Faculty Terminations at Purdue Calumet

The following statement was made yesterday by the Purdue AAUP about plans to cut faculty positions at Purdue Calumet. An hour after the AAUP statement was released, the chancellor sent a memo expressing hope that the cuts can be rescinded.

Faculty Terminations at Purdue Calumet

The recent announcement of faculty terminations by the Administration at Purdue Calumet is extremely troubling. These terminations do not appear to have been conducted with the proper faculty input, in contradiction to the concept of shared governance. The timing of this announcement, coming in the week before the academic faculty return to teaching, under scores this apparent lack of shared governance. The justification for terminating faculty has centered on Purdue Calumet’s claim of financial difficulties. The faculty has yet to be able to confirm this assertion, as the administration seems reluctant to share financial information. However, while claiming that they are in such dire financial trouble they must lay off instructors, lecturers, and tenure track faculty, Purdue Calumet is actively hiring more administrators, increasing funding to the athletic program and hiring fitness assistants.

Lower than expected enrollment numbers has been cited as the primary contributing factor to the financial problem. According to the administration, reasons for the low enrollment range from the impact of advanced placement and dual credit programs in the high schools; the previous administration’s lack of ability and foresight in automating the admission process while there is an admission that enrollment is actually up in some areas.

The AAUP’s position is that in the event of a legitimate financial crisis, negatively impacting the educational mission of the university should only be considered when all other cost cutting alternatives have been exhausted. We have yet to see sufficient evidence that this formula has been applied at Purdue Calumet.

The AAUP further advocates that faculty must be actively and appropriately included in any discussions or plans related to potential program cuts, modifications and/or possible faculty reductions. The current plan will have a direct negative impact on available curricula and the quality of education. The faculty has not been properly included in the process of determining that the financial situation is severe enough to contemplate only faculty terminations or in the termination process itself.

The decision to cut the education delivery process itself has a chilling effect on the University and the community. People’s lives and potential educational opportunities for students are impacted. The AAUP recognizes the seriousness and the difficulties surrounding these decisions. It is for these very reasons that it is imperative that such decisions proceed in a transparent fashion and with appropriate faculty inclusion.

We strongly urge President Daniels, Chancellor Keon and the Board of Trustees to reconsider the termination of faculty at Purdue Calumet and to actively engage with faculty and their appropriate representatives in order to work through the anticipated budget crisis and find alternative solutions that are less devastating to Purdue’s mission, values and goals and to the citizens of Indiana.

Dr. Marcus K. Rogers
President Purdue AAUP Chapter

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