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Editorial: Assanis should concede to faculty demands

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Ryan Ashkenase/THE REVIEW

The faculty at this university is what makes this university great. They are the educators that cultivate the minds of the next generation of intellectuals. They are the ones that lead the charge in the myriad of research projects that take place on this campus. When a student has trouble understanding a complex mathematics concept or is attempting to learn a new language, it is the professor that they turn to. At the heart of every pursuit of knowledge on a university campus lies a member of the faculty.

Unfortunately the members of the faculty on this campus are not receiving the respect they deserve from the administration.

For the past several years the members of the faculty have borne witness to a variety of abuses done against them by the administrations of former president Patrick Harker and interim president Nancy Targett. President Harker was openly disdainful of the faculty, believing they had outlasted their era and that online instruction was soon to take over. The administration of President Targett advocated for one of the largest power grabs in campus history by giving the provost was given veto power over the Faculty Senate. The provost was officially given this power over the summer. This effectively denies the faculty the ability to check the power of the university administration.

This summer has been particularly brutal for the faculty. The provost has been given veto power over the Faculty Senate, disrupting the principle of shared governance, i.e., that the faculty and the administration share power. In April, a survey of faculty was released where almost 60 percent replied that both overall university and personal morale had gotten worse over the last several years. Ultimately, over the summer, the new administration stonewalled collective bargaining contract negotiations with “draconian” retirement benefits proposals and refused to begin meaningful discussions over salaries.

Many students may ask, “what does this have to do with us?” The Review believes it has everything to do with us. We are here on this campus in order to attend classes led by professors, in order to participate in research projects created by faculty and to benefit from the wealth of knowledge and experience that the faculty of this university offer us. When the faculty are confronted by an issue we have an obligation to stand by them and make it our issue as well.

Without our faculty, we would not have a university.

We the students must stand by our faculty in their time of need just as we might expect them to stand by us when faced with injustices such as discrimination. It is a common demand that professors be more understanding of people with disabilities and that they incorporate trigger warnings into their instruction. It is often expected that professors partner with students in taking a stand against discrimination of all kinds, including racial and sexist discrimination. Now it is our turn to rise to the occasion and support our hardworking mentors.

The Review implores President Dennis Assanis to restart his relations with the faculty. Our professors and researchers are at the core of everything this university stands for. It is imperative that our president and his administration be supportive of the faculty in their endeavors and work together to keep this university as one of the greatest institutions of higher education in the country.

Editorials are developed by The Review’s editorial staff, led by editorial editor Jacob Orledge, who can be contacted at orledgej@udel.edu.

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