AAUP Truman chapter meeting, February 19, 2013
Attendance: Marc Becker, James Harmon, Wolfgang Hoeschele, Sylvia Macauley, Marc Rice, Tom Zoumaras
1. University Conference Day on February 21. Marc Becker and Marc rice coordinated the program for our session, “Understanding the challenges of public sector employment.” Rebecca McClanahan will be there, while Richard Von Glahn of Jobs with Justice will take part via Skype call. Some organizational issues were discussed, including having a webcam and microphone available.
2. Missouri budget situation. At the Kansas City AAUP meeting, Amy Blouin of the Missouri Budget Project gave a presentation, featuring among other things the highly regressive Missouri tax structure (which has become more regressive), the low state revenues (lower as a percentage of personal income in the state than it has ever been at any time since 1981), and the long time until inflation-adjusted state revenues may once again reach the levels from 2008 (this will take at least until 2029). Marc Becker passed out a paper with the Powerpoint slides of that presentation; the report on which it is based is available at the organization’s website: http://www.mobudget.org/home.html. This situation has major impacts on funding for higher education as well as other parts of public spending. Marc suggested we bring Amy Blouin to campus to present this information. It will be important to do this in collaboration with other groups so that there will be a good audience. No decision was made.
3. University budget situation. Troy Paino’s presentation at the All-University Meeting he had called the day before was discussed; Marc Rica and Marc Becker also talked about their meeting with Provost Joan Poor. At the time of that meeting, she had been fairly optimistic about the budget situation, but that was before new information came in that Paino talked about.
4. Termination of Doug Davenport’s position as Dean of the School of Social and Cultural Studies. Tom Zoumaras expressed his dismay at how this situation had been handled. He could see no cause for dismissal. He has talked with both President Paino and Provost Poor (the latter called a meeting with department chairs which TZ couldn’t attend, but he met with her separately later that day). Poor has stated that it was not one incident that was the cause, but rather a series of small cumulative problems. Paino backed her up on a Sunday meeting and she announced the decision on Monday. Davenport says that he was blindsided; he did not see this coming. TZ suspects that DD may have pushed too hard on behalf of faculty, such as individual psychology professors not wanting to move to Barnett along with the department as a whole. He finds that the process of dismissal is a serious violation of AAUP guidelines, and it would make it difficult for DD to apply for any administrative positions elsewhere if he wants to do that. He found JP’s answers to some questions (e.g., about performance reviews of DD) evasive, and department chairs were not consulted in the process. DD’s performance evaluations were very good, his work to ensure summer research grants and to support internships was commendable.
Marc B. raised the question as to whether the AAUP ever looks into such situations on behalf of administrators as opposed to faculty; he will look into it.
Note regarding point 4 above: David Robinson’s view on the matter of AAUP and administrators, solicited by Marc Becker, is as follows:
There are no AAUP guidelines where appointment of administrators is
concerned; they serve at the pleasure of their supervisors. Doug still
has his faculty position. AAUP can certainly get involved if the
post-administrator faculty member is mistreated.
Occasionally, probably rarely, faculty organizes to support a dismissed
administrator (such as president of U Virginia last year); in those
cases, AAUP can simply ask governing boards to “please pay attention to
clear voice of faculty governance.” If Faculty Senate is not ready to
condemn Joan and come to Doug’s rescue, AAUP has very little role to
play, officially. AAUP members can do or say whatever they think that
they should, as public citizens and members of the university community.