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State Committee A to investigate Wittenberg University

The Ohio Conference AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure will investigate the planned terminations of eight (8) Wittenberg University full-time professors that were announced in September. Six of the faculty are non-tenure-eligible, while two of the faculty are tenure-track.

The proposed cuts come shortly after the announcement of the official opening of a controversial $54 million athletic facility.

The Ohio Conference AAUP Committee A investigates matters of academic freedom, promotion, tenure, reappointment and other academic issues to determine if an institution has followed — or violated — long-standing AAUP guidelines and principles.

Wittenberg administrators reportedly made the decision to eliminate the eight faculty positions as part of a “plan to reevaluate staffing levels and programmatic offerings at Wittenberg in light of current and projected enrollment numbers and changing student demographics across the state and country,” according to a Dayton Daily News article.

While only the faculty terminations have been announced to date, it is expected that program eliminations are forthcoming. Proposals for program discontinuation, which would result in further faculty losses, including tenured faculty, have been forwarded to the faculty Educational Policies Committee for discussion.

Conference President John McNay began the Committee A inquiry with a visit to the Wittenberg campus, where he met with a large group of faculty who are reigniting their AAUP chapter. His visit revealed several potential violations of AAUP guidelines, which have been passed along to Committee A Chair John Blackburn, who will continue the investigation.

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