The top brass’s message was clear: When talking about the instructors who won’t be reappointed, at least for now, department chairs at the University of Massachusetts at Boston should stick to the script.
“Never slip and call this a layoff,” reads a Monday talking-points memo from the provost’s office, obtained byThe Chronicle. Similarly, “do not speak of this notice as a kind of ‘pink slip.’”
This week, letters were sent to an unknown number of instructors, telling them that they won’t be reappointed for the fall, with the caveat that things could change over the summer. “I am very sorry for the consternation I know this will cause you,” Emily A. McDermott, the interim provost, says in the form letter.
When the Covid-19 pandemic threatened to deplete projected budgets, college leaders, like those at UMass-Boston, looked to minimize expenses and make difficult choices about priorities. While decisions were still up in the air, faculty members, especially those off the tenure track, feared that their ranks would be thinned. Now, those cuts are starting to be made across academe. (The Chronicleistracking them here.)