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Published: Thursday, 6/21/2007

Ex-BGSU instructor says his objection to boss' hiring cost job

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - A former Bowling Green State University ethnic studies instructor said he is out of a job because last year he opposed the hiring of the current chairman of the university's ethnic studies department.

Students and supporters of Carlos Adams are planning a rally at the university tomorrow in hopes of persuading officials to offer Mr. Adams a contract.

The university's board of trustees meets at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

Mr. Adams, who has taught in the department for three years, said he believes he was not rehired this year because he voiced opposition to the hiring of Timothy Messer-Kruse as the department's chairman before the 2006-07 academic year.

Mr. Messer-Kruse's hiring created controversy among some students and faculty because of his race - he is white - and the fact that he had never been a chairman of an ethnic studies department.

He is a former chairman of the University of Toledo's history department.

Mr. Adams, who is Latino, said he was not opposed to Mr. Messer-Kruse personally, but brought up the issue of his hiring in what was seen as a continuation of shrinking opportunities for minorities in leadership positions at the university, particularly in positions that promote diversity.

Mr. Messer-Kruse, the first white to lead the ethnic studies department since it was created some 30 years ago, said Mr. Adams' opposition to his hiring had nothing to do with Mr. Adams not being rehired. He said instructors work on year-to-year contracts.

Mr. Messer-Kruse said a national search for instructors turned up simply better qualified candidates.

"I felt this was a form of retaliation and that if things were done right, I would be teaching [in Bowling Green State] in September," Mr. Adams said. "Things weren't done right. The only thing I can tell you is that I want a similar job with similar pay and benefits."

Mr. Messer-Kruse said the faculty search and review are common throughout the campus and search and review in ethnic studies were done no differently than in other departments.

Teri Sharp, a university spokesman, said Mr. Adams was one of three professors who taught in the ethnic studies department this last school year who wasn't hired back.

"What is a concern to me is individuals who are spreading information that's not true, or misleading individuals on how our department and the university operates," Mr. Messer-Kruse said. "I think it's perfectly acceptable to have students express their interest in certain teachers and publicly support teachers.

"I think if individuals were given the proper information, there would be a lot less fuss about this. Dr. Adams is just one of scores and scores of individuals at this university each year whose contracts expire and apply for new positions and don't obtain those positions. This is routine."

Don Nieman, dean of the university's college of arts and sciences, said he reviewed Mr. Messer-Kruse's hirings and supported them. Mr. Nieman said he does not believe Mr. Adams' opposition to Mr. Messer-Kruse had an impact on the process.

In an April 24 memo obtained by The Blade from Mr. Messer-Kruse to Roger Thibault, an executive associate dean in the college of arts and sciences, Mr. Messer-Kruse gave a brief review of candidates applying for ethnic studies positions, listing their strengths and weaknesses in the view of the hiring committee, also made up of professors Sridevi Menon and Rolando Andrade.

In Mr. Adams' review, Mr. Messer-Kruse stated that there was no need to keep a third person to teach Latino/Latina studies while there were two other professors teaching the subject, and he raised concerns about Mr. Adams' teaching approaches.

Mr. Adams said his students' evaluations were among the highest in the department but were not mentioned in his review comments, while the evaluations were mentioned in support of other professors who were offered contracts.

He said his experience would have allowed him to teach in nearly any ethnic studies course, not just Latino/Latina studies.

Contact Clyde Hughes at:

chughes@theblade.com

or 419-724-6095.



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