AOTP Letter in Support of Faculty in Kansas.
January 27, 2021
Dear Chancellor Girod and Provost Bichelmeyer,
As president of the AOTP – American Organization of Teachers of Portuguese, I write to you on behalf of our board of directors regarding the recent policy adopted by the Kansas Board of Regents that allows state universities to suspend, dismiss, or terminate tenured and untenured faculty in the next two years without formally declaring a financial emergency.
The University of Kansas is an institution that many around the country regard as a model and reference and in accordance, although unusual measures are necessary to face the current COVID-19 crisis, the AOTP asks that whatever measures and decisions you deem necessary in the best interest of the university follow the well-established faculty shared governance procedures.
Faculty is the backbone of the university’s reputation; they are the ones that power the university’s infrastructure to its full potential which promotes the excellence in research and in the student body and fuels the institutions reputation and contributions to our country. Not acting in accordance with the established procedures will disrupt this incredible fragile process and have serious repercussions to the university. Following the regents’ policy will make current talented faculty fear arbitrary termination and look elsewhere for employment. In the future, how will the university attract and retain new talented researchers and teachers once it unequivocally demonstrates that it does not follow procedure when the going gets tough?
Whatever relief the university may find with this decision now, it will be at the cost of damages that will have a hefty cost to repair, if repairable at all. The faculty are the university, the quality of the faculty is the quality of the university; destroy one and you destroy the other. The Kansas Board of Regents decision will not solve what you are trying to solve and will jeopardize a top institution in higher education in your state and in our country. We strongly request the Kansas Board of Regents to reconsider this policy decision, and we urge you to not follow this detrimental path.
AOTP - American Organization of Teachers of Portuguese, President