We have very important news on our home-front. Dr. Jane Iwamura, Assistant Professor of Religion and American Studies here at USC, was denied tenure by the University.
Academic tenure allows faculty to have their academic freedom without being persecuted by the University Administration if those opinions, ideas or teaching methods are not align with popular opinion. Tenure has always been difficult to ascertain at Private Universities since the administrations are very selective on who they allow to have that level of job security. Therefore professors at private institutions do not have any statutory rights like their, public university counterparts, and are not allowed due process when disciplined. Because tenure is considered contractual and they only have a right to a hearing as provided for in their contract. Here you can the process for tenure at USC, and here is the process for the University of California. You can see the difference is staggering.
But back to Dr. Iwamura. She as been with USC as an Assistant Professor since 2000 she received degrees from both the University of California, Berkley and Harvard University (Divinity School). She is also the author of Virtual Orientalism: Asian Religions and American Popular Culture, the co-editor of the groundbreaking volume, Revealing the Sacred in Asian and Pacific America along with many journal articles about Asian Religions, Asian Americans and their Faith in many prominent academic journals. On top of that she has received numerous awards for her academic research and her teaching at USC including the Albert S. Raubenheimer Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in 2007 (The highest award of recognition for research, teaching, and service given to junior faculty in the USC College) and USC Mellon Award For Excellence In Mentoring in 2006.
Clearly Dr. Iwamura is very deserving of tenure and it is a shame that she was denied it. Below is the petition in the effort to get Dr. Iwamura her tenure. We at SCAPE urge you all very much to sign the petition below to support Dr. Iwamura to get her the tenure she rightfully deserves. And as always, as the situation develops we’ll be there to bring it to you.