Below is a story I have written for a college Professor who was denied tenure twice. For anyone that has ever had an amazing professor, that has ever been lost and guided, please sign this —> Petition for Professor Horn. To learn about my story, read below:
September 2010 - Denise Horn entered the room with a big smile on her face, not at all daunted by the 200 pairs of eyes, mostly freshmen, starring back at her. She welcomed us, told us to keep our laptops, and the rest was history. I left that class intimidated, intrigued, and curious. We talked about conflict and politics, globalization and gender, the ever changing world that we were expected to take in our hands. With her straightforward prompt and genuine support, I and 31 Northeastern University students did just that.
My dialogue of civilizations program to Bali, Indonesia was one of the most amazing programs I have ever experienced at NEU (and I have done plenty). Students of different majors and backgrounds came together through our shared passion to change the world. In 6 weeks, professor Horn made each of us believe that with empathy, respect, and determination, we could.
During our first 2 weeks, we met a prince, the founder of a museum (that was also a social enterprise), and the head of a school. We danced the Legong dance and crossed rice paddies in the rain. After learning and loving this beautiful country and its people, we were partnered with students from a local university for four weeks. Factors that could have brought about conflict -language barrier, economic background, and educational expertise - brought about conversation. Professor Horn had challenged all of us - Indonesian and American students alike - to think of the bigger picture; of the unjust social issues that we, and possibly the generations after, experience. We were in class 6 days a week from 8 to 4, with countless hours before and after spent in internet cafes or research sites. Other students from other dialogues have bragged about the big buildings and the fancy restaurants (which I appreciate just as much). But what we, all 32 of us, have bragged about are the hours spent sitting in a circle with our Indonesian counterparts, taking turns playing the guitar and sharing life stories (though we did eat merrily).
After our last 3 frustrating, exciting, and overall gratifying weeks, 10 groups of students stood proudly together presenting our economic, efficient, and sustainable solutions to HIV/AIDS awareness, youth unemployment, substance abuse, and many more - theaters managed by the youth, buses to transport students from local village and a customized mentorship program were just a few of the amazing ideas shared with community leaders that day. I know that at the very least, my group mate took our 52 page bilingual business plan to his supervisor, still hoping to implement our program.
Professor Horn taught us to dream big, work hard, work from the ground up, and today, many of us are doing just that. Of those 31 students who I went with, one started a social enterprise and at least five are working for one.
If Northeastern University is truly committed to becoming a leading educational institution, then for the sake of your former, present, and future students and all who are investing in them, pay less heed to the beautiful buildings and the extravagant fundraisers. Pay heed to your people and the stories they will build and share. Pay heed to the fact that at least 32 students (and we are only one dialogue group, of the many other classes and groups Professor Horn has led) have the confidence and skill to pursue dreams bigger than their bank account.
For my story and the story of others, I am respectfully calling on students far and wide to fight for the reconsideration of the denial of tenure to Professor Denise Horn.
Please sign this —> Petition for Professor Horn and spread the word.