Faculty of Color Caucus Letter on Charles Murray

Photo Credit: Erik Cito

The following letter was sent to President Hamilton and Provost Fleming at 12:25 PM on 3/23/2017. 

Dear President Hamilton and Provost Fleming,

We, the undersigned NYU faculty, were dismayed to learn today that Charles Murray will be speaking on campus on Friday, March 24. While we are committed to free speech and the robust exchange of ideas, many things about this invitation trouble us.

First, there is minimal information about the event at which Murray will speak: no sponsors are identified, nor is even basic information such as the title or topic of the lecture provided. The hidden nature of the event forecloses any opportunity to discuss and challenge the validity of Murray’s claims and the legitimacy of the arguments. The fact that no topic for debate is even identified suggests that the draw of the event is controversy and personality, rather than the kind of informed intellectual engagement and debate that the university holds as a key value.

Second, Murray is currently in the midst of a speaking tour fueled not by the quality of his newest work (which blames poor whites for their own poverty) but by the spectacle of opposition to it.  Murray’s reprehensible polemic puts the blame for socio-economic inequality on individual genetics and “intelligence” rather than on collective structures. His 1994 The Bell Curve is indebted to a body of research and funding that is unabashed in its commitment to eugenics. It explicitly links low IQ, social pathology, heredity and poverty, resulting in a defense of race and class hierarchy as a biological rather than a sociological and historical phenomenon. Since his emergence onto the public intellectual scene, Murray has attempted to reassert the scientific status of racial categories and the influence of eugenics on public policy.  The University is a place for research and knowledge production, not eugenicist pseudo-science.*

Finally, at a time when so many of our students—international and undocumented students, students of color, and others—feel especially vulnerable to state-sanctioned discrimination, giving Murray a podium at NYU seems especially provocative. To do so with so little information about the invitation and event made available to the NYU community is an abdication of the university’s obligation to those students, as well as to its core mission.

We urge the NYU administration to be proactive in these times, to encourage informed challenges to speakers who are promoting hate and fear under the guise of scholarship and free speech on campus, and to provide resources and expend energy for that purpose.

Sincerely,

Ada Ferrer, Faculty of Color Caucus, Co-Chair (Silver Professor, History and CLACS, FAS)
Jennifer Morgan, Faculty of Color Caucus, Co-Chair (Professor SCA and History, FAS)
Paula Chakravartty, Faculty of Color Caucus, Steering Committee (Associate Professor, MCC, Steinhardt and The Gallatin School)
Arlene Dávila, Faculty of Color Caucus, Steering Committee (Professor, SCA and Anthropology, FAS)
André Fenton, Faculty of Color Caucus, Steering Committee (Professor, Center for Neural Science,FAS)
Michael Ralph, Faculty of Color Caucus, Steering Committee (Associate Professor, SCA, FAS)
Cristina Beltrán, Faculty of Color Caucus, Steering Committee (Associate Professor, SCA, FAS)
Ana Dopico, Faculty of Color Caucus, Steering Committee (Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature, FAS)
Aisha Khan, Faculty of Color Caucus Steering Committee, (Associate Professor, Anthropology, FAS)
Millery Polyné, Faculty of Color Caucus Steering Committee, (Associate Professor, Gallatin)
April Hathcock, Faculty of Color Caucus Steering Committee, (Scholarly Communication Librarian, Division of Libraries)
Chyng Sun, Faculty of Color Caucus Steering Committee, (Clinical Professor, Media Studies, Professional Studies)

 

