This will be the first in a series of posts taken from the blog of the AAUP chapter at the University of Akron [http://akronaaup.org/blog/]. That blog provides a chronicle of the changes that have been occurring with often startling rapidity at the university in the wake of a change in institutional leadership.
This sort of news scroll is a very effective way for chapters to insure that their websites and blogs are of continuing interest to their members.
Below are excerpts from various recent editorial and news pieces concerning events at UA. Click the links to read the entire texts.
Challenges at UA
Excerpts from a letter to the editor, The Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio.com) July 20.
“The faculty, staff and students did not make the decisions that have led to this crisis; the trustees, the previous president and his administration did. And yet university employees will bear the brunt of the consequences. University employees will be fired, will not be able to pay their mortgages, will not be able to pay their bills and will be unable to put food on the table for their families. Is this fair? More important, is this right? How hard is it to find a good job in the Akron area after you have been laid off? Yet many people who made these administrative decisions will not lose their jobs.”
“We have upper-level administrators at the university who retired with wonderful pensions, then been rehired with generous salaries. I thought retirement was just that, retirement. Yet we will have employees laid off who were working with the hope of one day retiring.”
Read the entire letter here.
Cutting The Wrong Sport
Commentary from Inside Higher Education, online edition, July 20.
“…The barren stadium is one of several reasons that some faculty members and students at Akron say they are fed up with the amount of money being spent on the university’s struggling football team at a time when the institution is facing a $60 million budget shortfall. In response to the deficit, tuition and fees have been raised. More than 200 staff positions will be cut over the next three years. Employee health care and other benefits will be renegotiated.
In addition, the baseball team will be cut. The football program, however, is safe.
“It’s not been on the table,” Lawrence Burns, vice president of advancement for the university, said. “And it will not be on the table any time in the foreseeable future.” …”
“…According to several studies published over the last decade, little research exists to support the idea that the success of an athletic program at an institution the size and sector of Akron influences fund-raising, college choice or the number of applicants.
In one study, published in the Journal of Sport in 2014, students at MAC institutions were asked to note where athletics ranked as a funding priority and as a factor in college choice. Only 3 percent of respondents stated that it was “extremely important,” while 73 percent stated it was “unimportant” or “extremely unimportant.”…”
Read the entire article here.
More from Ohio.com This Week
Never Mind the Higher Fee by the ABJ Editorial Board
“Students and their families expressed their opposition to a new and steep fee increase on higher level courses at the University of Akron. State Rep. Greta Johnson amplified their voices with a pointed letter to Scott Scarborough, the UA president. On Monday, the university announced that it will reverse course. The fee will be retracted.
That is good for those students who were looking at an increase in costs of roughly $1,200 per year. Puzzling was the statement that Scarborough issued explaining the reversal. It said nothing about the outcry, let alone officials feeling any pressure to respond.”
University of Akron to rescind $50-per-credit-hour fee by Rick Armon, ABJ Staff Writer,
“UA faced sharp criticism from students and others over the fee, especially after state lawmakers voted to freeze tuition. Many argued that the fee was a way to get around the state and to raise tuition in a sneaky way.
State Rep. Greta Johnson, D-Akron, a UA alumna, had called it unfair to students and “a bit offensive” to lawmakers who were trying to hold down the cost of public education in the state.
“The victory here belongs to the students and their families,” Johnson said after the announcement.”
From July 18 Ohio.com online:
Degrees of Blame For Higher UA Fees by Nichael Douglas, ABJ Editorial Page Editor
“One choice that the governor and lawmakers have made is to cut deeply income tax rates. They added another $1 billion reduction in the new budget. They did so even though the state’s need-based assistance, the Ohio College Opportunity Grant, still has not recovered from the slashing of the recession, now at half of the $222 million available seven years ago.
That qualifies, along with the UA fee increase, and miserly pay for adjunct faculty, as a measure of what the state still must do to support adequately higher education, and establish a stronger position in what is a knowledge economy.
All told, the governor and state lawmakers have reduced taxes by $3.5 billion a year the past decade. Imagine a portion of that sum routed to higher education, easing tuition costs, advancing quality. Ohio might discover what others know well. Median wages are much higher in states with better-educated workers.“