Dear New Century College Faculty and Administrators,
A letter which has circulated among faculty and students has brought to light troubling information about the Arison Group which has donated funds for an endowed professorship of Doing Good Values in New Century College. Shari Arison, the owner of Arison Group will be acknowledged at George Mason University’s 2013 commencement ceremonies, receiving an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
As graduate teaching assistants and graduate lecturers at New Century College, we have appreciated the college’s inclusiveness, intellectual freedom and commitment to social justice. However, we are concerned that NCC’s relationship with the Arison Group may contradict many of the values of NCC which we hold dear, and which could impact our students’ experiences and the public perception of the college.
NCC describes its commitment to equity “as fairness in the distribution of rights and resources to populations, especially those who are often disenfranchised.” We worry that a professorship endowed by the Arison Group serves as an endorsement for the Arison Group’s involvement with Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and the construction of the Apartheid Wall, actions completely contrary to NCC’s stated commitments. We think that asking Palestinian students and their families to sit through a commencement that honors someone who has profited from their dispossession fails to support students, faculty and staff who have been the victims of bias and discrimination. We also fear that this relationship may set an alarming precedent for future corporate collaborations, which could be at odds with NCC’s stated commitments to diversity, equity, and sustainability.
Because we firmly believe in New Century College’s dedication to creating an environment that engages diverse points of view, we would like to see a critical discussion about the current relationship with Arison Group, how this may affect the college, and the conditions for future financial and academic partnerships. We ask that these discussions are sustained as long as necessary to resolve our concerns.
Graduate Teaching Assistants