Gallaudet AAUP’s Executive Committee has reviewed a letter sent on May 9, 2023 to administrators from the Faculty of Color Coalition (FoCC) Subcommittee Leadership Team, outlining “deep concerns” about inviting faculty to join three summer work groups to address curriculum development, faculty course load and salary, and updating sections in the Faculty Handbook. We agree that there are “several aspects of [the] invitation that significantly counter the core values, principles, and practices of equity, diversity, and inclusion.”
In the Winter of 2022 Academe publication, AAUP’s president, Irene Mulvey, wrote about how her “platform included a promise to address the concern that, as a predominantly white organization in a white supremacist society, the AAUP was not living up to its mission to promote higher education as a public good.” She also noted that “the AAUP is uniquely situated to help bend the moral arc toward justice” (Mulvey, 2022). As part of our chapter’s core values, the Gallaudet AAUP supports faculty agency and solidarity, ensuring that equity, diversity, and inclusion are critical components of our chapter’s actions and practices. We expect the same from Gallaudet’s administrators and faculty leaders.
The Gallaudet AAUP supports FoCC’s letter, highlighting concerns and questions about the invitation for faculty workgroups. While acknowledging the positive initiative, we agree that there were issues with how administrators initiated the proposal invitations, including the lack of equitable processes, diverse representation, accountability, potentially biased selection, and rushed time frames. We emphasize the importance of integrating equity, diversity, and inclusion into programs and processes and call for a collaborative effort to create more equitable outcomes. We await the administration’s response and stand with FoCC in creating one faculty at Gallaudet.
Emailed Letter from the Faculty of Color Coalition
To: Provost Jeff Lewis and Dean Khadijat Rashid
Re: FoCC Letter of Concern with Summer Faculty Workgroup Invitation
May 4, 2023
Dear Provost Lewis and Dean Rashid,
On behalf of The Faculty of Color Coalition (FoCC), we would like to express our deep concern for the recent invitation that was sent to all faculty regarding the 3 work groups to be established this summer to address curriculum development, faculty course load and salary, and updating sections in the faculty handbook.
In a careful and thorough review of your letter of invitation, we feel it necessary to bring attention to several aspects of your invitation that significantly counter the core values, principles, and practices of equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Administration-initiated proposal invitation rather than being initiated and conceptualized by faculty. Curriculum development, faculty welfare matters, and moreover faculty workload and pay are all critical matters that should come from and be determined BY faculty. Furthermore, had the administration notified the faculty in advance and in a more timely fashion, the present initiatives proposed by the administration could have been originated by the faculty.
- Lack of transparent and detailed equitable processes across all groups and their formation. We believe that clear criteria should be established for group membership, selection, and other important areas. This will ensure that the processes are fair and inclusive.
- Diverse representation is only “encouraged” and not required – left to chance thereby reflecting an extremely weak demonstration of institutional commitment to diversity and inclusion practices. We believe that diversity and inclusion should be given the highest priority in all areas of the institution.
- Lack of an accountability system and monitoring across all groups. This could lead to potential biases and unfair treatment of certain faculty members in our community.
- Biased selection (interdisciplinary degrees) without transparent justification for/consideration of any other degree emphasis areas – administration initiated and enforced through the power of positionality to determine curriculum priority rather than faculty/academic program initiated with clear and equitable process and protocols (including consideration for relevant accreditation standards). We strongly believe that this decision was made without faculty input or proper protocols, which is problematic.
- Unnecessarily rushed, unreasonable, and inappropriate time frames for the workgroups that do NOT match the realistic breadth, scope, and importance of the responsibilities assigned to each work group thereby giving the impression of administrative overstep to intentionally fast-track select proposals to FWC and subsequently to Faculty Senate, AND/OR to CGE/CUE for expedited approval. This gives the impression of administrative misuse of power and bypasses the opportunity for thorough review, evaluation, and discourse among all faculty.
QUESTIONS FOR CLARIFICATION
- Please provide the context for these workgroups – how did you conceptualize the idea? What influenced your thinking? Why now?
- How (i.e. what specific ways) did you consider and structure into your plan, equity, and diversity core values, principles, and practices? From the written invitation, this is not made transparent and explicit.
- Your invitation emphasized the “need” for “everyone’s involvement to ensure that the proposals that are submitted to the Senate are robust and reflect the full range of faculty perspectives and experience.”
How can everyone be involved, proposals be “robust” and “reflect full range” of perspectives/experiences if diversity is only “encouraged” and not structured into the process, AND if the process itself is not structured equitably from the onset of its conception by administration and not faculty?
- Was there proper consultation by key stakeholders relevant to the work groups prior to the invitation being released to faculty? For example, the Graduate School Associate Dean, CGE, CUE.
- Regarding financial compensation (i.e., $300/day) – How was this figure determined, and is this applicable across faculty rank and employment status (9, 10, 11, and 12-month contracts)?
In order for the FoCC to support and participate in your invitation, as well as encourage our faculty peers, we need to have our concerns and questions satisfactorily addressed.
We look forward to your response and the opportunity to work collaboratively to determine more equitable processes and outcomes.
The Faculty of Color (FoCC) Subcommittee Leadership Team
cc: President Roberta Cordano
Dr. Elizabeth Moore, Interim Chief Diversity Officer
Dr. Jeremy Brunson, Director, Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Excellence
Dr. Beth Gibbons, Associate Dean, Graduate School
Dr. Helen Thumann, School Director
Dr. Teresa Burke, School Director
Dr. Caroline Solomon, School Director
Dr. Daniel Koo, School Director
Dr. Emilia Chukwama, School Director
Council on Graduate Education
Council on Undergraduate Education
Faculty Senate – Chair
Gallaudet Faculty at Large