UC San Diego Protest Over Foreign Postdoc's Dismissal
On Wednesday, campus police at the University of California, San Diego, broke up a protest outside the office of university Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. Police threatened to arrest a group of about 35 protestors gathered to pressure Fox to expedite a hearing for Wilda Helen, a postdoctoral fellow from Indonesia who was recently terminated, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports:
Helen, an Indonesian citizen, was fired Jan. 6 from her $43,000-per-year job as a stem cell researcher in UCSD's bioengineering department. Neither she nor university officials will say why she was dismissed, though Helen has said: "My supervisor has made false allegations about my work."
Helen's firing automatically triggered her visa to expire within 30 days, but she later won an extension to stay in the United States until 27 February. Her supporters, including representatives of the University of California postdoc union, argue that the university should either schedule an arbitration hearing—a stipulation of the union contract—before the 27th or allow Helen to stay in the country long enough to appeal her dismissal in person.