Despite repeated inquiries by telephone and email to Senior Vice President Sallie Huntting, I’ve received no answers to any of my questions on recent policy changes.
I’ve learned that a U.S. District Court lawsuit was filed against the Academy of Art University back in September by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a courier. The suit alleged that a manager subjected this African-American employee to repeated racial slurs. I haven’t determined whether this lawsuit has had any bearing on current policy changes, which were instituted at the beginning of the current semester.
The policy changes, as reported to Neil Gaiman by Daniel Handler last night and as I learned from both Jan Richman (the instructor who wasn’t rehired) and a source who wishes to remain anonymous, are as follows: Shortly after the student story incident, there was a series of individual meetings between administrative heads and instructors. The school then required all instructors to approve any supplemental instructional materials through administration. Students are no longer permitted to distribute their work to fellow students. The teacher must now see the work and approve it first. Before the current semester, teachers were allowed to use whatever materials they wanted, with stories and artwork passing directly into the classroom without any safeguards.
Alan Kaufman, another Academy of Art instructor, has had writers attending his classes to discuss the matter. As reported in the intiial Chronicle story, one of Kaufman’s students had been asked to leave when she submitted a paper related to suicide threats. I asked Kaufman if I could speak to him at length about this, but because I didn’t belong to a major media outlet and this was “a sensitive issue,” he declined.
I’ve also made efforts to track down the student. The student hasn’t talked to any reporters yet.
I will get my interview with Richman up later this week.