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Tenure, Twitter and Taking Her Board to Task

Katharine Gerbner has tenure now -- and she’s not afraid to use it.

The historian of religion at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities “celebrated” her new status on Twitter with a 27-tweet thread about what she called the “history of racism and anti-Semitism” at her institution.

“I felt it wasn't wise to share my thoughts until my tenure was approved by the Board of Regents,” she wrote. Why? The same board recently voted down a plan to rename several campus buildings with controversial namesakes, after “silencing” faculty experts who had documented those individuals' racism and anti-Semitism, Gerbner said.

Like many universities, Minnesota is “starting to reckon with its own discriminatory history,” Gerbner explained. She noted that some of that history was displayed two years ago in an exhibit called “A Campus Divided: Progressives, Anticommunists, Racism and Antisemitism at the University of Minnesota, 1930-1942.” And following that exhibit, President Eric W. Kaler formed a task force to further examine racism in the university’s history.

Gerbner said that her own history colleagues involved in the review spent countless hours on it, searching the university’s archives and poring over evidence.

Read entire article at Inside Higher Ed