public statements

AAUP asks the Board of Trustees to withhold from voting on Shared Governance Taskforce draft proposal

The Purdue Chapter of the American Association of University Professors expresses grave concern for the process by which the Shared Governance Taskforce is presenting its findings at the April 2022 Board of Trustees meeting in executive session on 4/7/22.

We highlight several of our concerns here.

  1. The document being presented to the Board has not been read or approved of by the Taskforce working groups.  Several AAUP chapter members are also members of the Taskforce working groups, and have been contributing to the work of the Taskforce in good faith over the last few months.  However, the document being presented to the Board as a preliminary statement of the Taskforce’s high level design, has not been reviewed by most Taskforce members and should not be considered as having been approved by the Taskforce through any systematic process.
  2. The proposal currently articulates an alternative mechanism for representing faculty which has not been presented to or commented on by the University Senate. 

    The AAUP Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities, commended to member Boards of Trustees (including Purdue’s) by the Association of Governing Boards in 1966, states on the matter of creating “an agency [that] should exist for the presentation of the views of the whole faculty”:

“The structure and procedures for faculty participation should be designed, approved, and established by joint action of the components of the institution. Faculty representatives should be selected by the faculty according to procedures determined by the faculty.”

AAUP Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities

In addition, we draw the Board’s attention the University Senate’s SD 21-14, passed by majority vote in January 2022, which argues that the Taskforce was attempting to short circuit the role of the Senate and appeal directly to the Board for restructuring, rather than doing the hard work of making the case to the Senate for restructuring first.

  1. It also has not been presented to Purdue Student Government, nor Purdue Graduate Student Government. We are not yet sure if it has been presented to MAPSAC or CSSAC as bodies.

    We note PGSG’s resolution FA21-R004 of general endorsement of the process, passed 11/17/21, stating (with our emphasis):

“The Purdue Graduate Student Government does not yet endorse a specific organizational arrangement, but promises to work with and assist the Shared Governance Taskforce’s goal of developing a more equitable and representative governance model at Purdue.”

Purdue Graduate Student Government Resolution FA21-R004

At the heart of the proposal is a commitment to expanding access and voice to marginalized populations, including to staff and students, on matters that relate to those populations’ expertise.

However, the process by which this statement is now coming to you belies that commitment to expanding voice, by having bypassed its own set of internal stakeholders, let alone external stakeholders. Furthermore, that the proposal is being discussed in executive session – in secret – is alarming. One should not try to bring about a more democratic system in such an anti-democratic manner.

We ask the Board of Trustees to withhold from voting on this proposal until the Shared Governance Taskforce has shared its written draft with working group members and appropriately engaged stakeholders. To do otherwise would threaten the success of the very culture change around shared governance the Taskforce itself seeks.

Posted 4/7/22 by the AAUP-Purdue Executive Committee