Faculty Propose University Senate Resolution to Amend New Mission & Vision Statements in an Open Letter to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees

More than one hundred faculty have published an open letter to the Chancellor and Board of Trustees in today’s Daily Orange. The letter supports a University Senate resolution to revise the new mission and vision statement in order to better reflect the values of the University community.

A reductive mission statement was nearly passed by the Board of Trustees early in November, stripping notions of the university as a public good, reference to students of diverse backgrounds, and values of democracy and community engagement.

THE General Body’s sit-in temporarily stopped its passage and won a brief comment period. We support faculty of THE General Body in their effort to add specific language into the mission and vision statement.

Without explanation, the Chancellor has already changed some of the language in the mission and vision statement to reflect THE General Body’s concerns, but there is still no reference to the university as a public good, democracy, or specific support for students from diverse backgrounds.

Visit this website to add your comments about the proposed mission and vision statement. [use below link]


Open Letter to Chancellor Syverud and Syracuse University’s Board of Trustees In response to Chancellor Syverud’s recent agreement to extend the period for comment on the university’s new vision and mission statements, we, faculty in support of THE General Body, wish to express a different shared vision for Syracuse University, as embodied by the Centennial Declaration of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) (see below). We wish to draw attention to the fact that the Chancellor’s new mission statement is inconsistent with many of the principles in this declaration. Notably, it fails to emphasize the university as a public good, and omits important language about Syracuse University’s commitment to uphold the values of democracy, shared governance, transparency, access to opportunity, creativity, and community engagement. We are concerned that the new mission statement omits a specific and strong commitment to programs and goals that ensure full access, support, and open participation of faculty, students, and staff with disabilities, historically underrepresented races and ethnicities, and non-hegemonic genders and sexualities. In addition, whereas the new mission statement encourages “global study,” we agree that encouraging “studies of global justice” would more aptly represent the shared values of our university community. We would prefer that the university commit to building a community established on the principles reflected in the AAUP’s Centennial Declaration, rather than adopting any mission statement at all. However, in lieu of such a compromise, we ask that any forthcoming mission statement be revised to incorporate the feedback noted above. We encourage our colleagues in the University Senate to pass the following resolution on December 3, 2014, and urge the Chancellor and Board of Trustees to respect the consensus of the University Senate as a representative body on this campus. Resolved: The Syracuse University Senate affirms and adopts the Centennial Declaration of the American Association of University Professors as part of Syracuse University’s guiding principles. WHY: At a time in which there is concern among faculty nationwide that Academic Freedom and Shared Governance are under threat, it is important to reflect on our shared principles and what they mean. We hope and expect all Syracuse University community members will be mindful of these principles in deliberations and decision making at all levels of governance so that we can become, as the declaration’s provisions state, an institution that is “built on the full and open participation of diverse faculty and students.” We urge all faculty, students, administrators, staff and the Board of Trustees to recognize in their actions that the university is a “public good” and that meaningful “shared governance is a cornerstone” of ensuring that we live up to that high and demanding charge. We draw particular attention to #10, since the Trustees appear to misunderstand shared governance and faculty prerogatives. AAUP Centennial Declaration Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good and not to further the interest of either the individual teacher or the institution as a whole. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition. -1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure

  1. The university is a public good, not a private profit-making institution, and corporations or business interests should not dictate teaching or research agendas.
  2. The life of a university should reflect all dimensions of human endeavor and be built on the full and open participation of diverse faculty and students.
  3. The main aims of teaching are the dissemination of knowledge and the fostering of creativity; learning is not just about developing “job skills.”
  4. The main aim of research is to create new knowledge, and academic freedom is essential for the free search for truth and its free expression. Research is not just about enhancing the profit margins of corporations.
  5. After teaching and research, the third mission of universities is about engaging communities and addressing social disadvantage, and not just about “enterprise engagement” or “economic development.”
  6. All who work at universities are entitled to a dignified and collegial workplace free of surveillance and authoritarian dictates and to resist the degradation of their working conditions.
  7. Students are the next generation of enlightened and humane citizens, not just revenue streams or the bearers of collateral for unsustainable debt loads.
  8. Information and communications technologies are welcome tools for teaching and research but should not be used to impoverish the quality of education or reduce faculty-student contact time.
  9. University management should resist public education cutbacks and reverse the multiplying of senior management posts, many of which are unnecessary.
  10. Faculty shared governance is the cornerstone of any university that values teaching and research. The authority of faculty in hiring decisions, promotions, and curricular matters should not be compromised by donors, trustees, or administrators. Similarly, the faculty voice in budgeting, institutional planning, and other internal operations should not be marginalized.

