A dozen members of the fine-arts faculty at Parsons the New School for Design have been told that they will not be teaching in the department in the fall. The move has ignited further conflict at the New School, whose embattled president, Bob Kerrey, received an overwhelming no-confidence vote from the university’s full-time faculty in December.
Of the 42 fine-arts professors at Parsons — all working artists — 39 teach part time. On March 10 nine professors, who taught on either a semester-to-semester or year-to-year basis, received e-mail messages that said they would not be reappointed for the 2009-10 academic year. “We thank you for your work with us at the New School and wish you well in your future endeavors,” the message read.
Three others who had been guaranteed a course load each semester received e-mail messages indicating that they would be teaching at the university but not in the fine-arts program. They have yet to be assigned courses.
Faculty members at Parsons and at other area universities are protesting the action. “If they can get away with doing it to these people, they’ll do it to us,” said Laurence Hegarty, a part-time professor at Parsons. “It is wrong to fire people, for no good reason, who have excellent track records as teachers, excellent track records as artists.”