The Save Wayne Campaign

So one of Brandeis’s coolest professors is about to become an early victim of the budget cuts.

I took a class with Professor Wayne Marshall last semester (Race, Representation, Reggae and Nation), and loved every minute of it. Professor Marshall is one of the absolute best instructors I’ve had, and it sadly looks like he’s going to get the axe.

Up until now, we’ve seen few concrete examples of the budget cuts in action, but the prospect of losing Prof. Marshall brings immediacy to the budget issue.

Now, we know that Brandeis is going to cut faculty in the years to come (perhaps by as much as 10%). Losses are inevitable. But we need to make it clear to the administration that certain vital professors need to be maintained at all costs. And Wayne Marshall is vital. He’s a key part of both the Music and African-American studies departments, and has greater world-music expertise than anyone else on staff. Without Marshall, the study of non-western music at Brandeis would all but disappear. So academically, he’s vital, and he has impressive output of scholarly works as well (he’s one of the editors of this upcoming book, which is the first authoritative work on reggaeton). Plus he’s a popular local DJ, and you can catch him at The Enormous Room in Cambridge every Monday night.

Brandeis alum Leor Galil puts it this way:

I know that if I were still a student at Brandeis and he were not to return simply because something had to be cut from the budget, I would be confused as to why I was still at the school. If Brandeis prides itself as an institution that challenges its students in a variety of fields, if Wayne were to leave the school it would be a marked departure from that declaration.

If you’d like to know more, talk to me, Leor, Sahar, or anyone who has ever taken one of his classes. Or just email the man himself.


So we want to make sure Prof. Marshall is rehired. He’s currently on a two-year contract which expires at the end of the semester, and is unlikely to be renewed. So we’re starting a school-wide campaign to convince the administration to keep him.

Leor is putting together, in his words, “a full-blown petition in three parts: a one page cover letter, a five-ten page argument for keeping Wayne onboard (with stats for his effect on the AAAS and Music Departments, documenting his contributions to the university, giving student feedback, etc), and the full blown list of signees.”

Please, please do whatever you can. If you know Wayne Marshall, write a testimonial or help put together our argument. If you don’t know him, then please sign the petition. We can’t save Wayne without a concerted student push. This is going to be really difficult, since the university does not want to re-hire faculty it can let go, so we need a massive effort. So email savewayne (at) gmail (dot) com with:

1. Your name

2. Your connection to Brandeis (student, parent, alum, with class year if applicable)

3. Some sort of contact info (so we can, if need be, verify that all the signatures are real)

4. Any comments you have about Prof. Marshall, or why you want the petition to succeed.

And tell your friends to as well. And tell your friends to tell their friends.

In a time of crisis, we as students have to work hard to preserve those parts of our Brandeis experience which we deem essential. The administration can cut professors, but surely not those that the students most enjoy and benefit from.

If you want more info about Wayne, you can find his blog at There’s an old article about him in the Boston Globe that can give you some background info. His official Brandeis faculty page is here. Also keep on the lookout for a profile piece in The Justice coming fairly soon.

Again, email savewayne (at) gmail (dot) com and let’s get this petition going. But do more than sign the petition. Talk to Leor (leorgalil (at) gmail (dot) com) or me (nrobins (at) brandeis (dot) edu) to find other ways to get involve. Tell people. Do whatever you can, we need to make this work.

More posts to come on this subject…


2 thoughts on “The Save Wayne Campaign”

  1. Professor Marshall’s contributions to the music faculty are important, to the students and to the faculty. His critical analysis on such subjects as globalization, his probing in topics such as ‘world’ music, his savvy in the most cutting edge music technologies and conversations – are all much needed as we connect temporally, spatially, politically, socially, culturally, to all of contemporary life. As his colleague in the music dept., I can say he has opened up necessary paths to my own thinking, and demonstrates just how essential music is to society, for better or for worse! He is the kind of educator that brings Brandeis into the 21t century at a gallop.

    Judith Eissenberg, Prof of the Practice, Music

  2. To Nathan and other supporters of the “Save Wayne Campaign” (great title, btw!):

    I’m truly touched by this effort. I have greatly enjoyed my time at Brandeis over the past two years, and the students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching deserve the lion’s share of credit for making my experience as wonderful as it has been. Obviously, these are trying times for the academy (and for Brandeis in particular), and the administration has been making some tough decisions in order to meet expected budget shortfalls. That said, they’ve also invited a robust debate among the faculty — and students deserve to have a place at the table in order to articulate what’s crucial to them about the Brandeis experience.

    Just to clarify, my fellowship was always a two-year gig, with no explicit promise of extending into a tenure-track position. Although I was happily engaged in talks with the chairs of Music and AAAS this summer about securing such a position (both of whom supported it), the administration may have tied their hands with the emergency hiring freezes they’ve announced. I guess it remains to be seen whether an outpouring of support as proposed here could have any effect. But, technically, I’m not getting “the axe” even if, figuratively, it may seem that way from a student perspective.

    All Best,

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