  Signed,   Kishi Animashaun Ducre, Department of African American Studies Barbara Applebaum, Cultural Foundations of Education Philip P. Arnold, Department of Religion Carol Babiracki, Art and Music Histories Crystal Bartolovich, Department of English Himika Bhattacharya, Women’s & Gender Studies Anne C. Bellows, Food Studies Jacob Bendix, Department of Geography Robert Bogdan, Maxwell School and School of Education Zachary Braiterman, Department of Religion Harriet Brown, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Lori Brown, School of Architecture Joan Bryant, Department of African American Studies John Burdick, Anthropology Dympna Callaghan, Department of English Horace G Campbell, African American Studies and Political Science Linda Carty, Department of African American Studies Melissa Chessher, Magazine Department, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Stephanie Clare, Humanities Faculty Fellow Steven Cohan, Department of English John Colasacco, Writing Andrea Constable, Writing Pedro J DiPietro, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies Emily Dressing, Writing Richard Dubin, Television, Radio and Film, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Emily Duke, Transmedia Studies Susan Edmunds, Department of English Cathy Engstrom, Department of Higher Education Scott Erdman, Department of Biology Carol Fadda-Conrey, Department of English Ellen Fallon, Writing Beth Ferri, School of Education Maureen Fitzsimmons, Writing Alan Foley, School of Education Chris Forster, Department of English Myrna García-Calderón, Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Horace G Campbell, African American Studies and Political Science Jules Gibbs, Department of English Tula Goenka, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Ann Grodzins Gold, Departments of Religion and Anthropology Mike Goode, Department of English Cecilia A. Green, Department of Sociology Diane Grimes, Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies Marcelle Haddix, School of Education Roger Hallas, Department of English/LGBT Studies Gail Hamner, Religion Department Laura Heyman, Transmedia Gail Hoffman, Departments of Foundation & Transmedia, CVPA Matt Huber, Department of Geography Sydney Hutchinson, Department of Art and Music Histories Dawnelle Jager, Writing Dawn Johnson, School of Education Paula Johnson, Law Amy Kallander, History Claudia Klaver, Department of English Ivy Kleinbart, Writing Prema Kurien, Department of Sociology Jude Lewis, School of Art, VPA Katharine Lewis, Department of Biology Carol M. Liebler, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Christina M. Limpert, Department of Design Vincent Lloyd, Department of Religion Amy Lutz, Sociology Erin Mackie, Department of English Eleanor Maine, Department of Biology Laurie Marhoefer, History Donna Marsh, Writing Vivian M. May, Women’s & Gender Studies Janis A. Mayes, Department of African American Studies Ryan McClure, Writing Janis McDonald, College of Law Rae Ann Meriwether, Writing Susan W. S. Millar, Department of Geography Don Mitchell, Department of Geography Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Women’s and Gender Studies Mark Monmonier, Department of Geography Don Morton, Department of English Laurel Morton, School of Design, CVPA Mĩcere Gĩthae Mũgo, Department of African American Studies Erin Murphy, Foundations, CVPA Dawit Negussey, Civil and Environmental Engineering Dana M. Olwan, Department of Women’s & Gender Studies Jackie Orr, Department of Sociology Anne C. Osborne, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Arthur E. Paris, Department of Sociology Stephen Parks, Writing Deborah Pellow, Anthropology Mario Rios Perez, Cultural Foundations of Education Tom Perreault, Department of Geography Spencer Piston, Department of Political Science Jessica Posner, Transmedia, VPA Sarah Pralle, Department of Political Science Minnie Bruce Pratt, Women’s & Gender Studies and Writing & Rhetoric Beth Prieve, Communication Sciences and Disorders Gretchen Purser, Department of Sociology Erin J. Rand, Communication and Rhetorical Studies, LGBT Studies Romita Ray, Department of Art and Music Histories Lani Diane Rich, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication Robin Riley, Women’s and Gender Studies Alicia Ríos, Languages, Literatures & Linguistics Dalia Rodriguez, Cultural Foundations of Education Patricia Roylance, English Department Herbert Ruffin, Department of African American Studies Mark Rupert, Department of Political Science Tod Rutherford, Department of Geography Mara Sapon-Shevin, School of Education Eileen Schell, Writing Rebecca Schewe, Department of Sociology Amy Schrager Lang, English and Humanities Kicia Sears, Writing Rachael Shapiro, Writing Tom Sherman, Department of Transmedia, CVPA Stephanie Shirilan, Department of English Bruce Smith, Department of English Dana Spiotta, Department of English Joanna Spitzner, Department of Art/Foundation Jennifer Stromer-Galley, School of Information Studies Mišo Suchý, Department of Transmedia Diane Swords, Intergroup Dialogue Program Harvey Teres, Department of English George Theoharis, School of Education Silvio A Torres-Saillant, Department of English Dale Tussing, Economics Margaret Susan Thompson, History Susan S. Wadley, Anthropology, Maxwell Joanne Punzo Waghorne, Department of Religion Sally Roesch Wagner, Renée Crown University Honors Program Ernest Wallwork, Department of Religion Jim Watts, Department of Religion Vanessa Watts, Writing Jason R. Wiles, Department of Biology James M. Williams, College of Law Bob Wilson, Department of Geography Marion Wilson, Teaching and Leadership, School of Education

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