No, I'm not talking about CSU.
But I encourage everyone to read below what happened at Antioch College when that institution's Board of Trustees usurped functions that belong to faculty and systematically excluded faculty from governance. See also the AAUP Report Association's "recommended standards for faculty participation in program development, curricular control, budgetary allocation, declaration of financial exigency, and treatment of faculty..." at the following link: http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/protect/academicfreedom/investrep/2009/Antioch.htm
Gary Rhoades, General Secretary of the AAUP, has a parable for us in this article.
The Near-Death Experience of Antioch College: A Cautionary Tale
What happens when a university’s corporate management betrays the institution’s core educational mission; when it abandons its key constituencies; when it hides its intentions and plans; and when it manipulates or withholds essential financial information? The AAUP’s investigative report on Antioch University provides disturbing and disheartening answers to these questions.
Antioch College, founded in 1852 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, has had a long history as a pioneer in liberal arts education. Significant innovations, subsequently adopted by many other institutions, have included cooperative education, experiential learning, community governance, recruitment of African American students before and after Brown vs. Board of Education, and the country’s first study abroad program. Through good times and bad, Antioch has produced distinguished graduates such as Coretta Scott King, Stephen Jay Gould, and Eleanor Holmes Norton. It has received top rankings among colleges whose graduates go on to complete the PhD as well as continuing recognition in the areas of academic challenge, enriching educational experience, active and collaborative learning, and student-faculty interaction.
The Antioch University administration and board of trustees, in suspending the operations of Antioch College and then closing the institution on June 30, 2008, appears to have decided that the college’s rich history of progressive education and its residential liberal arts setting were luxuries that its 21st-century management philosophy could not afford and did not need. Antioch’s closure is thus of concern to everyone interested in high quality liberal arts higher education. The report of the AAUP’s investigative committee analyzes the protracted dissolution of Antioch College in the light of the Association's recommended standards for faculty participation in program development, curricular control, budgetary allocation, declaration of financial exigency, and treatment of faculty under such exigency. The report details the gradual deterioration of faculty governance at Antioch through a series of administrative actions over several decades that led ultimately to the closure of the college. Key managerial decisions made by the administration repeatedly disregarded longstanding principles of faculty consultation and shared governance.
Specifically the report reveals that the Antioch University administration:
- usurped the faculty’s responsibilities by mandating a new curriculum that the faculty neither initiated nor approved;
- failed to consult with the faculty regarding the college’s financial condition prior to the declaration of financial exigency and the process by which university administrators and board members had reached that decision;
- failed to provide faculty members the right to examine or challenge the decisions both to declare financial exigency and to close the college;
- systematically reduced the flow of budgetary information to the Antioch College faculty and its governance bodies;
- failed to protect the autonomy of Antioch College and, in fact, significantly undermined it by approving a shift of administrative functions from Antioch College to the university administration without ensuring means for communication or sharing of governance;
During its 156-year history, the college had struggled through many hard times but had been sustained by the strong tradition of its faculty's engagement with enlightened boards, distinguished administrators, eminent alumni, and talented students working together to serve the common good.
Fortunately, those devoted to the Antioch tradition have once again taken critical steps toward reopening Antioch College. As announced on June 30, 2009, the governing boards of Antioch University and the college’s alumni have reached agreement on opening a new Antioch College, independent of the university. Reopening is anticipated for fall 2011. Antioch College, it seems, will rise again phoenix-like and survive to continue its tradition of progressive education. But its near demise provides clear and eloquent testimony to the havoc wrought by a board and administration that abandoned their commitment to liberal arts education and to the fundamental principles of shared governance.
Gary Rhoades, General Secretary
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