal search process appears not to have been followed by the search committee chaired by NU President Emeritus Henry Bienen.

Whereas, Eikenberry has authored no double-blind peer-reviewed articles or books, and lacks a PhD; and whereas Eikenberry lacks a strong record of significant and sustained research and publication in international affairs.

Whereas, Eikenberry has expertise in framing and implementing U.S. military and foreign policy, including a 35 year military career, and is well-recognized for this service.

Whereas, Eikenberry has publicly embraced a vision of instrumentalizing the humanities and the social sciences to suit foreign policy, military, and business interests.  

Explanation: “Karl Eikenberry believes that the humanities belong at the center of American foreign policy. And his voice matters. The retired United States Army lieutenant general and former United States ambassador to Afghanistan put cultural ventures, such as the Turquoise Mountain Project, at the heart of his diplomacy. He continues his advocacy through his leadership on the congressionally commissioned report 'The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences for a Vibrant, Competitive, and Secure Nation.'"  From the Introduction to Eikenberry's address to the Chicago Council for the Humanities, quoted from in an open letter to Schapiro and Linzer published in the Daily Northwestern, Feb. 9, 2016.

Whereas, Eikenberry, started as a “distinguished lecturer” and is now a “distinguished fellow” and one of over 225 non-core faculty affiliates of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI); and whereas Eikenberry's teaching is for the Ford Dorsey Program of International Policy Studies, where his seminars draw on his Afghanistan experiences and guest lecturers; and whereas he also has run 1 or 2 credit Satisfactory/NS practitioner and lecture series courses through programs in International Studies and East Asian Studies. (The faculty letter incorrectly stated Eikenberry is a Fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is a member of the Institution's Foreign Policy and Grand Strategy working group, not a Fellow. We apologize for this error.)

Whereas, Eikenberry has no affiliations with any academic departments; and whereas Stanford University has never appointed Eikenberry to any university-wide leadership positions.

Whereas, Eikenberry works at FSI under Director and Political Science Professor Michael McFaul, a Rhodes Scholar and D. Phil. from Oxford University who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford and is the author of widely cited peer-reviewed books and articles, and is a former Ambassador to the Russian Federation (2012-2014).

Whereas, Eikenberry lacks the intellectual and policy credentials other research universities seek in naming such leaders.

Whereas, Bienen, President Morton Schapiro, and Provost Daniel Linzer disregarded collegial suggestions in a September 30, 2015  private letter from Buffett Institute faculty and an additional late November letter from more than 60 Northwestern faculty Department and Program chairs concerned about Eikenberry's lack of qualifications; and whereas Bienen will not account for the discrepancy between his acknowledgment of receiving on September 30, 2015 an email protesting the appointment and his statement to the Daily Northwestern that he did “not recall anyone voicing dissatisfaction about the appointment” until the Feb. 9, 2016 letter.

Whereas, Linzer and Schapiro have asserted Eikenberry’s appointments to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) and the Commission on the Humanities and the Social Sciences (CHSS) as academic credentials, but Eikenberry’s appointments are based on government service.

Explanation: Both the AAAS and CHSS include people with non-intellectual backgrounds. The AAAS roster names thousands of non-academics, including Bill Cosby. Eikenberry is recognized for his achievements in “Public Affairs, Journalism, and Communication,” the same section that includes Tom Brokaw and Alice Waters. The CHSS was co-chaired by the ex-CEO of Exelon and included the CEO of Boeing. Several NU faculty signatories of the public letter protesting under Eikenberry's appointment are AAAS Fellows recognized for their achievements in the “Humanities and the Arts,” Class IV.

Whereas, the interests of those who appointed the search committee and hired Eikenberry are in conflict with NU's core commitment to the intrinsic worth of the liberal arts and sciences, independent of their monetization or applied uses.

Whereas, under the leadership of scholar and Director Bruce Carruthers, the Buffett Institute attracted the $100 million donation from Roberta Buffett and has sustained a reputation of excellence in its sponsored events, fellowships, and research opportunities. Whereas, in recent weeks, the Buffett Institute has rolled out several exciting new programs in keeping with the expansive vision of global studies made possible by Buffett’s generous gift.

Therefore, the undersigned request the withdrawal of the appointment of Eikenberry to run the Buffett Institute, set to begin in September, 2016, and the appointment of a new search committee with membership determined by a committee of the Faculty Senate, in broad consultation with Buffett faculty, staff, and affiliates, and approved by a majority of the Faculty Senate membership, with the Chair to be decided by the committee members.


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