Sonya Forte Duhé will not be next Cronkite School dean

Provost Mark Searle made the announcement and said he would appoint an interim dean this week

Sonya Forte Duhé will not assume the dean position at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication following reports of an alleged history of making racist and homophobic remarks to students.

University Provost Mark Searle said in an email he will appoint an interim dean this coming week and will make the announcement public when the process is done. 

"I now find that the future of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and our public television station will be better served by not advancing with Dr. Duhé as their leader," the email from Searle said. 

READ MORE: Incoming Cronkite dean has alleged history of racist, homophobic comments toward students

In a letter sent to University President Michael Crow Saturday and obtained by The State Press, over 20 Cronkite faculty said they had serious concerns about Duhé's ability to lead. 

The letter raised concerns about Duhé’s treatment of faculty following an incident where she “berated staff.” Faculty members also felt that if Duhé assumed the role as originally planned the school’s reputation and future would be in "serious jeopardy.”

The email from Searle cites President Crow's letter to students addressing nationwide protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the Black Lives Matter movement. Crow called on the ASU community to "accelerate 'the rate of enhanced social justice,'" Searle said.

The email said any movement forward will be a significant undertaking, but Searle said he was "confident" in the Cronkite School's leadership.

"This development regarding the Cronkite Dean is most unfortunate but we now must turn our attention to meeting that challenge and ensuring we offer the highest level of journalism education," Searle said. 

Four multicultural student organizations released a statement calling for the removal of Duhé. The same clubs created a petition to have Duhé fired. The petition gathered over 3,600 since Saturday. 

READ MORE: Cronkite student leaders, faculty call for removal of incoming dean

"We, the student leaders, stand in solidarity with the Loyola students who have come forward with their stories. We refuse to let minority voices go unheard, especially those of the Black community," their letter said.


Reach the reporters at pjhanse1@asu.edu and wmyskow@asu.edu and follow @piperjhansen and @wmyskow on Twitter. 

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