Sinan Antoon, Associate Professor, The Gallatin School
Darcey Merritt, Associate Professor, Silver School of Social Work
Tazuko Shibusawa, Associate Professor, Silver School of Social Work
Nikhil Pal Singh, Associate Professor, SCA and History, FAS
Stephen Duncombe, Professor, The Gallatin School & MCC, Steinhardt
Marie Cruz Soto, Clinical Assistant Professor, The Gallatin School
Suzanne Maria Menghraj, Clinical Assistant Professor, Liberal Studies, FAS
Stephen Small, Professor, Biology, FAS
Cecilia Márquez, Assistant Professor, SCA, FAS
Susan Antón, Professor, Anthropology, FAS
Scott Williams, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, FAS
Pam J. Crabtree, Associate Professor, Anthropology, FAS
Monica Kim, Assistant Professor, History, FAS
Crystal Parikh, Associate Professor, SCA and English, FAS
Andrew Ross, Professor, SCA, FAS
Manu Goswami, Associate Professor, History, FAS
Radu Iovita, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, FAS
Frederic Viguier, Clinical Assistant Professor, French Studies, FAS
Andrew H. Lee, Associate Curator, Bobst, Division of Libraries
Dipti Khera, Art History and IFA, FAS
John Kuo Wei Tchen, Director, A/P/A Institute
Greg Grandin, Professor, History, FAS
Dylon L. Robbins, Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, FAS
Jennifer Manuel, Assistant Professor, Silver School of Social Work
Michele Mitchell, Associate Professor, History, FAS
Renée Blake, Departments of Linguistics and SCA. FAS
Molly Nolan, Professor of  History, FAS
Sonya Posmentier, Assistant Professor, English, FAS
Rebecca E. Karl, Associate Professor, History, FAS
Fred Carl, Associate Arts Professor, Tisch School of the Arts
Anna McCarthy, Professor, Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts
Vasuki Nesiah, The Gallatin School
Lisa Duggan, Professor, SCA, FAS
Jeffrey T. Sammons, Professor, History, FAS
Rebecca Anne Goetz, Associate Professor of History, FAS
Liam Murphy, Professor, Law and Philosophy, FAS
Barbara Weinstein, Silver Professor of History, FAS
Robyn d’Avignon, Assistant Professor of History, FAS
Georgina Dopico, Associate Professor and Dean for the Humanities, FAS
Jacob Remes, Clinical Assistant Professor, The Gallatin School
Sinclair Thomson, Associate Professor, History, FAS
Ifeona Fulani, Clinical Assistant Professor, Global Liberal Studies, FAS
Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Associate Professor The Gallatin School and Sociology, FAS
Julie Livingston, Professor, SCA and History, FAS
Ned Block, Silver Professor, Philosophy and Psychology, FAS
Angela Zito, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Religious Studies, FAS
Tejaswini Ganti, Associate Professor, Anthropology, FAS
Laura Torres-Rodríguez, Assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, FAS
Alejandro Velasco, Associate Professor,The Gallatin School and History Dept, FAS
Thomas J. Sugrue, Professor, SCA and History, FAS
Diana B. Turk, Associate Professor, Steinhardt
Lisa M. Stulberg, Associate Professor, Sociology of Education, Steinhardt
George Shulman, Professor, The Gallatin School
Marie Monaco, Associate Professor, School of Medicine
Rosalind Fredericks, Associate Professor, The Gallatin School
Charlton Mcllwain, Associate Professor, MCC, Steinhardt
Laurence Coderre, Assistant Professor, East Asian Studies, FAS
John Singler, Professor Emeritus, Linguistics, FAS
Rossen Djagalov, Assistant Professor, Russian and Slavic Studies, FAS
Robin Nagle, Clinical Professor, LSP, FAS
Pato Hebert, Associate Arts Professor, Department of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts
Dipti Desai, Associate Professor, Department of Art and Art Professions, Steinhardt
Marion Kaplan, Professor, Hebrew and Judaic Studies, FAS
Steven Lukes, Professor, Sociology, FAS
Ellen Tuchman, Associate Professor, Silver School of Social Work
Hannah Gurman, Clinical Associate Professor, The Gallatin School
John Torreano, Clinical Professor, Art and Art Professions, Steinhardt
Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor, MCC, Steinhardt
Helena Hansen, Assistant Professor, Anthropology and Psychiatry, FAS
Natasha Schüll, Associate Professor, MCC, Steinhardt
Aviva Slesin, Teacher, Open Arts, Tisch School of the Arts
Marlene McCarty, Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Arts & Art Professions, Steinhardt
Francisco J. Esteva, Professor, School of Medicine
Ruth Horowitz, Professor, Sociology, FAS
Kathy Engel, Associate Arts Professor, Dept of Art & Public Policy, Tisch School of the Arts
Dana Polan, Professor of Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts
