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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 history.

"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, stated.

Courtesy OPA
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 said.

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 this case.

"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 department.

"[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 Yale."

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