Brandeis President Jehuda Reinharz unleashed a torrent of negative publicity for his university when, with zero transparency, he announced that the school would shut down its vaunted campus-based Rose Art Museum, and sell its highly valued collection, which includes works by, among others, Roy Liechtenstein, Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, and Jasper Johns.
Condemnation from all corners of the art world was swift. Now, ethnomusicologically invigorated Brandeis students and alumni are hoping for a similar outburst of criticism for the probable downsizing of Wayne Marshall, who, since 2007, has taught urban music and African-American studies as the school's Florence Levy Kay fellow.
Times are still tough at the Waltham school — endowment plummeted 25 percent this past year, due in part to general market turmoil and some major donors having been burned by Bernie Madoff. That's effectively forced a halt in development of new science facilities, the elimination of six percent of staff positions, and a hiring freeze.
Still, Marshall's devotees are marshalling forces in an attempt to save his job. In addition to contacting media, they've also pressured administrators and built a Web site, savewayne.com, to crank the heat.
"Nobody is inferring that [Brandeis] not being able to offer me a contract is because of what I'm teaching," says Marshall, who was in talks for a full-time spot before the freeze. "But since I'm the only one teaching these courses, there won't be anything like this in the near future. It's too bad — a lot of students really take this seriously."