Kunz denied tenure after reconsideration
By Robert Huelin
The controversial quest of former Associate Professor of History Diane Kunz,
GRD '89, to receive tenure ended in disappointment on Thurs., Oct. 17. The
Tenured Appointments Committee for Humanities, currently chaired by graduate
school Dean Thomas Appelquist, MAH '76, voted to uphold a decision handed down
last April to deny Kunz tenure. The decision ended any possibility of her
remaining at Yale, as Kunz's contract with the University has already expired.
Kunz had been seeking a senior faculty post in American economic and diplomatic
"We went into the meeting [with the appointments committee] quite confident,"
professor Cynthia Russett, GRD '64, one of Kunz's supporters, said. "We had a
strong set of letters from top-flight people. We thought it went well. We were
stunned by the results...we were at a loss to explain the discrepancy" between
the strength of the evidence and the denial.
"I have no idea why they reached the decision they did," Professor Gaddis
Smith, PC '54, GRD '61, DUS of International Studies and a Kunz supporter,
|Despite her popularity among students and within the history department, Diane Kunz is no longer employed by Yale.
The Kunz case reached an unprecedented level of notoriety when President
Richard Levin, GRD '74, asked for reconsideration of her tenure in September.
The request for a second review was based on the fact that Kunz's third book,
Butter and Guns, was not available in time to be adequately considered
prior to the review committee's initial decision.
"This was a crucial piece of evidence and it needed to be reconsidered," Smith
According to Robin Winks, MAH '64, chairman of the history department, the
policy which allows for a second review, while rarely invoked, was well-used in
"I was hopeful that [a second review] would happen and it did happen. This was
an appropriate application of this procedure," Winks said.
Russett said that the committee reported that it made its decision based on an
assessment of the work completed by the scholar. No official explanation is
ever given by the Committee in a tenure case. Winks said that he received only
a letter announcing the decision, with no other information. No member of the
committee would comment on the Kunz decision.
"I was deeply disappointed by the decision," Winks said.
The loss of Kunz is a blow to the department's strength in the growing field
of international studies, a program Kunz helped to start. Her departure, along
with Smith's new role as the compiler of a history of Yale, leaves only new
professor John Lewis Gaddis to bear most of the responsibility of the IS
"[Gaddis] emphasizes strategy and she emphasizes economics. I think that, had
Professor Kunz been successful, it would have given the department wonderful
strength across the field," Smith said.
According to Winks, the University will now take back the unfilled faculty
position in American economic and diplomatic history while the history
department decides what to do with its resources this year. A search for
another scholar in the same field is possible, but not assured. The history
department as a whole will begin to consider what course to take the next time
the faculty meets.
"In due course, we will obviously ask that question of ourselves, but we have
not as yet," Winks said.
Some faculty were also concerned by the loss of an opportunity to increase the
number of tenured female faculty at Yale. "The presence of good women faculty
is vital. We need good women, and I felt that [Kunz] was one," Russett
commented on Kunz's rejection.
Kunz is leaving the country today for a period of about two weeks. She was
unwilling to comment on her feelings except to say that she was tired by the
"very long battle" and "not surprised by the outcome." She concluded her brief
remarks with an expression of her disapointment.
"I am terribly saddened. What I wanted to do was be at Yale to teach my
students. I loved it," Kunz said. "I could have helped make international
relations at Yale the best in the world. It is a loss for me and a loss for
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