“Secrecy breeds suspicion,” a phrase used while discussing the release of the Board of Trustee’s bylaws this fall. The bylaws allow the University’s president to veto faculty decisions with minimal time for them to gather and vote to overturn his or her decision.
While faculty are working with the Board to revise this component of the Bylaws, the lack of transparency about the bylaws and the backlash from more than a few faculty members has called into question the soundness of the University’s tradition of faculty governance here at La Verne.
Today’s students feel as though college is more of a business than a bastion of higher learning. Students enter college after paying hundreds to apply, only to be hit hard with student loans and fees for their education that are sometimes not anticipated.
The University of La Verne, with the billboards along the freeway and the radio advertisements, feels like a business trying to advertise its way to the top, despite its nonprofit university tradition.
While all executive decisions for the University are in the hands of the administration, including the president and the board of trustees, it is disheartening to learn that the lack of communication within the University seems to be causing a rift between faculty and administration in the development of academic programs.
Recently, as part of the 2020 vision for the University, a physician’s assistant program was handed down into the laps of faculty members without any prior knowledge. The lack of shared governance in this decision is just one example why a power like a veto is dangerous.
Another example of this power is the proposed parking structure that will take the place of Lot D and will bump the construction of a new-and-needed science building back by seven years.
Without the faculty, there would be no University. Out of respect for the tradition of universities as a whole, administration needs to take a step back from the branding, marketing and expansion of the institution and remember that at the heart of the colleges are students who want to learn from faculty that are respected by the administrators on campus.
After a while, it seems as though the only reason why academic decisions are being made would be to target a new audience in the market for swiping up doe-eyed incoming students with pockets full of tuition ready to feed into the university.
In order for a university to benefit students and uphold it’s academic prestige, faculty governance needs to be respected. After all, without it, we will become an institution completely entrenched in billboards and marketing schemes rather than academia.