Edgewood professors appeal eliminated positions, defend ethnic studies

Yvonne Kim:

Edgewood College professors whose positions were eliminated in late May are awaiting final board review after appealing their cases, which they say are reflective of larger restructuring concerns.

After three tenured and three tenure-track professors were notified May 27 that their positions would be eliminated as a step to “align faculty and staff positions with changing student needs,” two accepted voluntary separation packages. The other four, however, contacted the American Association of University Professors, which sent a letter June 10 to Edgewood President Andrew Manion saying the announcements violate AAUP’s regulations and do not prove “adequate cause” for terminating the appointments. 

Nine days later, elected faculty members of the Academic Rank Committee seconded the AAUP’s claims. Without “adequate cause,” the college can only remove faculty due to financial exigency or discontinuation of an academic program — neither of which the committee said is applicable.

“(We) understand the financial position facing the College, but actions such as these which are contrary to the Faculty Association by-laws open the College community to the potential for damaging and expensive consequences and may adversely impact the College’s mission to serve the students,” the committee wrote in the letter.

Manion has not responded to the letter. He began his role as president in June of this year, facing enrollment declines of over 20% in recent years.