Women's Studies professor's return stalled due to swamped visa offices

College re-opens tenure track position search

Rachel Duguay

Once again, the Women's Studies Program (WSP) has found itself short-staffed. Assistant Professor of Women's Studies and Politics Anna Agathangelou cannot teach during the first module of the semester because she and the College are currently waiting for an extension of her visitor's visa that will allow her to return from Cyprus.

"Her case is presently pending with [the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service]," Immigration lawyer Judith Woo said. "There has been an enormous volume of cases." The large case-load is the primary reason for the slow processing of Agathangelou's visa.

"While I am deeply disappointed, I am also grateful Anna will return," Chair of the Women's Studies Program Committee (WSPC) Phyllis Gorfain said. Agathangelou was a visiting professor during the 1996-97 academic year and was offered one of two tenure track positions in the WSP last May.

The INS, however, denied Agathangelou the specific kind of visa that would allow her to accept the tenure track position she was offered.The College then changed Agathangelou's appointment to a two-year term as Assistant Professor of WS and Politics. The College will resume a search to fill the tenure-track position permanently.

"The American governmental policies are preventing us from doing something we believe in," Gorfain said.

Gorfain said there are currently two tenure-track positions within the WSP. Last year both positions were filled by temporary teachers because Brinda Rao, who held one of the tenure-track positions, had resigned just before the start of school in August of 1996 and the search to fill the other position had to be renewed. One of the temporary positions was shared by Jyotika Verdi and Diana Kahn and the other was held by Anna Agathangelou. Meanwhile, the WSPC conducted searches for permanent appointments to both positions.

Wendy Kozol, an assistant professor of history at Oberlin, was offered and accepted one of the tenure-track positions. Visiting professor Anna Agathangelou was the first choice for the other available tenure-track position.

"We have had a very disruptive first part of the semester. Anna is just so positive," Gorfain said. "I think Anna, who has been through far worse than this, may know very well how to see the glass as half empty or as half full."

Curriculum changes for the Fall '97 semester have been made. Agathangelou will teach her Methodological Perspectives class second semester and Introduction to Women's Studies the second module of the first semester.

Agathangelou plans to eliminate the final paper and some of the reading from this Fall's Introductory courses, although they will count towards a Women's Studies major and serve as a pre-requisite for later courses within the program. Kozol is teaching a new course called Feminist Perspectives on American Popular Culture this fall.

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Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 1, September 5, 1997

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