Concern Over Faculty Layoffs at Quinnipiac University

Jun 18, 2014

Quinnipiac University's Arnold Bernhard Library and clock tower.
Credit Wikimedia User: Wasted Time R / Creative Commons

The Connecticut chapter of the American Association of University Professors said it's deeply concerned about the way Quinnipiac University recently laid off members of its faculty.

The group sent two letters to Quinnipiac University President John Lahey after department heads at the school were given two days, during a final exam week, to determine which full-time faculty would lose their jobs at the end of May. Sixteen positions were to be eliminated in areas including economics and chemistry. A few days later, school officials announced they would restore five positions, and add 12 more in other areas.

Irene Mulvey is a member of the executive committee of the Connecticut AAUP, which represents 4,500 members in Connecticut at public and private colleges and universities. She said there was no time for faculty members to consider the academic concerns, and that the process lacked transparency. There was "no faculty inclusion in these decisions," she said, "and that’s the problem for us. The normative standards of the profession would be that educational considerations require meaningful participation by the faculty in these kinds of decisions."

Mulvey said the school is being watched by both the state and national AAUP.

Quinnipiac University officials declined WNPR’s request for an interview. In an e-mail, Lynn Bushnell, vice-president for public affairs, said Quinnipiac must provide adequate staffing based on the courses for which students enroll. She said the university cannot burden students and parents with the cost of paying for teachers in areas where they’ve seen low or declining enrollment over a period of years.

Bushnell also described the AAUP as “a strong and ambitious faculty union which represents unionized faculty in the state university system.” She added, “Academic Affairs and the deans of each school were involved in the process.”