Students, faculty and administrators decried an assistant English professor's tenure denial yesterday, calling the decision "scandalous" and detrimental to the department. Students and faculty said that Assistant English Professor Arkady Plotnitsky's tenure denial will leave a void in the English department, as well as several other related departments. "I think it is a grave and incomprehensible error," Associate English Professor Vicki Mahaffey said yesterday. "He's fluent in four languages, he has two forthcoming books . . . he's conversant in three disciplines. He's a wonderful teacher of both graduates and undergraduates. I can't imagine what [the committee would] want." Plotnitsky's departure from the University would affect several departments because the professor teaches a required course for Comparative Literature, Romance Languages, Slavic Languages graduate students. Plotnitsky, who is currently in his seventh year at the University, was denied this week in his second attempt to gain tenure at the University. Without tenure, the professor's career at the University will end in May. According to University policy, a tenure-track professor must receive a tenure appointment by the end of his seventh year. Many professors, like Plotnitsky, apply for a permanent appointment in their sixth and seventh years. Plotnitsky said yesterday he is confused by the School of Arts and Sciences Personnel Committee's decision because when he was denied tenure last year, the committee unanimously asked him to resubmit his request for tenure this year. Plotnitsky added that he was led to believe that the first decision was a postponement of tenure, rather than a rejection. "They had very high praise of my scholarship and led me to expect that in resubmission I would get tenure," Plotnitsky said. "I was told that I was an exceptional asset to the University." English Department Chairperson John Richetti said yesterday that Plotnitsky received almost unanimous support from his department colleagues, who sent letters of recommendation to the Personnel Committee. Plotnitsky said he received 24 votes of support from the department, no votes against him, with two abstentions. Currently, two books written by Plotnitsky have been accepted for publication, one book is in manuscript form and another is unfinished. He has also published several articles in the past year. University students said last night that Plotnitsky's tenure denial will have serious ramifications for the English department because he is a literary theory and romanticism expert. If Plotnitsky were to leave the University, the English department would be unable to replace him due to an SAS-wide hiring freeze. Katherine Milligan, a first-year comparative literature graduate student, said last night that although others have taught the theory class in the past, none have been as widely published in literary theory as Plotnitsky. "I think he is very good in the classroom and particularly in one-on-one situations, he remembers things about students," Milligan added. "Yes, I think it is a shame and I think it will be a definite loss to the departments that require his theory class." Personnel Committee Chairperson William Telfer said last night that he is bound by confidentiality rules from discussing Plotnitsky's situation. Plotnitsky said he is currently investigating an appeal procedure and is "in principle" looking for another job. Although SAS Dean Rosemary Stevens has imposed a hiring freeze for the school, Richetti said he does not believe Plotnitsky's tenure denial was economically motivated and said the Personnel Committee acted "honorably."Comments powered by Disqus
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