Heal divide on college faculty – A Letter to YS News

Here’s a letter from the Ad Hoc Former Tenured Faculty Committee printed in this week’s Yellow Springs News (2/10/11) on the Community Forum page in response to the letter from the BPT printed in the 1/17/11 YS News. The YS News gave it the headline: “Heal divide on college faculty” (note: the YS News will only print a certain number of names, so the letter was submitted from the entire Committee but we could only list a few names):

We were puzzled to read the recent editorial about faculty hiring policy from the Antioch College Board of Trustees, as it takes pains to refute several positions which we, the Ad Hoc Committee of the Former Tenured Faculty, have never espoused. First, no one in our Committee (nor the American Association of University Professors) has claimed that the College has a legal obligation to acknowledge the tenure status of former College faculty. We understand the legal meaning of “non-successor corporation”; our position has always been that there are strong ethical, professional, and pragmatic reasons for the College to welcome our experience and institutional knowledge, and to work with us. Also, no one has opposed the principle of national searches which we, too, see as the generally preferred procedure for hiring faculty in a liberal arts college.

Our point has been that national searches are at this time only necessary for *some* positions in which qualified former faculty are not available. We have already been selected through national searches and then demonstrated our ongoing value to the College through a grueling multi-year process of rigorous peer review in order to achieve tenure.

Because we, too, desire that Antioch will once again take its rightful place among pre-eminent U.S. liberal arts colleges, we continue to request that the Board seek the imprimatur of the AAUP on matters of academic policy and hiring practice, as these are the standards across the academy. Yet the Board of Trustees has so far ignored the Association’s recommendations. The Board of Trustees also recently heard from the Alumni Board Task Force on Former Faculty, whose report made the recommendation that “it is in the best interest of the opening Antioch College that faculty initially hired include a representation of the faculty of the closed Antioch College so that faculty familiar with Antioch’s educational approach can mentor new faculty and can carry forward experience with Antioch’s educational approach.”

A broad coalition of alumni, faculty, staff, students, and Yellow Springs residents fought for and were critical in winning the independence of the College. The Board’s claim in their editorial that following the College’s closing in June 08 that they were the sole actors in securing the College’s independence is simply not the case, as almost any issue of the Yellow Springs News during that year will show. Different representations of the history of the last three years, and ideas of what constitutes a “just” solution to the situation of the former tenured faculty, have, sadly, divided College supporters. We had hoped that the Board would see the logic of working to heal these divisions, especially as we, like many alumni, believe that Antioch would immediately benefit from our wide-ranging institutional, curricular and academic expertise, and our abundantly demonstrated commitment to the College.

– Jean Gregorek, Anne Bohlen, Chris Hill, Hassan Rahmanian (for the Ad Hoc Committee of the Former Tenured Faculty of Antioch College)

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