Professors at Ohio U say tenure-track faculty cuts can’t simply be blamed on COVID-19, but rather long-term financial mismanagement.

Colleen Flaherty:

Ohio University had budget woes long before the pandemic. Professors were fighting probable cuts to instruction even as the coronavirus bore down, so they welcomed a March email from President M. Duane Nellis saying that cuts to personnel were on pause.

The reprieve is apparently over. According to accounts from affected professors and their colleagues, some program and department chairs have begun notifying tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty members that their contracts will not be renewed.

That’s in addition to 140 layoffs of unionized maintenance and other personnel announced last week in what some have called a “May Day massacre.”

The university has acknowledged the union layoffs, linking them to state funding losses and $18 million in student housing, dining and parking fee refunds related to the pandemic. But administrators say no final decisions about faculty nonrenewals have been made.