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May 25, 2010

"Further Controversy over the University of Chicago’s Milton Friedman Institute" press release

The text of the press release and the accompanying list of signatures appear below, unedited and in full. The release was e-mailed to the Maroon by Professor Bruce Lincoln on the evening of May 20, 2010.

PRESS RELEASE: Further Controversy over the University of Chicago’s Milton Friedman Institute

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Kendrick, Professor of Music (rkendric@uchicago.edu, 773-702-8500) or Bruce Lincoln, Caroline E. Haskell Professor of History of Religions (blincoln@uchicago.edu, 773-702-5083)

The undersigned faculty members consider it a matter of grave concern that the University of Chicago, without any announcement to its own community, has commissioned Ann Beha Architects, a Boston firm, to remake the Chicago Theological Seminary building into a home for the Milton Friedman Institute for Research in Economics (MFIRE) and has renewed aggressive fund-raising activity for the controversial Institute. Neither the Faculty Senate, the University’s highest governing body, nor any other representative group has ever been permitted to vote on establishment of the Friedman Institute, despite wide protest against it. Criticism has centered on the Institute’s strong ideological bias toward free market fundamentalism in the Friedman tradition. In this way and others, its nature runs contrary to the University's tradition of free inquiry and unfettered debate.

Given that no targeted gifts have been announced (unlike other projects like the Logan Arts Center and the Mansueto Library), we can only presume that vital University resources are being devoted to the MFIRE project. Although we have not been informed of its cost, conversion of the Seminary building into a temple of neoliberal economics comes at a time when the University's stinginess towards its own graduate students has dramatically increased student interest in unionization. It also comes as the University pleads that its financial woes permit it to offer only a regressive contract (one that does not even keep pace with health care premiums) to Teamsters Local 743, which represents its staff and clerical workers. We also eagerly await the moment when the University will announce a similar commitment to one of Chicago's most famous institutions, the Seminary Coop Bookstore, now housed in the CTS basement.

We would hate to think that the University's evident fixation on financial assets and its desire to exploit the Friedman brand name for fund-raising purposes would lead it to neglect its most valuable assets, its students, faculty and staff, while committing itself to a project whose very name reinforces a narrow, retrograde, and now demonstrably failed set of social and economic policies. But moves like this suggest that is exactly what is happening.

A petition detailing our objections is now being drafted for circulation and will be presented to President Robert Zimmer and Provost Thomas Rosenbaum in relatively short order.

