May 2nd, 2009 | Uncategorized

Building volcanoes to save a lecturer

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Students gathered on Cross Campus yesterday to show support for a chemistry lecturer who is about to lose her job.

Above, Blessing Aghaulor ’12 signs a petition asking that the lecturer, Iona Black, remain employed by the University. Meanwhile, Leon Noel ’10 pours baking soda into a homemade-volcano, while Travis Long ’10 looks on.

Long said Black told him several weeks ago that she would be let go as of June 30, because, as Long recalled her saying, her impact on campus was not sufficient.

“Yale without her would be a darker place,” Noel said.

Black guest lectures in Chemistry 112 and 113, teaches Chemistry and the Modern Novel, does research at the Yale Cancer Center and is the academic director of STARS – Science, Technology and Research Scholars.

To attract students, the two hung two hand-lettered signs on their table. One read “Build a Volcano!” while the other, attached to a nearly-empty white laundry hamper, read “Clothing Drive.”

“We didn’t want this to be a protest,” Long said. “We wanted to keep it positive, so we decided to donate clothes to charity on behalf of Dr. Black. She always multitasks … so we thought we should, too.

Long and Noel said they are unsure of the reasons for Black’s dismissal, but that they hope to meet with Steve Girvin, the deputy provost for science and technology, to discuss it.