Institutional restructuring, budget winter summary

Olivia C. Gomez, Editor-in-Chief

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On Dec. 12, 2018, the Review received multiple tips about a closed-door faculty forum. News of this meeting would set off a chain of events concerning the college budget and institutional restructuring.

The Review is taking the opportunity now to record everything we know has happened since finals week, establish a clear timeline and clarify involved parties’ roles.

This winter recap article is part of an ongoing series. The Review has been and will continue covering these issues to inform students. The stories published last semester can be found here on our website.

December 2018

President Miles K. Davis led an open College Cabinet meeting in Ice Auditorium on Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. Faculty who had attended the open meeting left at 3 p.m. for a closed faculty-only forum in Riley 201.

Early the next morning, the Review published “Rumors of faculty layoffs lead to tensions and student protests.” Davis responded to a tweet about it with: “We will be holding listening sessions for students in January and February. You heard it here first.”

The second story in the restructuring series, “Faculty want change, but not at handbook’s expense,” went online Dec. 17.

The evening of Dec. 19, Davis hosted a “fireside chat” livestream on Linfield’s Facebook page in which he answered questions from community members. He briefly explained how the recent decline in enrollment connects to managing the college budget and emphasized that other liberal arts schools are facing similar challenges.

That week, Association of American University Professors President Sharon Bailey Glasco and Amy Orr continued writing a clarifying statement about the Faculty Handbook that had been in the works since the previous week. (After weeks of editing, this statement would become the letter from Linfield’s AAUP chapter the Review published on Feb. 5, 2019).

The week of Dec. 30, a letter from Linfield alumni to Board of Trustees Chair Dave Baca circulated online. It appeared to call for the Board to have Davis step down as president because of the reported proposed faculty cuts.

Regarding concerns about specific programs being cut, Davis said “we are continuing to invest in programs that are growing … We will continue to explore what is the best way for us to move forward.”

January 2019

Associated Students of Linfield College President Kainoa Cuttitta sent a summary of the Dec. 12 College Cabinet meeting to all students via email. She covered enrollment decreases and the college deficit and expenses.

“I felt it was my responsibility as ASLC President to give the students the facts about the budget situation, knowing that the community was not clear on the intention of the December 12 College Cabinet meeting, nor on the events or information leading to it,” Cuttitta expressed in an email sent Feb. 7. She said that while Susan Hopp, Susan Agre-Kippenhan, Jeff Mackay and Sarah Fuller (interim assistant director of college activities) did not write the email for her, they did check for errors in information and grammar.

“I will continue to inform the students primarily via email and during ASLC Cabinet reports at Senate,” Cuttitta said.

Davis sent an email to the Linfield community on Jan. 28 stating he met with his “direct reports” on Jan. 15 to have them determine what decisions to make regarding the college structure.

For the college to grow, Davis said, it needs to engage in “academic prioritization,” in which funds get allocated to prioritized programs. For Linfield, academic prioritization includes cutting faculty positions that better suited the college when 1600 students were enrolled (as opposed to the current 1240).

Davis emphasized the need for “shared governance” and “collaboration” among faculty and administration. He said faculty, staff and administration have had a say in budgeting.

“Presently, we seek to involve the faculty not only because it is the fair and ethical thing to do, but because it would produce better decisions with us working together.”

“We are one Linfield, and the pain of having to reduce positions will be felt across our community, as it has with past reductions,” Davis said. “The Provost and Chief Financial Officer will continue to engage with faculty representatives to come up with our best path forward out of these difficult times.”

He concluded that he would be communicating the outcomes of the following month’s Board of Trustees meeting.

February 2019

On Tuesday, the Review published the full version of a statement written by Sharon Bailey Glasco and Amy Orr, the president and vice president of Linfield’s AAUP chapter online. (See page 2 for a summary.) The statement, “Message to the Community from the Linfield AAUP Executive Committee,” clarifies information about faculty tenure and shared governance, as well as emphasizes the importance of the liberal arts.

The AAUP represents some, but not all, opinions possessed by faculty. So, the statement itself is not a message on behalf of all faculty, but a document written with intent to inform the Linfield community about confusing issues.

Oregon Public Broadcasting published a story on Linfield’s budget and restructuring Wednesday evening. The story, “Linfield College plans cuts to tenured faculty,” refers to details from the FEC email sent to faculty on Dec. 8 about the Dec. 7 meeting, as well as Davis’s Jan. 28 email to the Linfield community.

There was a Faculty Assembly meeting yesterday afternoon. The Review is consulting sources for information about what was said at the meeting and potential outcomes of it.

Linfield’s Board of Trustees meets Saturday.If you would like to provide information or help with sourcing as we write this ongoing series, please contact the editor-in-chief at [email protected]. Follow us on Twitter @linfieldreview for more information and live tweets of events.

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