Letter to Provost McLaughlin

Letter to Provost McLaughlin
November 17, 2013

 To: Provost McLaughlin

From: Members of FASP

In recent months, you have expressed highly critical opinions about the reports of FASP, and have circulated commentary by John Beckman that is even more disparaging. The faculty members in question have been accused of “incivility,” “factual misrepresentations,” and “false claims.”

We are disappointed to see NYU’s chief academic officer construct, or endorse, these charges against his own faculty. Faculty opinion is a matter of academic freedom, not a test of civility or institutional loyalty. More to the point, we take issue with the often voiced allegation that FASP’s research is “verifiably untrue.” Mr. Beckman’s language is more colorful yet–he has accused us of “gleeful malice,” “vitriol,” and of “Swift-boating.”

Leaving aside Mr. Beckman’s ad hominem rhetoric, we believe it is important to set the record straight, and that the university community deserves to hear a debate about the disputed facts. The issues in question go to the core of NYU’s identity, and so they should not be treated lightly.

A public dialogue is the best forum to address them, and so we are asking you, along with one or more administrators, to participate in such an event. Doing so will be a genuine service to faculty and students alike. Please let us know if you will accept the invitation.

(On Behalf of NYU-FASP)

Anna McCarthy, TSOA

Stephen Duncombe, Gallatin

Christine Harrington, FAS

Rebecca Karl, FAS

Mark Crispin Miller, Steinhardt

Marie Monaco, SOM

Andrew Ross, FAS

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