New Grievance Officer
Please join us in welcoming Brian Bagatto (Biology) as our new Grievance Officer (GO). We thank Brian for being willing to serve in this vital position. You can contact him at Brian.Bagatto@akronaaup.org, or both he and Bill Rich at email@example.com.
With Brian’s appointment, Tim Matney will step back from the GO position but will help with the transition for the near future. It’s hard to find the words to fully express our gratitude to Tim for his tireless efforts over the past year; it’s been a particularly difficult time for the Grievance Team as they have worked through numerous grievances on behalf of our RIF’d colleagues. Tim’s compassion and kindness for those he has helped is an inspiration to us all, and we couldn’t have asked for a better GO. Please thank Tim for his service if you have the good fortune to see him on campus.
We are aware that many of you have been contacted by your chairs or directors to discuss workload for the next year, as per our new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on shared governance. The Labor Management Policy Committee will be meeting to discuss the process and form to be used; please stay posted for updates from them.
AAUP to Vote on Sanction Statements
Last October, the Akron-AAUP leadership requested that national AAUP add The University of Akron to its omnibus governance investigation. The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether there have been departures from AAUP-supported principles and standards of academic governance. Subsequently, the University of Akron was added to the list of institutions to be investigated, and on April 5th, national AAUP sent the Chapter and the Administration a draft of their “Special Report: COVID 19 and Academic Governance”. The report detailed the steps taken in investigating and concluded that the UA Administration “…disregarded AAUP-recommended standards designed to ensure meaningful faculty participation in academic decision-making and to safeguard academic freedom and tenure under financially exigent circumstances.”
The investigating committee invited our Chapter, the Faculty Senate, and the Administration to provide comments and corrections of fact to the draft report.
On April 7th, Akron-AAUP and the Administration signed an MOU which resolved a number of the shared governance concerns outlined in the Chapter’s initial request to investigate. Accordingly, Akron-AAUP and the Administration submitted a joint letter to the AAUP, which, along with some corrections, outlined the provisions of the MOU and stated:
We believe this MOU represents a good-faith effort to set the University on the right course to make the progress that is needed in order for the University to meet its current challenges, which we believe can only be achieved through meaningful shared governance. We believe that the collaborative approach we have taken to addressing the above issues lays the groundwork for further improvements in shared governance on our campus. As the original reasons for the AAUP’s investigation of the University that are addressed in the MOU no longer exist, we request that the draft Special Report: COVID-19 and Academic Governance by the AAUP’s Committee on College and University Governance be updated to reflect these developments and that the Council take these developments into account when it meets to discuss the report. The University further requests that the Council take no action adverse to the University; the Chapter does not oppose this request.
The AAUP Committee on College and University Governance published its report today and will meet to vote on whether or not to sanction any or all of the eight institutions investigated. The national Council of AAUP will then vote to concur or to not concur with the Committee’s decision on June 8th or 9th. In light of this, we wanted you to be aware of the sequence of events leading up to the decision and of our progress towards improving shared governance at UA.
The Akron-AAUP stands by all of its past statements and decisions. We do not, however, wish to get stuck in a pattern of relitigating the past; the Memorandum of Understanding on shared governance provides the foundation on which we can and should build for the future.