The winners of the 2016 National Book Awards were announced Wednesday night.
Ibram X. Kendi, assistant professor of African-American history at the University of Florida, won the award for nonfiction for Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Nation Books).
Daniel Borzutzky won the award for poetry for The Performance of Becoming Human (Brooklyn Arts Press). He has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Koç University in Istanbul and Wilbur Wright College of the City Colleges of Chicago.
Colson Whitehead won the award for fiction for The Underground Railroad (Doubleday/Penguin Random House). He has been a writer in residence at Vassar College, the University of Richmond and the University of Wyoming.
Kevin Allred, an adjunct professor at Rutgers University at New Brunswick and an active social media user, wrote on Twitter that some of his anti-Donald Trump tweets prompted the university to have the New York City Police Department visit him and require him to undergo a psychological evaluation.
NYPD just came to my house bc Rutgers Police told them i'm a threat based on political statements i've made on campus and on twitter.
Allred acknowledged in a series of tweets that he had been outspoken in his criticisms of Trump, but said that his comments were clearly rhetoric and gave no reason for Rutgers to ask that he be evaluated.
A Rutgers spokesperson told NJ.com, "The Rutgers University Police Department responded to a complaint from a student and took all appropriate action. We have no further comment."
Another professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has been found guilty of sexually harassing a student in violation of institutional rules, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. A five-month investigation by Berkeley found that Nezar AlSayyad, a professor of architecture, planning and urban design, spent months becoming close to, or "grooming," a graduate student before placing his hand on her upper thigh and proposing that they travel together to Las Vegas. The Chronicle found two additional allegations of harassment against the professor. In an alleged incident that happened more than 20 years ago and was never investigated, a student complained that she felt taken advantage of after she and AlSayyad had sex; a third student accused him of sexual misconduct this spring, and an investigation is pending. He is reportedly barred from teaching next semester.
AlSayyad denied all allegations of misconduct in an interview and told the Chronicle that he'd fight any suspension from teaching. He said administrators are overreacting to his case for fear of being perceived as soft on sexual harassment. Berkeley was criticized last year for not firing a professor of astronomy found to have sexually harassed a series of graduate students over many years; he eventually resigned. Another assistant professor of South and Southeast Asian studies at Berkeley is currently suing several students for defamation and “intentional infliction of emotional distress” after they spoke publicly about a university investigation that determined he had violated Berkeley's policies against sexual harassment. That professor is on paid leave as a review of the case is pending. A former law school dean who stepped down after Berkeley found that he harassed his assistant is suing the university, saying that he was treated more harshly that white colleagues accused of harassment because he is of South Asian descent and not a U.S. citizen. The university has said it will fight the suit.
An assistant clinical professor of liberal studies at New York University who he said he was strongly encouraged by administrators to take leave after it was revealed he tweeting anonymously as “Deplorable NYU Prof” has been promoted. Michael Rectenwald, the professor, previously stated that he feared his tweets critical of the university and what he sees as overzealous campus inclusion efforts would negatively affect his bid for promotion. The university has repeatedly said that Rectenwald requested leave, and that social media activity in no way affected its actions.
Rectenwald is still on leave. A university spokesperson said Monday via email that he “received an expected promotion to the rank of clinical professor in accordance with our regular procedures; he and approximately 18 others were put up for this promotion at the same time and all were informed at the same time. … It is customary for such promotions to go forward even when a faculty member requests and chooses to take leave, as is the case here.” There are no tenured positions in liberal studies, according to the university, but the promotion comes with a raise.