on the fall 2002 course "The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian
21 May 2002
close consultation with the English Department, the Berkeley
Division of the Academic Senate, and the graduate student instructor
of the course, University of California, Berkeley administrators
announced the following:
English Department has acknowledged a lapse in oversight of
its reading and composition courses. When the course description
in question was called to the attention of the department
chair, and particularly the final sentence that implied exclusion
based on one's political persuasion, the chair and the graduate
student instructor removed the sentence. In addition, the
graduate student instructor amended the course description
to clarify what will be taught and the methodology for achieving
the instructional purposes of the course, consistent with
the requirements of English 1A.
in any course have the right to express themselves openly
and to have their work evaluated free of discrimination or
harassment. In this case, the English Department chair will
explicitly advise students enrolled in the class of this right.
If students believe that these rights are compromised, they
are to contact the department chair immediately. The English
Department is committed to guaranteeing students that their
evaluations are based solely on their academic performance,
not their political viewpoint.
observation and mentoring of graduate student instructors
in all departments and instructional programs are important
to their training as teachers and to ensuring that the educational
goals of the course are met. Because of the controversy aroused
by this course and the potential in-class conflict that could
ensue, the English Department - to assure fairness to all
parties in the class - will assume responsibility for regular
observation of the class and mentoring of the instructor.
joint Academic Senate/administrative committee will review
the principles and practices of mentoring and overseeing all
courses led by graduate student instructors.
The course in question is an English 1A class, the first semester
of a year-long sequence in reading and composition required
of undergraduates at UC Berkeley. A wide variety of such courses
are available and spread across 20 academic departments. These
courses are taught by lecturers or graduate student instructors.
Graduate student instructors act as apprentice teachers and
are mentored by Academic Senate faculty.