Several UE faculty members receive contract notices

Several UE faculty members receive contract notices
Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 at 3:09 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Several University of Evansville faculty members have received provisional contract notices as part of an academic realignment proposal.

[UE students protest academic realignment proposal]

The University tells 14 News the letters sent to staff members give them 18 months notice that their position will be terminated.

[You can read that letter here]

Professors we spoke with Thursday say if the realignment proposal is approved, the letters indicate that their last semester teaching at the university would be spring of 2022.

The University of Evansville Faculty Senate passed a vote of no confidence in the President’s draft academic alignment plan on Thursday. The vote passed by a margin of 14 to 1 with 1 abstention.

We are told the President did not attend the meeting, and faculty will now have seven days to vote on this matter.

According to a news release, the resolution noted that the President’s draft plan does not recognize the faculty’s role within the university’s shared governance structure and does not accord with the university’s policies and procedures on curricular change.

Here is the University of Evansville’s full statement:

In the initial faculty meeting on December 10, faculty were informed that they would receive provisional contract notification this week. The notification serves as notice under the Faculty Manual concerning the University’s draft program realignment. The notice was sent to faculty members with appointments that could end effective May 31, 2022. Although the Faculty Manual requires the University to provide a maximum of 12 months’ notice (for those with two or more years of service), the University is providing 18 months’ notice. This notice was to provide faculty members with 18 months’ notice. This is a provisional notice for two reasons – (1) the proposed plan may result in modifications as a result of input from the faculty and (2) the notice may be cancelled if other faculty members in impacted programs in any final plan elect to participate in the voluntary separation incentive program.

Associate Professor of History, Daniel Byrne, says many faculty members hope to challenge the proposal with the help of the Indiana American Association for University Professors.

“I’m a tenured faculty member and that means I have continuous employment in this university until I am dismissed for cause and they haven’t produced any adequate cause,” said Byrne. “We are also going to challenge the program cuts because the faculty manual is really clear. It says that if you are going to make changes to the academic programs to the university, it has to go through the faculty.”

They are meeting with the IAAUP Friday to discuss if there are any legal avenues they can take if the proposal is approved as it is currently written.

“The only good part about it was that we have been fighting, organizing and getting ready for this for the last four or five months,” explained Bryne. “So thinking about those things had already taken place.”

Assistant Professor of Spanish Edward Curran tells 14 News it was a gut punch, as he hoped to spend a lifetime at UE.

“And so I hadn’t really given it any thought to looking for some other place,” shared Curran. “I have really strong relationships here and great relationships with students.”

“It doesn’t feel like a way one would treat colleagues or treat faculty in this impersonal kind of way,” added Curran.

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