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Letter to SMSU?president

December 21, 2010
Marshall Independent

To the editor:

I sent this letter to SMSU President Danahar after my appointment with him was cancelled due to "work ethics" because I wanted to discuss my dad being laid off. They felt it would be inappropriate since I was a family member.

Dear Mr. Danahar,

Hi, my name is Marcela Sanchez-Aizcorbe. I am a sophomore and go to Marshall High School. Last week I made an appointment with you (to discuss budget and position cuts) that was supposed to take place this afternoon. But instead, I received a voicemail on my phone stating that since I am Alejandro Sanchez-Aizcorbe's wife, it would not be appropriate to meet with you to discuss the unfortunate situation. Well I am definitely not his wife, but his daughter. My parents don't know that I contacted you and your office, so please do not bring this up to them in any way! I really don't want to get into trouble for "meddling" with something that my dad can handle on his own.

I did not want to meet with you to yell, rant, or complain. I simply wanted to go to the source and hear it from you. Your secretary Chris is very nice, I spoke with her on the phone. She told me that you guys felt it would be inappropriate and unethical for me to meet with you. She also mentioned the presentation you gave last night is published and it would answer many of the questions I might have.

With all due respect, Mr. Danahar, our meeting could have gone well, and I'm sure it would have met all of your ethical guidelines. What is all of this jargon? Ethics? Moral philosophy? What is immoral and unethical is NOT the request of a concerned daughter to speak with someone in power. What is immoral is the supposed "heavy-hearted" President Danahar refusing to address the gloomy future of SMSU, face to face, with one of the hundreds affected by the budget cuts.

While SMSU is hiring new personnel, perhaps they should think twice before bringing in business professors all the way from Puerto Rico, only to fire them three months later. I understand that this is a tough situation for the entire community. I'm not ignorant or oblivious to the current Minnesota deficit of 6.2 billion. What I really wanted to address, is the ridiculous, unjust firing of my dad. My dad, Alejandro Sanchez-Aizcorbe, is an exceptional Spanish professor. Not only has he achieved academic excellence in his classrooms, but in the past two and half years that he has been under your employment, he has also published articles, attended two conferences throughout the United States representing SMSU, supervised the College Now program, mentored teachers around Minneapolis concerning the teaching of Spanish in high schools, reinvigorated SMSU's Club Latino, founded a free Spanish conversation group for the community and students, and also launched a Spanish radio program on the SMSU radio station. His knowledge and experience in the international arena are honors, and the university is privileged in having him as a professor.

I recently learned that my dad is being laid off, and NOT his fellow Spanish professing colleague who has worked at SMSU for half the time as my father. This professor's classes are almost empty, and he has nearly no experience teaching at a college level. His academic accomplishments pale in comparison to my father's. So why is his position not being terminated as well? You could basically make money by cutting his position. Who decides which of the Spanish professors are going to be laid off? And why?

My family and I are from Peru. I don't personally know this colleague or any of the department members, but maybe racism and discrimination is to blame? I certainly hope not, but what else could it be? From a logical standpoint, that is the only thing I can think of. But hey, that's what lawyers are for.

Were there any cuts made to administration? Pay cuts? I am just so curious as to what is going on behind the SMSU administration doors that a 16 year old is not allowed to question. I read the article published and it did not answer very many questions. You could explain to me. Please respond to this e-mail. Don't just scratch it off of a list like you and the other administrators did to my dad's name. THAT is unethical.

Please Mr. Danahar, if you are the classy president and concerned representative of academia that I and the entire town of Marshall hope you are, then you'll take time to respond to a young woman who is just as heavy hearted as you are. I hope I hear back. Thanks for your time.

Marcela Sanchez-Aizcorbe




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