Marita Sturken, Professor, MCC, Steinhardt
Arang Keshavarzian, Associate Professor, Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, FAS
Begum Adalet, Faculty Fellow for Near Eastern Studies,Kevorkian Center, FAS
Linda Gordon, Professor, History, FAS
Julian Everett Allgood, Division of Libraries
James S. Uleman, Professor, Psychology, FAS
JoEllen Fisherkeller, Professor, MCC, Steinhardt
Ethan Youngerman, Senior Language Lecturer, Expository Writing Program, FAS
Brett Gary, Associate Professor, MCC, Steinhardt
Andrew Sartori, Professor, History, FAS
Sibylle Fischer, Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, CLACS, FAS
Adam H. Becker, Professor, Classics and Religious Studies, FAS
Thuy Linh Tu, Associate Professor, SCA, FAS
Ilya Kliger, Associate Professor, Department of Russian and Slavic Studies, FAS
Valerie Forman, Associate Professor, The Gallatin School
Isra Ali, Clinical Assistant Professor, MCC, Steinhardt
Marc Walters, Associate Professor, Chemistry, FAS
Alexander R. Galloway, Professor, MCC, Steinhardt
Moss Roberts, Professor,  East Asian Studies, FAS
Ann Pellegrini, Professor, Performance Studies and SCA, Tisch School of Arts and FAS
Andrew Needham, Associate Professor, History, FAS
Mara Mills, Associate Professor, MCC, Steinhardt
Marta Peixoto, Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, FAS
Rayna Rapp, Professor, Department of Anthropology, FAS
Zachary Lockman, Professor, MEIS and History, FAS
Yukiko Hanawa, Senior Lecturer, East Asian Studies, FAS
Ritty Lukose, Associate Professor, The Gallatin School
Kim Phillips-Fein, Associate Professor, The Gallatin School
Toral Gajarawala, Associate Professor, English, FAS
Anne Rademacher, Associate Professor, Anthropology and Environmental Studies, FAS
Daniel J Walkowitz, Professor of History and SCA, Emeritus, FAS
Jamesetta Newland, Clinical Associate Professor, Rory Meyers College of Nursing
Emily Martin, Professor Anthropology, FAS
Patricia Satterstrom, Assistant Professor, NYU Wagner
Andrew Weiner, Assistant Professor, Art and Art Professions, Steinhardt
Thomas D’Aunno, Professor, NYU Wagner
Kirk Anthony James, Clinical Assistant Professor, Silver School of Social Work
Juan Pinon, Associate Professor, MCC, Steinhardt
Nicholas Tanis, Associate Professor of Film and Television, Kanbar Institute of Film & Television,Tisch School of the Arts
Faye Ginsburg, Kriser Professor of Anthropology; Director, Center for Media, Culture and History, FAS
Noel W Anderson, Clinical Assistant Professor, Art and Art Professions, Steinhardt
Mark Crispin Miller, Professor, MCC, Steinhardt
Herrick Chapman, Associate Professor, History and IFS, FAS
John Archer, Professor, English, CAS
Fred Myers, Silver Professor of Anthropology, FAS
James Higham, Assistant Professor, Anthropology, FAS
Sally Guttmacher, Professor, CGPH
Timothy J. Reiss, Emeritus Professor, Comparative Literature, FAS
Sebastián Calderón Bentin, Assistant Professor, Drama, Tisch School of the Arts
Emanuela Bianchi, Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature, FAS
Steven Hahn, Professor, History
Sue de Beer, Associate Professor, Art and Art Professions, Steinhardt
Sharon Friedman, Associate Professor, The Gallatin School
Toby Lee, Assistant Professor, Cinema Studies, Tisch School of the Arts
Tao Leigh Goffe, Assistant Professor/ Faculty Fellow, Social and Cultural Analysis, FAS
Randall Eng, Assistant Arts Professor, Tisch School of the Arts
Jordana Mendelson, Associate Professor, FAS, Spanish and Portuguese

*Charles Lane, “The Tainted Sources of The Bell Curve,” New York Review of Books, December 1, 1994. (https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1994/12/01/the-tainted-sources-of-the-bell-curve/); Ned Block, “Race, Genes, and IQ,” Boston Review (Dec. 1995/Jan. 1996) (http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/philo/faculty/block/papers/1996.bostonreview.pdf; Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/charles-murray

5 thoughts on “Faculty of Color Caucus Letter on Charles Murray

  1. I’m an NYU alum and I’m proud of you all for signing on to this letter. There’s no place at NYU for Charles Murray. Thank you.

    NYU College of Arts & Science, class of 2000
    Providence, RI

  2. Adding my support to your letter, with thanks to you for taking this stand.

  3. Murray blames socio-economics inequality on “individual genetics and intelligence ???Does he really have and argument for his assertions? Really, what example is now being demonstrated in Washington?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *