A Letter of Support for Prof. Andrew Arato


Many students at NSSR have been stunned to learn that apparently Professor Andrew Arato has been banned from entering almost all New School University buildings and from attending University events, from contacting NSSR faculty and staff, which necessarily entails a ban from participating in academic decision-making processes, and that all of his communications and meetings with students are to be monitored by New School University administration. If this is true, the administration will have made it nearly impossible for students to have an open ongoing intellectual and academic dialogue with Professor Arato. We are deeply concerned about the substantive cumulative negative effect these supposed sanctions would have on our intellectual life, professional training, and further academic pursuits and careers, concerns which we outline in detail below. We are also disturbed by the secretive and discretionary manner in which these sanctions were decided - we are yet to receive any official communication regarding these sanctions. This lack of transparency, communication, and inclusion of students’ interests and input on issues, directly affecting their rights and welfare as students, is unacceptable.
We acknowledge that NSSR faculty are free to determine their own stance vis-à-vis the sanctions on Professor Arato. However, we believe that the manner in which these sanctions were decided and imposed creates a dangerous precedent to the integrity and autonomy of the NSSR faculty and departments. Here, we would like to remind the fact that to our knowledge no complaints have been made against Professor Arato by any student. Yet students are the ones who will be overwhelmingly affected by the punitive measures taken against him. We strongly believe that our rights to academic freedom and educational equity are being violated by the imposition of these sanctions, specifically on the issues of:

● Privacy: The policing and surveillance of all of Prof. Arato’s communications with students, i.e. copying the NSSR Dean or a representative of him in email exchanges, is an outright violation of students’ right to privacy and academic freedom.

● Academic Scholarship: The banning of Prof. Arato from participation in TNS conferences, lectures, and other events deprive students from the benefits of learning from his unique insights and intellectual proficiency by seeing him engaged in academic debates with other faculty and students.

● Mentorship: The relation of students to their faculty advisor is the most crucial aspect of graduate studies. Effective mentorship relies on direct and unobstructed access to advising. Monitoring, circumventing, and limiting that access blatantly violates students’ right to academic freedom and educational equity, and is indicative of academic discrimination against many students who have been either working with or want to work with Professor Arato.

● Academic Development and Institutional Support: Preventing Professor Arato from participating in decision-making processes at the University hinders representation of students’ interests in executive faculty and departmental meeting. Particularly, the twenty plus PhD students under his direct supervision. His absence in admissions, exams, financial aid, fellowships and scholarships, curriculum, and tenure meetings and committees will mean that students who currently work with or want to work with him will be unable to compete for resources the University has available to students. Therefore, current and future NS students are being deprived of an equal opportunity to develop and advance their intellectual projects and professional opportunities. The sanctions imposed on Professor Arato harm us as well by making the ‘playing field’ uneven and unequal; without his support and endorsement in such decision-making processes and forums, many of us will not receive the meagre material and symbolic resources available at this university, or to secure jobs afterwards.Once these sanctions become public (to the rest of NS and the larger academic community), it will affect the reputation of not just Prof. Arato, but all students who have chosen to work with him or be associated with him. This in turn will affect students who are supported by Professor Arato in terms of external grants and other funding, and even future academic positions.

Thus, the effects of these sanctions, and the arbitrary and secretive method in which they were decided, worry us gravely. Again, while students’ academic lives will be adversely affected by these measures, the administration has neglected to inform the student body, failed to adequately reply to student inquiries regarding the reasoning behind the sanctions, and neither consulted students nor took their interests and viewpoints into account. Considering that there is no complaint against Professor Arato by students, we can only draw the conclusion that the TNS administration and the NSSR Dean have taken an approach in sanctioning Professor Arato that completely disregards the effects they have on students.
In addition, it is ironic that at the same time that TNS has been promoting “The New University in Exile Consortium”, the administration has literally banished one of the few professors who still represent and fight for what NSSR as a tradition stands for. For decades, students have come from around the world to the Sociology department at TNS to work with Professor Arato and many students from other NSSR departments have also gravitated toward him. This is due not only to the opportunity the excellence of his scholarship provides for students’ intellectual development, but also because he is honest, open, and respectful towards them. He has consistently been a significant source of institutional support to those NSSR students who have reached out to him, often regardless of their academic or research interests and has consistently stood up for students’ interests.
We are appalled at the administration’s apparent action against Professor Arato. For years it has failed to adequately address repeated complaints of many students about the discriminatory and prejudiced attitudes, behaviors, and statements of various professors and administrators. Professor Arato has never, to our knowledge, been accused of demeaning students, discriminating or being prejudiced against them. Nor do we feel we have suffered this kind of treatment from Professor Arato.
We thus request the immediate removal of sanctions against Professor Arato that interfere with our relationship with him and our academic livelihoods. This would include the resumption of Professor Arato’s ability to:

● teach, mentor and advise continuing and new students during and outside his seminars, classes, and office hours;
● participate fully in NSSR lectures, conferences and seminars;
● participate in meetings and processes of decision-making affecting the students
● meet with students formally and informally anywhere at any time without any prior approval of any third party;
● communicate with students without being monitored by the administration;
● have a designated on-campus space for office hours, if immediate access to 16th Street building cannot be reinstated.


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Prof. Clara Mattei, NSSR
Prof. Cinzia Arruzza, NSSR
Prof. Nancy Fraser, NSSR
Prof. Nidhi Srinivas, Milano
Prof. Andreas Kalyvas, NSSR
Prof. Anwar Shaikh, NSSR
Prof. Chiara Bottici, NSSR
Prof. Dmitri Nikulin, NSSR
Prof. Ann Stoler, NSSR
Prof. Ross Poole, NSSR
Prof. Sanjay Reddy, NSSR
Prof. Eli Zaretsky, NSSR
Prof. Federico Finchelstein, NSSR & LANG
Prof. Hubertus Buchstein, Universität Greifswald
Prof. Joseph Varga, Indiana University
Prof. Nicolas Lynch, Universidad Nacional de San Marcos
Prof. Martin Plot, CALARTS
Prof. Enrique Peruzzotti, Di Tella University
Prof. Uri Ram, Ben Gurion University
Dr. Gerasimos Karavitis (alumnus)
Prof. Nicolas Figueroa (alumnus)
Prof. Raphael Neves (alumnus)
Carolina Angel (alumnus)
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