The Student Association (SA) called for the termination of Victor Skormin, a distinguished service professor of electrical and computer engineering, at their Congress meeting on Tuesday night.
Although SA Congress will not vote on their formal resolution until their next meeting, the legislation calls for Binghamton University officials to fire Skormin after two controversial incidents. The resolution was drafted by John Santare, SA vice president for academic affairs and a senior double-majoring in biology and comparative literature, Hunter Andrasko, SA Congress speaker and a senior double-majoring in human development and political science and Maxwell Hisiger, SA vice president for academic affairs chief of staff and a senior double-majoring in mathematics and economics.
“We introduced this resolution for a variety of reasons but first and foremost as a result of our obligation to represent the undergraduate student body,” Andrasko wrote in an email. ”As students, we know what this school stands for more than anyone else and we want the 14,000 students we represent to know that we are fighting for them.”
Skormin’s first incident occurred in 2018, when he responded to an engineering department Listserv email about a fundraiser for the National Society of Black Engineers with another email asking about the “Society of White Engineers.” In October, Skormin came under fire when he posted a photo on his Facebook page of a man, that was not him, wearing a Confederate flag hat with the word “REBEL” and a shirt that read “REDNECK JEW.” The man was carrying a rifle.
“The usage of his position as a state-employed professor to send out an implicitly racist email should have been a red line the University acted on,” Andrasko wrote. “If the administration of this school cannot directly call out these actions then, as student leaders, we will.”
In addition to calling for Skormin’s termination from his University position, the SA also wants to implement annual faculty-wide cultural competency training.
“While asking for Skormin’s termination is significant, the more important aspect is focusing on how to prevent something like this from happening again,” Andrasko wrote. “This training would be the least the University could do.”
According to the SA, the resolution was sent to BU community representatives for feedback, and a vote will be made at Congress’ Nov. 19 meeting.
University officials declined to comment on the matter, and Skormin could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.