As previously reported, Temple University students, alumni, and Philadelphia community leaders were outraged by alleged racist attacks on the Department of African American Studies carried out by College of Liberal Arts Dean Teresa Soufas. A writer from BlackBlueDog.com spoke with Dean Soufas on Tuesday, and although the dean had said she would send a statement via email to our writer, she never did.
Professor Molefi Kete Asante, who launched the nation’s first doctoral program in African-American studies at Temple 25 years ago, will again chair the university’s African-American studies department. The announcement was made on Thursday. Although Asante and Soufas have had a rocky relationship in the past, Soufas met with Asante after faculty members nominated him for the vacant position, and she appointed him as chair. “I accepted the position and told her I wanted to move the department to the vanguard position in the African-American studies field that it used to be in the ’80s and ’90s,” he said.
Asante served as department chair from 1984 to 1997, unti he was ousted amid plagiarism allegations, which he say are unwarranted. Although members of the faculty are happy Soufas did the right thing, they believe she only made the decision after succumbing to pressure. “I’m very happy to see that the dean decided to become rational and reasonable about this,” professor Ama Mazama, chair of the faculty committee that nominated Asante, said Thursday. “She didn’t do this willingly. She did this because of the pressure we exercised.” Soufas’ decision comes after students held a second rally protesting her decisions about the department last week. The Your Black World Network readers rallied behind the students, alumni, faculty members, and community leaders to place pressure on Soufas to make the right decision.