San Jose State University
Originally published 06/21/2013
Tony Platt is a visiting professor of justice studies at San Jose State University and the author of "Grave Matters: Excavating California's Buried Past."In 1974, Berkeley's distinguished anthropologist Robert Heizer issued a public mea culpa for the practices of his profession in treating "California Indians as though they were objects." In particular, he apologized for the "continued digging up of the graves of their ancestors."In 1999, the department of anthropology at Berkeley issued an apology to the cultural descendants of Ishi, a Yahi native, for sending his brain to the Smithsonian after his death in 1916. "We regret our department's role in what happened to Ishi, a man who had already lost all that was dear to him."This was a good beginning to a journey of accountability and reconciliation. But since then, the University of California has been largely silent about its role as the legal owner of a vast collection of native remains stashed in basements in campuses throughout the state. It owes at the very least 10,000 more apologies....
Originally published 05/26/2013
In a nationwide push to experiment with online university courses, San Jose State stands at the forefront, making deals with private sector startups to package lectures from Ivy League professors and opening some for-credit classes to the masses.Now, a counterrevolution is underway.In recent weeks, humanities professors -- feeling the withering of their departments and fearing virtual demotions -- have begun to resist calls to abandon traditional teaching methods. In an open letter to a Harvard University professor who offered San Jose State his online social justice course, Cal State philosophy professors argue that momentum is building to dismantle college as we know it, a concern echoing through academic halls nationwide....The letter resonated with Bruce Reynolds, a San Jose State history professor nearing retirement. He said he and his colleagues are frustrated that traditional teaching methods have been dismissed as passe."The philosophy department letter was what woke people up, I think," he said....