They fired Joe! And while the administration seems to be finally addressing the particulars of this case, they make no mention of how a long-term and dedicated employee was fired in the manner he was.
And sadly, Joe Cunje’s situation is not an isolated incident. What Prof. Boesche refers to as “a poison in the atmosphere on this campus” has indeed been registered by students, faculty, and staff as a mounting culture of surveillance, intimidation, and retaliation, targeting critics of the administration and members of the campus community who strive to make Oxy a more just and equitable institution. This culture prioritizes a “risk management” approach in which obedience and control over how issues are represented take precedence over the actual well-being of members of the community. As a consequence, those who raise issues about sexual assault, microagressions and more overt acts of hate, and the overall hostile climate are treated as “risks.” Those who bring to light these realities are treated as threats, for they question the administration’s representation of the College as a place of diversity, equality, and justice.
We, the undersigned, call on the Occidental administration to stop the re-marginalization of women, people of color, members of working class communities, religious minorities, dis/abled persons, and LGBTQ persons by “managing” what they are bringing to light. We call on the administration to execute CODE’s action items to make Occidental an institution in which all can thrive by attending to the proposed structural changes:
• hiring an ombudsperson,
• increasing transparency and oversight throughout all divisions of the College,
• and establishing a fully-resourced Office of Diversity and Equity, headed by a Vice President.
Conferring dignity to venerable employees like Joe is a crucial start but not enough. We call for immediate structural reform to create a more just and humane institution.
Petition addressed to: Jonathan Veitch, President of Occidental College, Chris Calkins, President of the Board of Trustees
Petition started on 2/21/2014
From the undersigned: