AAUP May 24, 2019 Letter to BOT

May 24, 2019

To: Loyola University Chicago Board of Trustees
From: American Association of University Professors, Loyola University Chicago Chapter Re: Governance and Development concerns

Dear Member of the Board of Trustees:

We write as the elected leaders of Loyola’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors to express our deep consternation over the leadership of Jo Ann Rooney as Loyola’s President.

After Dr. Rooney’s hiring, her presidency deserved at least a year, perhaps two, to adequately assess our strengths and weaknesses and to make plans to improve Loyola’s programs, facilities, internal budgets and governance-. AAUP shares with other faculty groups a desire to help Loyola’s first lay president, a woman no less, succeed in her position, and help her to strengthen our core missions of research and teaching and the development of men and women who live and work for others. Unfortunately, Dr. Rooney is just finishing her third year as president, and the “austerity” budget cuts being implemented—however financially necessary they may be—also point to her failure in her fiduciary responsibilities.

The last year has seen two academic strikes, the decision to close the English Language Learning Program (ELLP) with no apparent replacement, national condemnation of Loyola’s media policy, and a decision to nearly completely curtail the operations of the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA). Three years into President Rooney’s tenure in office, we still have only an interim provost and thus no real university-wide academic leadership.

Similar chaos and lack of progress seem to characterize fundraising, which is what prompted an emergency AAUP two weeks ago, and led us to write this letter.

While we fully appreciate the benefits of financial prudence – the stated reasons for the abolition of ELLP and the downgrading of LUMA — we are astonished at how little President Rooney seems to have done, or intends to do, to raise money to support the extraordinary cultural resources and compelling mission of Loyola University Chicago. We seem to have failed to capitalize on last year’s historic Final Four run, there is no head of development a year after the previous one was fired, and perhaps most shockingly, there is no plan for any significant fundraising campaign around our sesquicentennial. Moreover, some of the decisions made in the name of budgetary austerity make little sense on that ground: how, for example, are we to attract a significant number of international students – most of whom pay full tuition – without language support of the kind that nearly all universities offer?

Loyola needs a President who values what we are and sees what we could become, and aggressively seeks financial support to make such a vision a reality. Our sesquicentennial offers an opportunity to begin this process.

To many faculty, and to some chairs and deans as well, the points above add up to a disturbing picture of a university leadership that is out of touch with the experience of teaching and learning on our campuses and is ill-equipped to lead us forward. What generations of leadership have built up can

 

be destroyed by a few years of negligence and incompetence. We fear that that is exactly what is happening to Loyola.

The AAUP met two weeks ago to address a number of ongoing concerns—itemized below—related to governance and other budgetary issues at Loyola. We are deeply concerned about the prospect of similar measures being taken over the summer. Attached to this message you will find several resolutions concerning these issues that were passed by the University Senate earlier this month.

  • The sudden dismissal of almost the entire ELLP program
  • LUMA’s loss of its prestigious museum status and lack of planning for the collection’s future
  • The misreporting and belated “corrections” made around media policies from Marketing and the speaker’s contract
  • The inability to hire a permanent provost and misleading statements about faculty involvement with decisions related to the provost’s position
  • A second academic strike in 13 months
  • The faculty exodus from the Institute for Pastoral Studies (IPS) and administrative dismissal of Title IX reports filed against the Dean of IPS
  • The severance of our connection with the Beijing Center and the greatly reduced participation of faculty and students from Chicago in the Rome Center, reversing a nearly 60-year practice
  • The failure to consult elected faculty bodies on decisions that impact all LUC faculty, in accordance with the mission statements of Faculty Council and the University Senate.

Additionally, the AAUP has had serious issues brought before us that affect faculty and have not been appropriately addressed by university governance at other levels, several with potentially severe and embarrassing legal implications.

The board should understand that there is no personal animus with Rooney; in fact, she has spent more time meeting with the Faculty Council and the AAUP leadership than other presidents have in the past. Yet to many faculty, and chairs and deans as well, the points above add up to a disturbing picture of a university leadership that is out of touch with the experience of teaching and learning on our campuses and is ill-equipped to lead us forward.

We fear the toll that further implementation of an austerity agenda and continued chaos at the top could take on Loyola. Accordingly, we urge the Board of Trustees to consider an intervention, particularly as it relates to Rooney’s weaknesses and inexperience with appropriate development agendas and results.

Sincerely,

Rhys Williams
Professor of Sociology
President, Loyola Lakeside AAUP Chapter

Pamela Caughie
Professor of English
Appeals Advocate, Loyola Lakeside AAUP Chapter

 

AAUP letter to Tom Regan

May 23, 2019

To: Thomas Regan, S.J., Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences
Cc: President Jo Ann Rooney; Interim Provost Margaret Faust Callahan; AAUP-Loyola Members From: American Association of University Professors, Loyola University Chicago Chapter
Re: Inaccurate Statement to the Press about Graduate Unionization

Dear Dean Regan:

We write to urge you to correct inaccurate and misleading statements you made to the Loyola Phoenix about last month’s graduate worker strike.

According to the Phoenix, you stated that “[w]e are not going to go up 10% on undergraduate tuition to meet these demands.” The Phoenix reporter confirmed that she accurately transcribed your statement.

As was pointed out to you in a subsequent email, no issue raised by the graduate workers would come remotely close to costing this amount.

