Demonstration at Akron

By Joshua Guy Lenes

Dressed in their regalia and wearing black armbands, members of the AAUP chapter of the University of Akron held a silent demonstration at embattled President Scott Scarborough’s State of the University address in October, occupying a large part of the auditorium and withholding their applause. The chapter distributed their own “State of the University” statement to attendees, drawing attention to the real issues at the University of Akron, including shrinking numbers of full-time faculty, overreliance on contingent faculty, and a costly and misguided “polytechnic” rebranding effort led by the president.

All of these actions represent a lack of confidence in shared governance at Akron, according to the chapter’s handout. Only 19 percent of faculty agreed that “shared governance is working well at the University of Akron.” The same poll found that 72 percent of faculty lack confidence in the president, and 78 percent lack confidence in the board of trustees. Despite these issues, the Akron AAUP chapter sees “a way forward” that draws on the university’s strengths by serving the community of northeast Ohio, drawing on a strong reputation in research, and providing high-quality public higher education to veterans and nontraditional students.

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