A September 10, 2020, article by Lena Friedman, a student reporter with the Whitman Wire, addressed the college’s response to pandemic-related budget challenges. It included interviews with leaders of Whitman’s AAUP chapter.
On September 5, 2020, Whitman College’s AAUP chapter issued a statement on the upcoming #ScholarStrike on September 8 and 9, expressing “vigorous support” for the event an all Whitman instructors who partake in it.
Black Lives Matter!
To inform the faculty’s reasoning about budget-related matters at the time of pandemic-related austerity, AAUP chapter members have put together two fact sheets. They are based on publicly available information about school budgets and the college’s endowment. The fact sheets are:
On August 6, 2020, the AAUP chapter issued a compendium of community-generated concerns about the long-term costs from austerity measures.
On August 3, 2020, the AAUP chapter sent a Transparency Letter to the college’s president and her cabinet. Based on research by the chapter’s “budget cuts” group, the letter aimed to promote transparency in administration-faculty communications, to solicit information needed by the faculty to understand important decisions being made by the administration, and to request due consultation with the faculty leadership on all decisions. The Transparency Letter contained three specific requests for information. It was circulated to the faculty at large.
On August 2, 2020, the AAUP chapter sent the faculty chair an Equity Letter with a request that it be presented to the college president and her cabinet. The letter reflected on the administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and associated budgetary concerns. It asserted the principles of shared governance and that consultation with the faculty on measures that affect the college’s mission is essential. The letter contained specific recommendations on how to make any budgetary adjustments equitable to minimize disparities and protect the Whitman student experience. The Equity Letter was circulated to the faculty at large.
In anticipation of the Board of Trustees’ budget-planning meeting for the 2020-2021 year, the WC chapter of the AAUP made a list of recommendations available to the President’s Cabinet. This list of selected budget-related recommendations emerged from the work of multiple AAUP working groups and surveying of the faculty about the college’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The chapter officers thank everyone who contributed to the process by taking part in the working groups, contributing survey responses, participating in the “Budget 101” meeting, and in other ways.