Loyola has, according to US News and World Report, 11,420 undergraduates, with tuition of slightly more than $40,000. A 10% increase would thus yield $4,000 per student, which at that number of students would generate $45,680,000. Since there were, according to the certification of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), somewhere under 200 graduate students who teach or otherwise work for the university in the prospective collective bargaining unit, this would work out to be something like $228,400 dollars per graduate worker. Even if one takes into account a substantial tuition discount rate of say 40%, increasing tuition by 10% would yield approximately $137,040 per graduate worker.

We understand that you have been charged with turning back this unionization effort, but there is no factual basis for the assertions you made. And indeed in the context of two academic strikes in thirteen months and the continued refusal of Loyola’s administration to abide by the rulings of the NLRB, we fear that such wildly exaggerated claims can only further exacerbate the acrimony, strife, and labor unrest on our campus. We urge you and our university’s leadership to both correct this assertion, and to insure that your future public comments avoid such polemical misstatement.

Sincerely.

Rhys Williams, Professor of Sociology President, Loyola Lakeside AAUP Chapter

Benjamin Johnson
Associate Professor of History and Environmental Sustainability AAUP Member

Graduate Student Strike, April 24th; arrests and media coverage

Following the arrests last Monday, April 15th of seven LUC graduate students and supporters, the graduate students are staging a one-day walkout on April 24th on the lakeside campus.  Walk-out is at 9:00 am.  Picket line and noon rally meet in front of Mundelein.

The recent arrests have received widespread media coverage–WGN, WBEZ,  InsideHigherEd,  The Phoenix, SEIU, etc..  For over two years, LUC administration has refused to recognize their graduate student union, which won the NLRB election in Feb 2017.

seiufacultyforward.org

Many other prestigious, private universities in major urban areas with higher costs of living have recognized their graduate student unions–GeorgetownUniversity of Chicago, NYU, Brandeis, and the list is rising. 

LUC-AAUP demand that LUC administration acknowledge their graduate students’ rights to organize and negotiate, the NLRB decision, and the support of hundreds of students, faculty and local clergy.  See LUC Worker Coalition for latest walk-out info.

AAUP-LUC Provost Discussion Points -Please Comment

AAUP-LUC Discussion Points about Provost consolidation decision

    • Governance: the decision to create one single Provost – the administrative leadership position which most directly impacts faculty, research, and students – was apparently made and without any input from the faculty, much less through consultation with any representative body that could present the concerns of faculty and students.  We worry that this decision fits with a broader pattern of unilateral decision-making.  Accepting this decision might indicate that faculty and students are comfortable with future unilateral decisions that could deeply shape the nature of our institution
    • Resource-allocation: Loyola’s different institutions need different types of resources, and make different types of contributions to the institution.  We worry that having one single Provost might overly centralized decision-making about which parts of the institution are deserving of which types or resources, and might lead to using criteria are valid for one part of the institution – for instance, bringing in research grants or partnering with private enterprise – to assess the “value” of other parts of the institution.  We worry that if narrow and monetarily-driven criteria are used to allocate value and distribute resources, the humanities and social sciences, and the CAS more broadly, might suffer deeply
    • An institutional shift towards pre-professionalization:  the Health Sciences Division and the University, including the College of Arts and Sciences, share the goal of educating Loyola’s students so that they can make positive contributions to our common national and global communities.  They, of course, do this with different types of emphases, and encourage the development of different sets of intellectual skills. We worry that a single Provost might further a tendency to view the mission of the University, and the College of Arts and Sciences in particular, through a lens that emphasizes pre-professional skills at the expense of the goal of encouraging life-long critical thinkers and learners.
    • Impact on undergraduate teaching: while the Health Sciences Division and the University are both committed to educating students, they pursue this mission very differently and serve different types of students. If, as is now possible, the future Provost is someone with a medical or nursing background, who might have little or no direct experience in teaching undergraduates, we worry about how well this person will be able to assess, reward, and shape the teaching of undergraduates, which might negatively effect the College of Arts and Sciences
    • Internal resource allocation: while creating one single Provost might seem like a cost-savings measure, we worry about what sort of administrative infrastructure this position might require.  Overseeing such a large and diverse set of institutions might require the creation of a large administrative infrastructure of Assistant Provosts and other second-tier administrators.  We worry that this might, in fact, lead to the needless and costly allocation of the institution’s resources away from teaching and research and towards the expansion of an administrative bureaucracy
    • Mission: Loyola’s stated mission is to “expand knowledge in the service of humanity through learning, justice and faith.” Loyola’s mission also promises a commitment to promoting justice and encouraging values-based leadership. This decision threatens to restrict the mission a more narrow focus on pre-professional training, and seems indicative of an internal leadership style that does not prioritize a collective discussion about the institution’s values.​
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AAUP LUC Meeting-Mon Apr 1, 4:10-5:10, Crown Auditorium

As current president of the AAUP-Loyola Chapter, I would like to announce a chapter meeting.  We will gather on:
Monday, April 1, 2019 at 4:10 – 5:10 p.m.  Crown Auditorium
Refreshments will be served.  Continuing and new members — and interested visitors! — are welcome.
Our agenda:
 
1.  Report on activities over last year.
2.  Latest on union efforts
      a. ELLP development
      b. Graduate students, negotiating and teaching situation
      c.  NTT faculty and departmental committee memberships
      d. GA assignments to NTT faculty
3.  Faculty Appeals Committee and process
4.  University developments with Title IX (and Title VI) issues
5.  Need for elections.
 
Looking forward to seeing you there,
 
Rhys Williams