Call for Independent Review of Termination of Rutgers Professor Dena Seidel
This petition had 425 supporters
Dena Seidel is an award-winning, filmmaker who spent 8 years of her professional life building and directing the Film Program at Rutgers University. See link for some of her accomplishments and qualifications: http://www.denaseidel.com/
Recently, she was terminated from her position as Director of the Filmmaking Program at Rutgers by Dean George Stauffer of the Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Her students, and MANY others believe a gross injustice has been done to Ms. Seidel and to Rutger's Film Program. See their Facebook group with more than 1200 members: https://www.facebook.com/groups/949286355133599/
This petition is asking Rutgers’ President Robert Barchi to appoint an independent committee of the Board of Governors to review two events and determine if there were any possible violations of policy or law and to determine if Ms. Seidel, was given fair, unbiased treatment.
There are two closely related events related to Ms. Seidel’s termination which require much more transparency and unbiased judgment:
1. Ms. Seidel’s Evaluation
What is Rutgers’ policy regarding faculty reviews? Who participated in the evaluation? Did any of the evaluators have a conflict of interest or cause to be biased? What influence did the Dean have over the evaluators? Why did the Dean reverse his previously positive opinion of Ms. Seidel? Did any factors other than Ms. Seidel’s performance affect her evaluation? How did the outcome of this evaluation affect the decision to replace her? Did the Chancellor approve the evaluation?
2. Search for Ms. Seidel’s Replacement
What is Rutgers’ policy regarding faculty recruitment? Was the recruitment conducted in a fair and unbiased manner? Who participated in the selection? How did Ms. Seidel’s replacement match the position description? Who discovered, recommended or sponsored her replacement? Were any assurances or promises made to her replacement at any time prior to the conclusion of the selection process? What statements were made on the application to gain an exceptional visa for a foreign national? Did the Chancellor approve of the selection and the visa application?
We believe that transparency and fairness are essential to the well-being of the University and in maintaining the trust of its students, faculty and the public.
It has been widely published that women filmmakers have a more difficult time in the movie industry than their male counterparts. The same may be true of women filmmakers at colleges and universities.
Ms. Seidel raised the level of instruction from a certificate to a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree; she gained national recognition for her projects and students; she raised thousands of dollars in grants to support the Program and the students, making documentaries that featured Rutgers scientific projects and social issues.
Ms. Seidel was seeking tenure for her position based on her work and more financial integrity within the department. Dean Stauffer reversed his prior record of accolades for her work and no longer considered her suitable for higher status. She was replaced by Nicolas Pereda, a male foreign national, with no prior teaching, administrative or college program-building experience. How can these events be explained?
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