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Letter Addresses Program Cuts and Appointment Terminations at Illinois Wesleyan

The AAUP's Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance sent a letter today to the president of Illinois Wesleyan University (IWU), S. Georgia Nugent, and to the chair of the university's board of trustees, Timothy Szerlong, regarding action taken by the board on July 16 to discontinue programs in anthropology, French, Italian, and religious studies. The letter also addresses the administration's announcement that it would issue terminal appointments on August 31 to up to six tenured faculty members who teach in these programs.

The letter outlines faculty concerns that the decision-making process that preceded this action departed from normative standards of academic governance, noting reports that the administration and board "either ignored or minimized the faculty's stated concerns" about the process.The AAUP's interest in the situation at Illinois Wesleyan stems from its longstanding commitment to principles and standards of academic governance and of academic freedom and tenure.

The AAUP requests a timely response from the administration and board and urges them to address the issues raised in the letter by

  • responding to a June 19 resolution by the Council on University Programs and Policy and providing affected faculty members with reasons for the discontinuation of their programs;
  • accepting a faculty recommendation adopted at a July 30 emergency faculty meeting to refrain from issuing terminal contracts to affected faculty members for the 2020–21 academic year; and
  • making every effort during the academic year to identify suitable academic positions for faculty members in discontinued departments.

Read the letter.

Publication Date: 
Friday, August 28, 2020