UWA faculty group calls for resignations

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 24, 2004

LIVINGSTON–“The board has done nothing, but shown honor and respect to the faculty at this university. All the press releases in the world will not make any of the board members resign. I wish they would worry more about teaching in the classroom than trying to make board members resign,” The chairman of the Board of Trustees, Preston “Mann” Minus said.

Members of the University of West Alabama faculty have formed a chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). The national association was founded in 1915, with its primary goal, academic freedom.

Today, AAUP chapters across the country continue to promote academic freedom in universities. The association is also concerned with faculty/administration relations, professional standards, and student/faculty relations.

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The AAUP also has a vested interest in the role the university plays in promoting the common good.

According to Lauren Wells, president of the AAUP chapter of the University of West Alabama (UWA), the recent action by the SACS accrediting agency-placing UWA on probation for one year, mobilized the faculty to form a chapter.

“The seriousness of our probationary status and its implications for the future of this university cannot be underestimated,” Wells stated.

“The UWA Chapter of the AAUP endorses the faculty resolution calling for the resignation of board members: Dwight Duke, Robert D. Keahey, Preston C. Minus, Doris Oliveira, John Smith, Thed Spree, and Nat Watkins. We believe this is the only means of disentangling the board from the day-to-day operations of the university. And this is what SACS has insisted on if the university is to be removed from its probationary status.”

Wells stated that the UWA Chapter would pursue other issues that need addressing at the university including issues that impact faculty, students, and the academic health of the institution.

The first time the word AAUP came up on campus was during the UWA Faculty Senate meeting in September of 2003. President of the Senate Dr. Richard Schellhammer introduced Dr. Bill Trimble of Auburn University, the president of the Alabama AAUP.

Dr. Timble told the faculty that they needed to organize a chapter at their university and how to go about getting a chapter together.

During the Faculty Senate meeting in October, Dr. Schellhammer said that they had a lot of interest in forming a chapter and all they needed was seven members to organize. He was going to prepare a list of all the interested people and those faculty members who are currently in the AAUP.

At the meeting in November, Dr. Schellhammer announced that the interest meeting was held and over 20 faculty members were ready to form a chapter. They also elected Lauren Wells as their president and set their first meeting for January.