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Yale Faculty, Students Raise Alarm Over Lack Of Support For Ethnic Studies Major

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Sage Ross
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A number of Yale professors have said that they'll no longer volunteer in service of the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration major. They're doing it with the hope that the school will hire full-time faculty to support students.

Thirteen Yale University professors are taking a stand against the school in order to get long-term support for an ethnic studies program.

The instructors say they’ll no longer volunteer their time in service of Yale’s Ethnicity, Race, and Migration program, saying instead the university should support the program with full-time, paid faculty.

Daniel Martinez Hosang is one of the professors who are protesting.

“These are students who absolutely work their tails off,” Martinez Hosang said. “They’re exceptional, hard-working, imaginative students that Yale just typically hasn’t served.”

Martinez Hosang is an associate professor of American studies, but he also spends time in support of the ER&M major, which he thinks is unfair not only for him, but also for the students.

“For them to come to the university to declare an interest in a field of study -- and want that interest to be represented by faculty, by research possibilities, classes – and essentially being told you can’t, I think is a real injustice to them,” Martinez Hosang said.

Eighty-seven Yale students have declared ER&M as their major.

A group of them have been calling for the program to receive departmental status. Janis Jin, a junior, supports the position taken by the Yale faculty members.

“Our faculty are leaving because they think they won’t get tenure or because they have better opportunities at other universities,” Jin said. “With the turnover rate being so high, we’re losing a lot of professors and that means less mentorship for students, less research opportunities for students -- it really impacts our education.”

Yale president Peter Salovey told Connecticut Public Radio that he thinks the school has already provided full-time support for the program. He said in a written statement that the school hired two faculty members for ER&M in 2018 and that it plans to hire two more this year.

“We greatly value the work of our faculty colleagues in ER&M, and we regret their decision to withdraw from it, and in this manner,” Salovey said. “Yale will make sure that affected students are given the resources and support they need, and we remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached that works well for everyone.”

As it stands, Martinez Hosang said he won’t be returning to the program unless the university “addresses the situation.”

Correction: a caption in this article previously referred to those involved as law professors. They are from other discplines.

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