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Merrill College

Open Letter From Merrill Faculty in Support of Dr. Kathleen McElroy and Principles of Fairness in Our Democracy

To add your name publicly to this open letter, please send an email to, with the subject line "open letter signature" and include your name, title, and affiliation.

As faculty and leadership at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, we offer our strong support for the work of journalism professor and administrator Dr. Kathleen McElroy. We also endorse the principles of diversity and inclusion in journalism, acknowledge the responsibility of journalists to investigate the problems of diverse communities, and recognize the need for educators who teach their students about the importance of such reporting.

Dr. McElroy is exceptionally well-qualified to lead a journalism program at a prominent institution. Her resume includes a distinguished 20-year career with a national newspaper of record, a Ph.D. from a top research university, previous experience leading a journalism program, and the respect and admiration of her peers.

We understand that Dr. McElroy was offered a tenured contract to revive the journalism program at Texas A&M University, her alma mater, but this was soon reduced to a one-year untenured position. For Texas A&M to downgrade the terms of a job offer that it extended to her after objections were raised to her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is disrespectful, contrary to the principle of academic freedom, and represents a loss to her alma mater, students and journalism.

All Americans should be concerned by the concerted effort in this country to portray colleges and universities, and their faculty and staff, who want equality for everyone as un-American. Equal opportunity and inclusion are fundamental values that Americans have always fought for, in pursuit of a healthier democracy.

Journalism programs have the moral obligation to train the next generation of journalists how to be honorable and ethical practitioners in an increasingly diverse society. To do this, we must embrace and empower faculty, students and staff who represent many kinds of diversity, rather than push them away to satisfy elements within our society who implacably oppose an inclusive vision of American democracy. This is why we condemn racial and gender discrimination, and other attitudes and actions that are inconsistent with principles of fairness and inclusion. We call on like-minded educators and practitioners to join us in reaffirming and defending these values.

Signatories from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism

Rafael Lorente, Dean
Christoph Mergerson, Assistant Professor 
Sarah Oates, Professor and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher  
Adam Marton, Lecturer 
Rob Wells, Associate Professor 
Karen Denny, Senior Lecturer 
Krishnan Vasudevan, Associate Professor 
Alexander Pyles, Lecturer 
Alison Burns, Lecturer  
Jerry Zremski, Lecturer 
Timothy Jacobsen, Lecturer 
Susan Moeller, Professor 
Derek Willis, Lecturer 
Mark Hyman, Director, Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and Professor of the Practice 
James R. Carroll, Senior Lecturer
Linda Steiner, Professor
Chris Harvey, Principal Lecturer 
Christopher Hanson, Associate Professor
Martin Kaiser, Managing Director, Capital News Service
Tom Rosenstiel, Eleanor Merrill Visiting Professor on the Future of Journalism
Sean Mussenden, Principal Lecturer
Kevin Blackistone, Professor of the Practice  
Ronald Yaros, Associate Professor
Ira Chinoy, Associate Professor
Deborah Nelson, Professor
Tom Davidson, Adjunct Lecturer
Josh Davidsburg, Senior Lecturer
Naeemul Hassan, Assistant Professor
Rona Kobell, Adjunct Lecturer
Kathy Best, Director, Howard Center for Investigative Journalism
Tom Bettag, Lecturer
Dana Priest, Professor, Knight Chair in Public Affairs Journalism and Washington Post reporter
Anne Farris Rosen, Adjunct Lecturer
Mark Feldstein, Professor, Richard Eaton Chair of Broadcast Journalism
Lucy A. Dalglish, J.D., Professor
Cecil T.  Thompson, Parent of Merrill College student
Robin Sundaramoorthy, Instructor/Ph.D. candidate
Adrianne Flynn, Retired Senior Lecturer, Editor and career advisor

Other Signatories

Paula M. Poindexter, Ph.D., Professor, School of Journalism and Media, The University of Texas at Austin
Aaron Shapiro, Assistant Professor of Technology Studies, Department of Communication, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Daniel Kreiss, Founding Principal Investigator, Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Lisa Hooper, Head of Media Services, Tulane University
Kathy Roberts Forde, Professor of Journalism, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Laura Castañeda, Ed.D., Professor of Professional Practice, Associate Dean, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Barbara Hines, Professor Emerita, Howard University
Carrie Brown, Associate Professor, Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY
Steve Fox, Senior Lecturer II, UMass Amherst Journalism Department
Kim Fox, Professor, The American University in Cairo
Rosemary Pennington, Area Coordinator & Associate Professor of Journalism, Miami University, Ohio
Guy Harrison, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Masudul Biswas, Chair and Professor, Department of Communication, Loyola University Maryland
Tracy Everbach, Professor, Mayborn School of Journalism, University of North Texas
Nour Halabi, Interdisciplinary Fellow, University of Aberdeen
Dr. Paromita Pain, Associate Professor, Reynolds School of Journalism, The University of Nevada, Reno
Julie Burton, President & CEO, Women’s Media Center
Mark A. Poepsel, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mass Communication, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Julianne H. Newton, Professor, University of Oregon
Thomas Gardner, MPA, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Communication, Westfield State University
Jack L. Harris, Visiting Assistant Professor of Communication, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Pallavi Guha, Assistant Professor of Journalism, Towson University
Mia Moody-Ramirez, Ph.D., Professor & Chair, Journalism, Public Relations & New Media, Baylor University
Susan Keith, Professor, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University
Katrina Struloeff, Ph.D.
Carolina Velloso, Ph.D., President's Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota
Erika Engstrom, Ph.D., Director and Professor, School of Journalism and Media, University of Kentucky
Kathryn Montalbano, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Media, University of Kentucky
Lynn Schofield Clark, Professor and Director, Estlow International Center for Journalism and New Media, University of Denver
Al Cross, Director, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues; Extension Professor, School of Journalism and Media, College of Communication and Information, University of Kentucky
Jane Marcellus, Former Professor, Middle Tennessee State University
Tracy Lucht, Associate Professor, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication, Iowa State University
Carolyn Nielsen, Professor, Western Washington University; Vice Head, AEJMC Commission on the Status of Women
Damon Kiesow, Knight Chair in Journalism Innovation, University of Missouri School of Journalism
Marina Hendricks, Head, AEJMC Scholastic Journalism Division
Alan Goldenbach, Associate Professor of Journalism, Hood College
Barbara Friedman, Associate Professor, Hussman School of Journalism and Media, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Deb Aikat, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism; 2022-23 President, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

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