BY WATCHING ADAMS STAFF – 2/26/18
In a letter sent to Adams State University (ASU) Acting President Matt Nehring, the Colorado American Association of University Professors (AAUP) corrected the record regarding Former President Beverlee McClure’s claims to Inside Higher Ed and also welcomed a stronger partnership with the university in the future.
The letter was copied to the Valley Courier, Inside Higher Ed, and Watching Adams. It reads as follows:
Monday, February 26, 2018 11:59am
Dear Dr. Nehring:
Congratulations on becoming Acting President of Adams State University. We had a chance to visit your campus in early March of 2016 at the invitation of faculty, and were disturbed by the stories they told us. Lack of shared governance, poor morale and the failure of the administration to respect the due process rights of professors were noteworthy, but we were both particularly struck by the tales we heard of tenure-track faculty just disappearing if they had somehow run afoul of whatever the administration wanted. The faculty we met with were terrified, and wanted to know if we could help change the toxic culture on your campus.
Perhaps inevitably, many of those faculty have left Adams State now, but (as you well know) so has President Beverlee McClure. In our effort to keep up with developments there, we were shocked to read this part of a story paraphrasing McClure in the February 22, 2018 issue of Inside Higher Ed:
“McClure said she had invited the [Colorado Conference of the] AAUP to campus to help address some faculty concerns and perhaps diversify the staff, with an eye toward adding more women.”
Not remembering such an invitation, we went back through our electronic and written correspondence and the best we could find came from a letter President McClure sent us in response to our concerns over faculty due process in a specific tenure case:
“You are welcome to visit our campus and review the faculty handbook if you have concerns.”
This, to our minds, falls well short of any invitation to visit Adams State and meet with faculty or the administration.
Nonetheless, as Acting President, we wanted you to know that we would be delighted to visit campus again to discuss shared governance, academic freedom and diversity issues with both faculty and administrators in an effort to strengthen procedures there and improve faculty morale. As you know, the American Association of University Professors has performed such a function for over a century and we have performed similar service for colleges and universities all over this state.
Our hope is that we can be more useful this time around as you do your best to put an end to what must be a very trying time at your university.
Co-President, Colorado AAUP
Professor of Political Science
Colorado State University
Co-President, Colorado AAUP
Professor of History
Colorado State University – Pueblo