Today the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) formally censured the College of Saint Rose for its 2015 firing of tenured and tenure-track faculty members. The charge: “violating standards of academic freedom and tenure.” This follows an AAUP investigation and criticism.
As far as I know, this is the first time the AAUP has called out an institution for a queen sacrifice.
The AAUP’s move stands in diametric opposition to a local business association, which earlier this year offered Saint Rose’s president a commendation for her queen sacrifice.
Here’s Saint Rose’s defiant response to the censure, starting with a financial argument:
Saint Rose released a statement Saturday saying that it’s evolving to “meet the changing expectations of our students, to strengthen the college’s finances and to continue to provide a comprehensive, world-class education at a great value.”
A local paper reported a similar statement: “college spokesman Benjamin Marvin said changes at Saint Rose aim to stabilize finances and meet students’ changing expectations. Last fall, the college had a $9.3 million deficit.”
The college goes on to assert its independence:
Referring to a joint policy note on shared governance from the AAUP, the American Council on Education and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, the statement continues: “Change naturally draws criticism, and the AAUP faults Saint Rose for not adhering to policies AAUP last revised nearly 50 years ago. Saint Rose never adopted AAUP’s policies and has no obligation to follow them now.”
Does this indicate a new stance by the AAUP? If so, will it give institutions pause? Richard DeMillo (who was a Future Trends Forum guest in February) is pretty skeptical of the organization’s ability to encourage, much less implement, effective change. Will that conservative approach lead the AAUP to defend the shrinking number of tenured faculty? Or will campus leaders see such censure as either unlikely or simply a cost of doing business in order to survive?