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Indiana AAUP President issues warning to UE President

Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 12:31 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - On Friday, January 8, David Nalbone, the President of the Indiana Conference of the American Association of University Professors (ICAAUP) sent a letter to the President of the University of Evansville outlining his concerns about UE’s ongoing realignment process.

[Previous: UE announces academic realignment plan, multiple majors could be cut]

After reviewing information that was received from UE’s AAUP chapter, Nalbone states that the university’s realignment “suggests that the process to date violates AAUP principles of shared governance.”

Nalbone opens his letter by noting that UE is bound by a number of AAUP guidelines because those guidelines are incorporated into the Faculty Manual.

He then goes on to note how the President has refused to follow the guidelines on shared governance shared by the AAUP and the UE Faculty Manual:

In your email to the faculty on October 5, you explicitly refused to follow the shared governance procedures that the faculty requested and that had been used at the University of Evansville in the past. In your January 1 reply to the faculty vote of no confidence in the draft realignment plan, you claim that the ordinary shared governance procedures of the Faculty Senate and its Curriculum Committee do not apply to the proposed realignment, although there is no provision in the Faculty Manual of bylaws for suspending normal shared governance. … In lieu of the well-established shared governance procedures at UE, you have adopted a mechanism to solicit faculty input that is wholly inadequate and does not constitute a bona fide program discontinuance process.

[Previous: Discussion period for UE realignment plan extended]

The letter concludes by asking for further information from the President and by noting the potential consequences of non-cooperation:

We appreciate that all our information comes from the Evansville faculty and that your administration might have further information that would help us better understand the situation at your institution. We would therefore welcome your reply. If, however, our understanding of the realignment program is substantially correct, the Indiana Conference of the AAUP urges you to reconsider your current course of action and create a program realignment process in keeping with the UE Faculty Manual and AAUP shared governance principles. The Indiana Conference is prepared to work with you and the Board in revising the realignment process so that it complies with AAUP-supported standards. The national office of the AAUP would almost certainly open a case concerning the University of Evansville if the process continues without revision and results in terminations of tenured faculty. Should the realignment process go forward on its current trajectory, the Indiana Conference will request that the national office authorize an investigation, which could result in AAUP censure or sanction.

In response to the letter from the Indiana AAUP, the University of Evansville sent this statement:

The University disagrees with characterizations in the letter sent by the Indiana Conference of the AAUP. We continue to have productive discussions with some faculty members about the draft realignment plan.

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