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Excerpted From: Vernellia R. Randall, Presumption of Incompetence - Response to Denial of Promotion by the University of Dayton School of Law, November 30, 1993 (November 19, 2019).
This memo is written in response to the PRT committee's draft report for promotion to associate professor dated November 11, 1993.
My specific response is as follows:
The PRT committee acted arbitrarily in reviewing my teaching, in selecting classes for review, and in using historical tapes rather than current tapes in the review. Furthermore, the PRT committee ignored previous evaluations of my teaching including a comprehensive evaluation done April, 1993 (five months earlier). More importantly, notwithstanding the "alleged mistakes" noted, my teaching is "more than consistent with quality instruction". Furthermore, as a person who has to taught for only three years, the quantity and quality of my scholarship is substantial. The PRT committee is mistaken in implying that my significant "service" is the cause of any of "alleged problems". Finally, my language is perfectly understandable to all who speak English and the students in this institution are not at all compromised
I am a more than competent teacher with significant scholarship and significant service.
[. . .]
Four years ago in preparation for teaching, I researched, among other things, the role of African-American law professors in the Academy. I came across Andrew Haines's provocative law review article, Minority Law Professors and the Myth of Sisyphus: Consciousness and Praxis within the Special Teaching Challenge in American law schools. Prof. Haines sees the minority law professor as a modern-day Sisyphus – being punished for daring to enter the Academy.
According to Greek mythology, the gods meted out punishment for Sisyphus' conduct. The gods condemned him to roll a rock to the top of the mountain. However, whenever he reached the mountaintop the rock would roll back to the bottom. Consequently, Sisyphus' task was seemingly futile and never-ending [. . .] This myth illustrates the difficult condition of minority law professors within American law schools. [. . .] Sisyphus conduct before and during his punishment, and his conduct during imprisonment all enumerate the travels and travails of minority law professors.
According to Prof. Haines no matter how much a minority law professors achieves in teaching, scholarship and service, no matter how well the minority law professor performs, race – base professional jealousy will result in "naked and constant professional bombardment of all facets of teaching and scholarship."
I never fully appreciate what he meant before.
I do now.