1. Leora Auslander, Professor of History

2. Ralph A. Austen, Professor Emeritus of African History

3. Michael Bourdaghs, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages & Civilizations

4. Mark Bradley, Professor of History

5. Chad Broughton, Senior Lecturer, Public Policy Studies

6. Bill Brown, Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor of English

7. Manuela Carneiro da Cunha, Professor Emerita of Anthropology

8. Dipesh Chakrabarty, Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor

History and South Asian Languages & Civilizations

9. Tamara Chin, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature

10. Kyeong-Hee Choi, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages & Civilizations

11. Jennifer Cole, Associate Professor of Comparative Human Development

12. Jean Comaroff, Bernard E. & Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology

13. John Comaroff, Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology and Sociology

14. Bruce Cumings, Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of History

15. Philippe Desan, Howard L. Willett Professor of Romance Languages

16. Michael Dietler, Associate Professor of Anthropology

17. Andrew Dilts, Collegiate Assistant Professor, Social Sciences

18. Wendy Doniger, Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of History of Religions

19. Fred Donner, Professor of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations

20. Darby English, Associate Professor of Art History

21. Jacob Eyferth Assistant Professor Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

22. James W. Fernandez, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology

23. Norma Field, Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor in Japanese Studies

24. Cornell Fleischer, Kanuni Suleyman Professor of Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies

25. Anton Ford, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

26. Rachel Fulton, Associate Professor of History

27. Susan Gal, Mae and Sidney G. Metzl Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics

28. Michael Geyer, Samuel N. Harper Professor of History

29. McGuire Gibson, Professor in the Oriental Institute

30. W. Clark Gilpin, Margaret E. Burton Distinguished Service Professor of Divinity

31. Andreas Glaeser, Associate Professor of Sociology

32. Jan Goldstein, Norman & Edna Freehling Professor of History

33. Adam Green, Associate Professor of History

34. Tom Gunning, Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor of Art History and Cinema & Media Studies

35. Susan Gzesh, Senior Lecturer and Executive Director, Human Rights Program

36. Elaine Hadley, Associate Professor of English

37. Miriam Hansen, Ferdinand Schevill Distinguished Service Professor of English and Cinema & Media Studies

38. Harry Harootunian, Max Palevsky Professor Emeritus

39. Donald Harper, Professor of East Asian Languages & Civilizations

40. John Hart, Professor of Pathology

41. Elizabeth Helsinger, John Matthews Manley Distinguished Professor of English and Art History

42. Denis Hirschfeldt, Professor of Mathematics

43. Thomas C. Holt, James Westfall Thompson Distinguished Service Professor of History

44. Paola Iovene, Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages & Civilizations

45. Travis Jackson, Associate Professor of Musicology

46. Adrian Johns, Professor of History

47. Janet Johnson, Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor in the Oriental Institute

48. John Kelly, Professor of Anthropology

49. Robert Kendrick, Professor of Music

50. Jim Ketelaar, Professor of History and East Asian Languages & Civilizations

51. Barbara S. Kirschner, Professor of Pediatrics

52. Janice Knight, Associate Professor of English

53. Loren Kruger, Professor of Comparative and English Literatures, African Studies, Theatre and Performance Studies

54. Donald Levine, Peter B. Rizma Professor Emeritus of Sociology

55. Bruce Lincoln, Caroline E. Haskell Professor of History of Religions

56. Agnes Lugo-Ortiz, Associate Professor of Romance Languages

57. Armando Maggi, Professor of Romance Languages

58. Mara Marin, Collegiate Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences

59. Patchen Markell, Associate Professor of Political Science

60. Joseph Masco, Associate Professor of Anthropology

61. John McCormick, Professor of Political Science

62. Bernard McGinn, Naomi Shenstone Donnelly Professor Emeritus of Divinity

63. Françoise Meltzer, Mabel Green Myers Professor of Romance Languages and Comparative Literature

64. Alfredo Cesar Melo, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages

65. Paul Mendes-Flohr, Helen A. Regenstein Professor of Jewish Studies

66. Stuart Michaels, Assistant Director, Center for Gender Studies

67. W.J.T. Mitchell, Gaylord Donnelly Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History

68. Ian Mueller, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus

69. Janel Mueller, William Rainey Harper Distinguished Service Professor Emerita of English

70. Salikoko S. Mufwene, Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics

71. Matam P. Murthy, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics

72. C.M. Naim, Professor Emeritus of South Asian Languages & Civilizations

73. Richard Neer, David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Humanities and Art History

74. Deborah Nelson, Associate Professor of English

75. Willemien Otten, Professor of Divinity

76. Stephan Palmié, Associate Professor of Anthropology

77. Virginia Parks, Assistant Professor of Social Service Administration

78. Jennifer Pitts, Associate Professor of Political Science

79. Moishe Postone, Professor of History

80. Molly Przeworski, Professor in the Dept. of Human Genetics & Dept. of Ecology and Evolution

81. Clifton Ragsdale, Associate Professor of Neurobiology

82. François Richard, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

83. Martin Riesebrodt, Professor of Sociology of Religion

84. Melvin G. Rothenberg, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics

85. Lucia B. Rothman-Denes, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology

86. Lisa Ruddick, Associate Professor of English

87. Marshall Sahlins, Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Anthropology

88. Mario Santana, Associate Professor of Romance Languages

89. Eric Santner, Philip and Ida Romberg Professor in Modern Germanic Studies

90. Julie Saville, Associate Professor of History

91. William Schweiker, Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Ethics

92. William Sewell, Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Political Science and History

93. Bozena Shallcross, Associate Professor of Slavic Languages & Literatures

94. Holly Shissler, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations

95. Robin Shoaps, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

96. William Sites, Associate Professor of Social Services Administration.

97. Dan Slater, Assistant Professor of Political Science

98. Amy Dru Stanley, Associate Professor of History

99. Ulrike Stark, Professor of South Asian Languages & Civilizations

100. Howard Stein Professor Emeritus of Philosophy

101. Josef Stern, Professor of Philosophy

102. Russell Tuttle, Professor of Anthropology and Evolutionary Biology

103. Leigh Van Valen, Professor of Ecology and Evolution

104. Lisa Wedeen, Professor of Political Science

105. Rebecca West, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Service Professor of Romance Languages

106. Alison Winter, Associate Professor of History

107. Ira G. Wool, A.J. Carlson Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

108. Anthony Yu, Carl Darling Buck Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Humanities

109. Tara Zahra, Assistant Professor of History

110. Linda M. G. Zerilli, Charles E. Merriam Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science

111. Rebecca Zorach, Associate Professor of Art History

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