Asante will again chair Temple's African-American studies department

Posted: April 19, 2013

TEMPLE UNIVERSITY professor Molefi Kete Asante, who launched the nation's first doctoral program in African-American studies at Temple 25 years ago, will again chair the university's African-American studies department, he said Thursday.

Asante served as department chair from 1984 to 1997, when he was ousted amid allegations of plagiarism - which he has said were unfounded.

He has had a rocky relationship with Teresa Scott Soufas, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, since she arrived at Temple in 2007. Asante said earlier this week that she had twice tried to fire him.

But Thursday, the a day after a faculty committee recommended him, Asante said Soufas met with him and appointed him as chair.

"I accepted the position and told her I wanted to move the department to the vanguard position in the African-American studies field that it used to be in the '80s and '90s," he said.

In recent weeks, students held protests supporting the faculty's right to choose a chair.

Soufas placed the department in "receivership" last year after former chair Nathaniel Norment retired in July 2012 and named as acting chair Jayne Drake, vice dean of academic affairs.

Professors said the university provost and other officials met with Soufas on Thursday morning and urged her to accept the faculty's choice of Asante.

"I'm very happy to see that the dean decided to become rational and reasonable about this," professor Ama Mazama, chair of the faculty committee that nominated Asante, said Thursday.

"She didn't do this willingly. She did this because of the pressure we exercised."

Soufas couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

On Twitter: @ValerieRussDN

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