A student-led campaign emerged two weeks ago, as word got out that a beloved lecturer has come under fire from the administration.
On April 20, the student effort to support Kamal Dulai, a lecturer for the School of Natural Sciences, culminated in a meeting between more than 70 students and the dean of Natural Sciences, Juan Meza.
According to the students in attendance, as well as the description for the “Save Dr. Dulai” Facebook event page, Dulai is in danger of losing a permanent teaching position after complaints about him emerged and reached the dean. The exact details of the affair remain unknown, as those involved have declined to divulge more information.
“He is a phenomenal teacher, mentor and friend,” said Sunny Seth, a student of Dulai’s who was present at the meeting.
Dulai is currently a lecturer for Biology courses, including introductory biology, which hundreds of students take every semester.
The “Save Dr. Dulai” meeting consisted of students reading aloud their personal appeals, sharing their personal experiences with Dulai, and praising him as an instructor, as Dean Meza sat listening at the end of a conference table. Most of the students who were present also held signs in support of Dulai.
“[Dr. Dulai] is more than happy to help students beyond what his job title requires,” said graduate student, Javad Fatollahi, to which the students applauded.
“He is really invested in students and their transition from high school to University,” said Joshua Andrade, a third year Bioengineering major.
Kevin Dang, one of the leaders of the “Save Dr. Dulai” effort, claimed to have been approached by Dulai himself. Dang declined to give The Prodigy a statement, at least until the Dean concludes his evaluation of Dulai.
Prior to the meeting with the Dean, students also held a letter-writing campaign to vouch for Dulai as an instructor. According to Dang, more than 100 hand-written letters had been sent to Meza.
“Dulai is an excellent professor and only wants to see his students succeed,” said Bioengineering major Victor Rodriguez.
While hundreds of students have rallied behind Dulai, indicated by the more than the 400 people on the “Save Dr. Dulai” event page, others have expressed displeasure with his behavior in the classroom.
“He’s a brilliant man, and he obviously knows the material, but I do not think he’s up to snuff as an instructor,” said a student who spoke under the condition of anonymity and claimed that Dulai frequently made sexist and other offensive comments in class.
The secrecy surrounding this issue harks back to a previous incident with a former instructor, who was allegedly accused of discriminatory behavior. This incident, too, had raised uproar among students the lecturer’s students.
There is no word yet about when the dean will announce a decision about his evaluation of Dulai.