Cynthia Clark is suing the University of Texas at Arlington, charging that she lost her job as a lecturer after her diagnosis of liver cancer, The Star-Telegram reported. Clark tried to get courses assigned to her after she was hospitalized but describes being turned down for positions and losing her health insurance, despite having taught for years, winning rave reviews. She had started at the university as an adjunct and rose to the rank of senior lecturer. The university said it does not comment on litigation.
George Mason University’s plan to rename its law school after Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court justice, is once again under fire. But this time the criticism is more substantive than the unfortunate acronym resulting from the Antonin Scalia School of Law, ASSOL (that controversy ended in a tweaking -- while the official name will remain the same, the school will be referred to as the Antonin Scalia Law School). The university’s Faculty Senate on Wednesday voted 21-13 to approve a resolution calling into question Scalia’s legacy on decisions involving historically marginalized groups -- echoing similar discussions at Georgetown University in the wake of Scalia’s death -- and the $30 million in funding behind the name change, $10 million of which comes from the conservative Charles Koch Foundation.
“The senate recognizes that the gifts provide $30 million in scholarship support for law students and memorialize Justice Scalia’s many years of public service and his intellectual contributions to jurisprudence,” reads the resolution. At the same time, it says, the senate finds problematic “the celebration of a Supreme Court justice who made numerous public offensive comments about various groups -- including people of color, women and [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer] individuals -- which this university has appropriately gone to some lengths to embrace as valued parts of the university community.” Also troubling to the senate, according to the resolution, is “the reinforcement of the external branding of the university as a conservative institution rather than an unaligned body that is a comfortable home for individuals with a variety of viewpoints.”
The faculty resolution accuses university leaders of not being forthcoming about the terms of the funding agreement and how George Mason will financially honor those terms after the initial funding period expires. The resolution urges the George Mason’s Board of Visitors and administration to “underscore the university’s support for civil discourse that bridges the great diversity present” on campus and “highlight to external audiences that the university is not aligned with any single ideological position and is a friendly home to faculty, staff, students and others with diverse points of view,” among other things. The resolution also calls on George Mason to “explain more fully the university’s plan to manage its responsibility for future funding of new law school faculty and centers without detriment to other units in the university” and “commit to honest, open communication with faculty and other university stakeholders.”
A university spokesperson did not provide immediate comment. Suzanne Slayden, a professor of chemistry and Faculty Senate parliamentarian and chair of the body’s Academic Policies Committee, said the day’s resolution did not formally oppose the Scalia name, but that such proposals will be introduced at the senate’s next meeting.
Dozens of faculty and staff members already have signed a separate letter condemning the decision to make Scalia synonymous with George Mason’s law school. “The values that Scalia affirmed from the bench do not reflect the values of our campus community,” the letter says. “Further, the renaming decision was made without regard for faculty, staff and student input and consent.”
The faculty union at the financially troubled City College of San Francisco is planning a one-day strike today. So the college is shutting down for the day. A statement from CCSF said: "Under these circumstances, closing the school and its 11 locations on Wednesday is the safest and most prudent course of action. Due to the strike, we do not anticipate having the necessary personnel on-site to maintain and operate the buildings."
Support groups can be empowering, but unless appropriately structured, they can result in a downward spiral that leaves everyone with unresolved anger, hopelessness and no clear direction forward, writes Kerry Ann Rockquemore.
The University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Faculty Senate will vote on a resolution expressing no confidence in UW System President Ray Cross and the system’s Board of Regents on May 2. Among numerous alleged missteps by Cross and the board, the resolution criticizes them for supporting a new systemwide layoff policy for tenured professors that many faculty members said fell short of providing real tenure protections in the event of program closures for budgetary and academic concerns. The board also approved changes to a Madison-specific policy that many professors said watered down tenure protections. The new policies stem from the Wisconsin Legislature’s elimination of tenure from state statute last year.
The no-confidence resolution, which is still being finalized, was written by Chad Alan Goldberg, a professor of sociology, faculty senator and president of American Federation of Teachers-affiliated United Faculty and Academic Staff. A current draft says, in part, that system leaders’ actions “have damaged the reputation of [Madison] as a great state university that encourages continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found” and that the “the erosion of academic due process and the circumventing of shared governance jeopardize the quality of students’ education.”
The document already has been endorsed by the president of the Madison advocacy chapter of the American Association of University Professors, David Vanness, associate professor of population health sciences. Vanness said in an email to colleagues on Sunday that the case against Cross “is clear and convincing. … His actions at the Board of Regents meeting in March conclusively demonstrated that he has played a direct role in bringing about the weakening of tenure and shared governance as a means of giving the administration ‘flexibility’ and ‘tools’ to set aside tenure and trammel shared governance in order to deal with continuing budget cuts.”
Alex Hummel, university system spokespeson, said via email that the vote "is a faculty matter, and President Cross remains focused on helping the [system's] institutions maintain a world-class education."