Nine protesters in favor of reinstating African American studies professor Anthony Monteiro held a sit-in Monday on the 12th floor of Anderson Hall and were promised a meeting with Provost Hai-Lung Dai this Thursday.
Jim Creedon, senior vice president for construction, facilities, and operations, made the call to the protesters around 5 p.m. and said that three students could meet with Dai, who had previously promised the protesters a meeting “sometime before graduation.”
“If it’s not about getting Monteiro reinstated, we’re going to walk out,” said Jim Sullivan, 31, of Philadelphia.
Around noon, the nine students and community members arrived on the 12th floor, where the office of College of Liberal Arts Dean Teresa Soufas is located. “[Soufas] ran from us,” senior African American studies major and protester Kashara White told the crowd after she and the other eight students came back to street level.
“Dean Soufas kept to her regular schedule yesterday, with meetings in Anderson Hall and later in Sullivan Hall,” Temple spokesman Ray Betzner said on Soufas’ behalf. “She did not change her schedule.”
Outside, near the main entrance of the building, sophomore therapeutic recreation major Lynn Mathieu stood with a megaphone shouting along with a group of protestors gathered in front of her. As she and other students chanted, some bystanders gathered to witness the commotion, while others ignored the protests, which have been held regularly since the beginning of March.
“A lot of people did not acknowledge this today,” Mathieu said of students walking by. “They did not realize that what we’re fighting for.”
The crowd also gathered around the megaphone to hear a live stream of protester Paul-Winston Cange’s interview on WURD, an African-American owned and operated radio station.
Monteiro, a non-tenure track associate African American studies professor, was notified in February that his contract would not be renewed for the next academic year. Monteiro and his supporters claimed the decision was a “retaliatory firing” in response to his activism and call for the firing of College of Liberal Arts Dean Teresa Soufas, the reinstatement of Monteiro with tenure, and more student involvement in administrative decision making.
Soufas and African American studies chair Molefi Asante say the decision was not renew Monteiro’s contract was made as part of a overall shift in the department curriculum.
The meeting between the protesters and Dai will take place in an unspecified location in the “early afternoon” on Thursday, Betzner said.
Joe Brandt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JBrandt_TU.
*Update: This article was updated at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 29 to include comment from university spokesman Ray Betzner.