Students protest Stanford history professor Aishwary Kumar’s tenure denial

Historians in the News
tags: Stanford, Aishwary Kumar



Several students held a demonstration at the History Corner on Thursday to protest the history department’s decision to deny tenure to Aishwary Kumar, an assistant professor of history. The demonstrators handed out information materials and refurbished Building 200 with a variety of printed signs and banners expressing outrage over the tenure decision and featuring testimonials from Kumar’s students that praised the professor’s work. The students also put caution tape on the building’s railings until a University representative arrived and instructed them to remove the tape.

The protesters, who had organized to hold the demonstration independent of other on-campus organizations, expressed concern about the secrecy involved in the tenure process and that the history department did not give adequate respect to Kumar’s area of study.

Some of the protesters had been personally moved by Kumar’s teaching. “He has singularly embodied my Stanford experience. If Stanford gets rid of what Stanford is for me, what is Stanford any more?” said Lara Prior-Palmer ’17.

Prior-Palmer explained that Kumar’s classes were uncommon at Stanford, which she sees as “undervaluing” traditions of thought from the global south.

According to Prior-Palmer, Kumar’s teaching had been important in persuading some students who might have majored in engineering fields to major in the humanities instead. Prior-Palmer also expressed concern that Kumar’s departure would leave Stanford without an expert on non-Western intellectual history. ...




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