Open Letter in Defense of Rebecca Schuman

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Open Letter in Defense of Rebecca Schuman

This petition had 184 supporters
Roger Whitson started this petition to Scholars, Writers, and Teachers

We, the undersigned, are appalled at the harassment Rebecca Schuman has received in response to her piece “The End of the College Essay.” The piece has engendered a range of vitriol, ranging from threats on social media to attempts to contact the University of Missouri, St. Louis and have her dismissed from her job. Several of these responses have come from people with more job security and power than is afforded to Schuman in her adjunct position. Some of the responses have even included public demeaning of her students. While we may not agree with the arguments within Schuman’s piece, we assert her right as a writer, a teacher, and a scholar to:

add to the academic conversation surrounding writing pedagogy, academic politics, and adjunct teaching;

not be harassed by people who disagree with her;

not be threatened with dismissal for her ideas.

We believe that social media should allow a larger range of ideas to flourish, and we find it alarming that it is being used for precisely the opposite purpose. Those who believe in the benefit of assigning essays should engage with Schuman’s ideas, as any intellectual would, rather than vilify her. We wish to remind our colleagues about the virtues of academic freedom, the value of provocation, and the prescient need to be reflective about our teaching and intellectual work.



Emilie Amt, Hood College

Adam Arenson, University of Texas at El Paso

Benjamin Balthaser, Indiana University, South Bend

Aaron Bady, University of Texas, Austin

Robert “Migrant Intellectual” Baum, VT

Wesley Beal, Lyon College

Warner A. Belanger III, Georgia College & Statue University

Lee Skallerup Bessette, Morehead State University

Brenda Bethman, University of Missouri, Kansas City

Brianne Bolin, Columbia College Chicago

Gerry Canavan, Marquette University

Carla S. Cerino, Adjunct, Middlesex Community College

Brian Croxall, Emory University

Jonathan Dettman, University of Nebraska, Kearney

James J. Donahue, State University of New York, Potsdam

Jay Driskell, Hood College

Jennifer Ebbeler, University of Texas, Austin

Joshua Eyler, Rice University

Ana M. Fores Tamayo, Adjunct Justice

P. Kerim Friedman, National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan

Joseph Fruscione, George Washington University

Karen Gregory, CUNY Graduate Center

David Golumbia, Virginia Commonwealth University

Danielle Hathcock, Ozark Technical Community College

Jon Hegglund, Washington State University

Leeann Hunter, Washington State University

Noel Jackson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Eileen A. Joy, BABEL Working Group; punctum books

David Kaib, American University, Independent Scholar

Sarah Kendzior, Independent Scholar; Columnist for Al-Jazeera English

Katie King, University of Maryland, College Park

Adeline Koh, Richard Stockton College

Ann Kottner, New Jersey City University; York College; CUNY

Jessica Langer, Independent Scholar; Founder, Ideas in Flight

Clarissa AL Lee, Duke University

Carla D. Martin, Harvard University

Regina Martin, Denison University

Paige Morgan, University of Washington

Chris Newfield, University of California, Santa Barbara

Michael O’Rourke, Independent Colleges, Dublin, Ireland

Jeramia Ory, King’s College; Commonwealth Medical College

T.L. Mack-Piccone, Texas State University; Texas A&M University; Independent Scholar; Labor Organizer, SEIU

William Pannapacker, Hope College

Chuck Pearson, Virginia Intermont College

Annemarie Pérez, Loyola Marymount University

Jacob Remes, SUNY Empire State College; Harvard University

Anthony Reed, Yale University

Todd Reynolds, Independent Scholar; Labor Organizer; AFT-Maryland, MD

Cedar Riener, Randolph-Macon College

Roopika Risam, Salem State University

Philip Sandifer, Independent Scholar

Anastasia Salter, University of Baltimore

Christopher Schaberg, Loyola University

Brandy Schillace, Case Western Reserve University

Valéria M. Souza, Washington University

Karl Steel, Brooklyn College; City University of New York

Bonnie Stewart, University of Prince Edward Island

Lindsay Thomas, University of California, Santa Barbara

Katie L. Thompson, George Mason University
Sara Tracey, University of Illinois at Chicago

Desiree L. Ward, Independent Scholar; Texas

Roger Whitson, Washington State University


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