To: Deputy Chancellor Barry Mills, Chancellor Keith Motley, and Provost Winston Langley
We are writing to protest the recent imposition of course cancellations that are causing harm to students, faculty, and programs across the university. The budget cuts at UMass Boston are leading to hundreds of course cancellations and non-reappointments of non-tenure track faculty. Many of these cancelled classes fill up and are required for majors. Summer courses, even many that fill every year, have been cancelled without consultation with the chairs, faculty or departments, leading to problems in departments such as cancellation of critical classes. The result will be that students will not be able to take courses they need for their majors and for graduation. We are deeply concerned about this.
These course cancellations are not only detrimental to students’ achievement and ability to complete their degrees, they are also not economically sensible. For example, courses in Economics taught by NTT faculty are being cut in spite of the fact that these courses consistently fill and therefore generate net revenue for the university. A second example is the cuts to summer courses in Mental Health and School Counseling; these cancellations threaten the existence of these programs which generate programs generate approximately $1.5 million a year.
Cutting faculty and courses without faculty input and without careful consideration of the effects on student achievement, revenue generation, and the sustainability of programs results in both short- and long- term damage to our students, faculty, university stability and reputation. It also undermines faculty governance and morale, causing further damage.
We call on the university to take the following actions:
• Immediately provide to the UMass community the overall budget plan: including where the cuts have been/are being made, the rationale for this (are these across the board, and if not, what criteria were used to make these decisions?), and how much of a deficit for UMass Boston we will have this fiscal year and next.
• Immediately provide to the Faculty Staff Union the number of faculty who are being reduced in their appointments or are not being re-hired, and the number of course cancellations for the summer and fall of 2017.
• Immediately provide to the university community a rationale for the course cancellations for Summer and Fall 2017: What criteria and process were used to select the classes to cancel? Why are classes being cut that fill--these generate money for the university? Why are classes that are requirements being cut, even when these fill as well?
• Consult with chairs, departments and faculty on any course cancellations, including CAPS.
• Implement a transparent budget process: including updating the campus community when budget cut decisions are being considered and are known; holding an open forum for the campus so that our concerns can be considered before criteria are determined for these cuts in faculty or courses; holding an open forum immediately so that the campus community can be informed on what is occurring; and dialoguing with faculty, staff, and students (through department meetings, Faculty Council, etc.) on the budget and budget cuts starting immediately and going forward for the 2018 budget.
• Either implement a moratorium on course cancellations or a procedure for departments to redress cuts that hurt students, such as when courses are cut that are historically full and that are needed for the major.
Please respond to these requests by April 14, 2017