Emory responds to national AAUP letter

By Nancy Seideman | Emory Report | Dec. 21, 2012

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Emory will transmit a formal and detailed response* to a recent letter from the national office of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) regarding changes brought about by the Emory College plan announced in September. In the meantime, Emory College Dean Robin Forman and several other College professors have expressed their concern regarding AAUP's communication.  

In a Dec. 11 letter to the College faculty, Forman clarified several central points not acknowledged in the national AAUP letter, including the fundamental fact that Emory College bylaws were followed in developing the college plan as confirmed by the Emory College Faculty Governance Committee, the elected governance body of the Emory College faculty.  

Forman also noted that he takes the concerns expressed by the AAUP "seriously" and has met with leaders of the local AAUP chapter and is willing to continue to meet with its membership to discuss governance issues.  

"Nothing is more important to the administration of a college of arts and sciences than a faculty governance structure that the faculty themselves have confidence can adequately represent their collective interests," wrote Forman, who further stated that he welcomed participation by all faculty in the coming weeks and months as governance issues continued to be discussed in faculty meetings.  

In response to the national AAUP letter, three faculty members who have served as the chairs of the Emory College Governance Committee (ECGC) since 2008 stated that they "reject the notion that faculty governance was done improperly at the College."  

The letter, released publicly by its authors, notes that the "Governance Committee of Emory College of Arts and Sciences is the duly elected body which represents faculty…The Governance Committee has held faculty meetings in response to the College restructuring, has met with faculty representatives of the affected departments, and has decided that the procedures followed were in fact appropriate. There is ongoing examination of whether new or altered structures should be instituted in the future, but that is a different conversation."   

The letter is signed by biology professor Gray F. Crouse, current president of University Senate and chair, Faculty Council, and previous ECGC chair; associate professor of physics Eric Weeks and previous ECGC chair; and associate professor of chemistry Stefan Lutz, current ECGC chair.

* UPDATE: Read the University's official response, sent by Provost Earl Lewis on Dec. 21.