Posted on April 1, 2011

KSU’s New Race, Gender Department Under Scrutiny

John Gillooly, Marietta Daily Journal, March 29, 2011

The creation of a new department at Kennesaw State University that would house various racial, gender and environmental programs has come under fire from one longtime KSU professor who sees it as a hive for radical indoctrination.

In the next month or so, KSU Interim Provost Dr. Ken Harmon will determine whether to greenlight a new department within KSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences called The Department of Cultural and Regional Studies. That department would have seven academic programs under its banner: African and African Diaspora Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, Environmental Studies, Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, Peace Studies and American Studies.

“This is being put together by a bunch of activists,” said Dr. Melvyn Fein, a tenured professor of sociology at KSU. “These folks do not have degrees in what they pretend to teach. To call it neo-Marxist is being very modest. These are activists who are going to use this to try and indoctrinate instead of teach.”

But Arlethia Perry-Johnson, KSU’s vice president for external affairs, said the seven programs that would make up the new department already exist at KSU, and the proposal is to simply consolidate them into one department. Bringing together professors who teach similar subject matter creates synergies and aides in communication, she said.

{snip}[Assistant Professor of Pholosophy and Peace Studies coordinator Thomas M.] Pynn recently introduced KSU President Dan Papp at an event where he described “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx as “a call to conscience.”


Fein accused the professors in question of trying to push through subject matter in the proposed new department that they have failed to get approved in existing departments. Once the new department is created, Fein said it would intrude on courses taught in other departments, by claiming to have a stake in them.

“It’s going to be detrimental to the reputation of the university as a serious school,” Fein said.

There’s a reason why programs such as women’s studies are on the decline nationwide, he said.

“Departments are closing around the country because students have learned, among other things, that if they want to get a job they shouldn’t major in them. If your major is in women’s studies, any employer who hires you is crazy. You’re hiring a lawsuit, for heaven’s sake,” Fein said.

Among the subjects offered under the Gender and Women’s Studies program, according to KSU’s website, are Gender in Popular Culture, Transnational Feminisms, Black Feminisms, and “Queer Theory & Sexuality.” The latter describes itself as “an interdisciplinary course that considers the global emergence and significance of theories and practices that 1) refute and destabilize the notion of an essential, normative sexuality and gender, and 2) suggest that sexuality is fluid and varied and is constructed by social, political, and economic factors.”