SPARACIO | On Professors and Petitions: We The Students?  

When a student petition successfully led to the firing of a New York University chemistry professor, there were mixed responses amongst students, educators and administrators. An incident like this, where students held enough power to demand such a change, would not have happened 50 years ago. While there are many similarities between being a student today and being a student in the past — the same struggles of fitting in, first relationships, difficult academics and so on exist — there are also significant differences. The time that we live in dictates what it means to be a college student. 

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Prof. Caruth clarifies decision to sign letter re: NYU prof. found guilty of sexual harassment

To the Editor:

I have recently had meaningful discussions with several graduate students from Cornell, who have encouraged me to explain to others what I have said to them about the signing of the letter concerning Avital Ronell. I am grateful to these students for their willingness to speak and to listen and to allow me to do the same. I explained to them that, although I have offered to the Cornell students to speak to them either individually or, by anonymous request, as a group, I have previously been reluctant to issue a formal statement or be interviewed for a paper. This is because of the likelihood of distortion in these contexts and because of the tendency for explanations to appear to be excuses, or to appear as attempts to purify oneself by condemning others. Nonetheless, as the students have indicated to me, they found it helpful to hear some of the context for my signing (and that of others), so I am reiterating my comments here.