Outraged students of Music Professor Paul Moravec areprotesting the College’s decision to deny him tenure.
Jose Perez ’95, a music major and one of Moravec’s students, said he is preparing a written petition and has asked students to send electronic-mail messages to Acting Dean of Faculty Karen Wetterhahn explaining their anger with the decision.
“I find it incomprehensible that one of Dartmouth’s most committed educators did not receive tenure,” Perez said.
Moravec was denied tenure Thursday night, and in accordance with College policy, will be given one year to leave Dartmouth. Moravec was also denied tenure in 1993.
“I am thrilled and deeply touched that the students are protesting this decision,” Moravec, who is appealing the decision, said last night. “I have to say that I am extremely puzzled by this decision.”
Wetterhahn said yesterday she could not comment on specific tenure decisions but said decisions made by the College are final.
The College President approves all tenure decisions based on recommendations by the Advisory Committee to the President, composed of the Dean of the Faculty and six senior faculty members.
The CAP bases its recommendations on the opinion of the professor’s department and an associate dean of the faculty.
Perez said he thinks Moravec was denied tenure because of department politics and not because of his credentials.
“The decision was unfair,” Perez said. “There are serious ideological battles going on in the basement of the Hopkins Center. Moravec is the hapless victim of these battles.”
Shameen Abbasy ’95, also a music major and one of Moravec’s students, said, “I can’t think of any reason why he was not granted tenure except for typical music department politics or because the people who are in charge of the tenure process have no clue what a great teacher Professor Moravec is.”
But Music Department Chair Christian Wolff denies that politics played a role in the decision.
“The decision does not have to do with internal politics,” he said. “Every department is beset will differences of opinion and differences of personality which are sometimes very strong. The music department is no different.”
He said since all tenure decisions are confidential, he could not comment on why Moravec was denied tenure.
“The decision-making process is between the professor’s department and the associate dean and is not meant to go in any other direction,” he said.
But Moravec said he thinks he was well qualified to obtain tenure.
“I was denied tenure not on account of my credentials or the quality of my music, both of which are quite extraordinary,” he said.
Moravec, who began teaching at Dartmouth in 1987, received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his master’s and doctorate degrees in music composition from Columbia University.
He has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts.
In addition, he has had more than 60 published compositions.
Music Professor William Summers said he was surprised by the College’s decision.
“I feel positively about Paul Moravec,” he said. “I think he is an extremely capable teacher, the best lecturer in the department and I have the highest regard for his work.”
“I am quite surprised by the vote. I fully support his promotion with tenure and am sad that this might not happen,” Summers said.
Lara Belena ’95, another of Moravec’s students, said she feels the College’s decision does not adequately reflect the views of the students.
“This is not a testimony to the voice of the students,” she said. “We love him and he does a tremendous amount for students. He is in his office until all hours. He is working for students and this is an academic institution for students.”