Recently in Inside Higher Ed , I wrote, along with three of my UVenus  colleagues, a response to Rumana Munzur's situation entitled "Refusing  to  Be  Silent ." In the comments, we were called "cowardly" for actually speaking out on the subject, however tentatively; nowhere else have I read reactions from academics about the tragedy. On the Chronicle . com 's Brainstorm  blog, Naomi Schaefer Riley reacts to the  silence  of  the  faculty  and  university  at  large  in response to the tragedy of Antonio  Calvo ' s  suicide . Last month, I was taken to task for daring to suggest that either tenure  or  some  other  form  of  protection  be offered so that academics may, indeed, be free to speak out about the direction of their universities.
It is politically incorrect within higher education at the moment to agree with what Shaefer Riley has to say, but I have to admit that I, too, was struck by the silence surrounding Calvo's dismissal from Princeton. Struck is the wrong word. Appalled. Aghast. Disgusted. This is the silence I am refusing. The silence that allows for those who are in more precarious positions within academia to be manipulated, exploited, and negated. If you don't like it, then leave, I was told. No. I will not. I refuse silence.
It was disheartening to me to read so many people dismiss Shaefer Riley because they disagreed with her ideas about tenure (not to mention her politics). We may disagree about many things, but I agree that the situation that has unfolded at Princeton is a strong indicator that tenure isn't currently working, but also that those who are off the tenure-track need stronger protections. I was also encouraged in the comments to find I wasn't the only one. We will probably never know what happened, as the walls have been thrown up and silence now reigns, but we can speak out about how this situation, and so many like it that don't end in tragedy, are allowed to occur in a supposedly progressive environment.
I am particularly sensitive to Calvo's precarious immigration situation; I, too, am here legally but contingently; if something were to happen to my job, my status here would be in jeopardy. How many international scholars are silenced for fear that they may lose their one means to stay legally in their adoptive home? How many instructors are put into administrative  positions  without the additional support and voice that tenure (supposedly) provides? I also can't help but wonder about the current priorities in higher education; the instructor that Calvo supposedly clashed with is the wife of a research professor in the hard sciences ("nuclear energy expert"). Is it that Calvo was truly difficult to work with, or is it that he clashed with a person with more "political" clout?
These are the discussions that are not taking place right now. I resent being called cowardly when there are so few of us writing and examining these issues. I rejoiced when fellow blogger and agitator Isaac  Sweeny  wrote his post "Want  the  Tenure - Track ? Don ' t  Keep  Quiet ." I will not be shamed into silence, nor will I simply take my toys and leave. This is not how higher education will grow and improve. I refuse to be silent, I refuse to accept the status quo, and I refuse to believe that none of this makes any difference.
Morehead, Kentucky in the US
Lee Elaine Skallerup has a PhD from the University of Alberta in Comparative Literature. She has taught in two Canadian provinces and three States, and is now branching out as an Edupreneur. You can visit her blog at collegereadywriting.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter (@readywriting). Lee is also a member of the editorial collective at University of Venus .