Student, Alumni Statement of Support for Professor Scott Morgensen

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We, the undersigned students and alumni of Macalester College, issue the following statement of support for Dr. Scott Morgensen, Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, in reaction to his recent tenure denial. For the last six years, Dr. Morgensen has brought boundless energy and acumen to the field of Queer Studies, and to teaching at Macalester College. He is in equal parts brilliant scholar, accessible adviser, engaging professor, mentor, and leader in the community. His participation both in Macalester and the broader community reflects his commitment to critical engagement with public life, most particularly the studies and movements of marginalized peoples. Moreover, Dr. Morgensen stands as a beacon of support for students on all corners of the globe researching and working on issues of gender, race, class, and sexuality.

As students, we feel that Dr. Morgensen is an irreplaceable asset to the Macalester Community. We who have worked with him in classes, independent projects, internships, the Institute for Global Citizenship, or as advisees understand in our hearts and minds the true value of Professor Morgensen’s contribution to our lives as critical scholars, reflective learners, and as human beings engaged in our communities. As a citizen-scholar, Dr. Morgensen embodies the values of Macalester College that many of us aspire to uphold. He and his groundbreaking scholarship serve as role models for countless Macalester students, staff, and faculty, past and present.

We regard the decision to deny tenure to a faculty member of Dr. Morgensen’s caliber for the sole tenure-track position in WGSS as a momentous step backward in terms of Macalester’s institutional commitment to the study of the lived experiences of marginalized peoples.

Macalester College prides itself in being a “preeminent liberal arts college” with “special emphasis on internationalism, multiculturalism, and service to the community.” The WGSS department plays a critical role in this mission by providing courses which focus on the lived experiences of marginalized peoples in local, national, international, and transnational communities. Dr. Morgensen’s tenure denial means that the department is left with only one full-time faculty member, jeopardizing the stability and existence of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Macalester.

While it is the College’s practice to fill positions left open by tenure denials, there is no guarantee that the Allocations Committee will fulfill such a request or require the position be allotted to a Queer Studies scholar. This is cause for great concern. Yet even if a Queer Studies position is allotted, we have no guarantee that the incoming professor will match the teaching excellence and cutting edge scholarship of Dr. Morgensen.

We write, therefore, to express our outrage and disappointment with this decision. However, we also write to express our hope that Macalester will live out its values. Unfortunately, Dr. Morgensen’s tenure denial is not the first denial of tenure to a Queer Studies professor. A disturbing trend has developed throughout universities nationwide, denying tenure to Queer Studies professors highly respected by their students and peers. This indicates an institutional failure to assess interdisciplinary and marginalized scholarship on its own terms.

We see Dr. Morgensen’s tenure denial as an opportunity; an opportunity for Macalester to stand out among universities as a college willing to live out its values, to critically assess its institutional practices with the same intellectual rigor that we, as students and alums, have come to expect of its classrooms.

Consequently, we are heartened but not surprised by the substantial demonstration of solidarity by students, parents, staff, faculty and alumni with Dr. Morgensen and the WGSS Department. Such support has doubtlessly been a source of vital encouragement to Dr. Morgensen in his move to appeal the denial decision.

We are calling upon key actors to uphold Macalester’s institutional values, as Dr. Morgensen has always done, as the appeals process goes forward. As some of the many lives Dr. Morgensen has touched through his work, we care deeply about this decision for many reasons – for Dr. Morgensen, for ourselves, for the school, for the fields of WGSS, American Studies and Queer Studies, and for the future of scholarship concerning the lived experience of marginalized peoples at Macalester and in the world.

We understand that we cannot rightly know or affect the details of the appeal process. We can, however, offer a simple promise: Over the coming months, as the process goes on, nothing-neither our attention nor our solidarity-will wane. We will continue to speak out. Macalester’s institutional values demand no less.
We only ask that Macalester take up this opportunity, for that would truly be a reason to have Scots pride!

Bobbi Gass
David Kroening Seitz
Zoe Christianson
Shivaun Watchorn
Annie Gonzalez
Adi Heller
Perry Bellow-Handelman
Jenna Styles
Matthew Won
Timothy DenHerder-Thomas
Alexandra Douglas
Sarah Halloran
Stephanie Nelson
Sara Elizabeth Berger
Carmen Phillips
Kirsten Kohlhase
Brendan Rogers
Lynn Cohen
Molly Brown
Aaron Rosenblum
Tinbete Ermyas
Allison MacWilliams-Brooks
Sarah Welch
Lily Radkoff
Miriam Larson
Aaron M. Brosier
Davita Flowers-Shanklin
Cael Warren
Lauren Appelwick
Emma Gallegos
Stephanie Kobbe
Rachel Cole
Claudia Leung
Hillary Mohaupt
Caroline Rendon
Linda Nguyen
Anna S. Min
Rebecca Holohan
Renee Lepreau
Jesse Mortenson
Adrian Croke
Susanna Hostetter
Anna Hankins
Aaron Brown
Martha Truax
Michelle Thomas
Sophia Kast
Jessie Taggart
Justin Lee
Laura Price-Waldman
Oliver Cano
Kayla Burchuk
Marie Gray
Karmela Jones
Helen Nelli Thomas
Anne Reeder
Ola Switala
Abby Seeskin
Margarite Blignaut
Hannah Rivenburgh
Callie Thuma
Tsione Wolde-Michael
Michael Eastwood
Sandy Robson
Angela Gutierrez
Stephanie Stoumbelis
Elizabeth Kamerer
Grace K. King
Joshua Porte
Emily Joan Smith
Julia Quanrud
Krista Jankowski
Peter Myers
Ariel Dumas
Danielle Nelson
Hannah Emple
Candace Martin
Hector F. Pascual Alvarez
Amelia Furrow
Jessica Light
Danielle Sigwalt
Keelin Yenney
David Boehnke
Mik Kinkead
Molly Knefel
Leah Roth-Howe
Peter Kirschmann
Veronique Bergeron
Elsa Miguel Leal
Graham Turner
Justin Bigelow
Casey Birch
Natasha Suelflow
Michael McNamara
Diana Marianetti
Joshua Aaker
Melinda Suelflow
Aaron Block
Abby Woodworth
Emily Cox
Julie Gaynin
Elizabeth Newman
Emily S. Walsh
Megan Stevenson
Anwar Paz
Eliza K. Schrader
Jessica Fishken-Harkins
Jenna Johnson
Sofia Rosenblum
Elliott Niblock
Maleeha Rizwy
Ryan Murphy
Paper Buck
Colleen Stockmann
Christine Basile
Freda Fair
Mary Suelflow
Suzanne Shaffer
Kyle Archer
Alexandra Zoellner
Peter Crandall
Kyera Singleton
Nicole Kligerman
Rita Van Allen
Anna Wielgosz
Megan Macpherson
Emily Gastineau
Meg Duhr-Schultz
Cary Walski
Lauren Dobbins Webb
Cassie Veach
Sam Worley-Ekstrom
Caitlyn Cohen
Molly Griffard
Emily Skidmore
Gretchen Solomon
Peter Valelly
Anna Rockne
Carl Summers
Celeste Prince
Hayley Koenig
Ykatirina Cardenas
Sallem Berhane
Aaron Johnson-Ortiz
Dana Terres
Elisabeth Golub
Helinna Ayalew
Danielle Hagen
Shiveta Vaid
Stacey Liou
Grace Zaiman
Kristen Stoeckeler
Gao Nue Xiong
Emily Hedin
Rebecca Sheff
Alissabeth Ridenour
Yongho Kim
Betsy Salvatore
Will Howell
Miki Palchick