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Ex Com E-Vote, May 15, 2020, Endorsing Letter To Interim Chancellor Re Layoffs


Motion made on 5/14/20 to vote on the letter below (copy at bottom of doc) and to temporarily suspend FSU policy on e-voting and Robert’s Rules. Motion seconded.  Motion approved (12 in favor, 0 opposed).

From: Jeffrey Melnick <>

Date: Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 4:14 PM

To: Emilio Sauri <>

Cc: Joseph Brown <>, Jessica R Holden <>, Joseph Ramsey <>, Marlene Kim <>, Meghan E Kallman <>, Jose Martinez-Reyes <>, Monique Fuguet <>, Linda Ai-Yun Liu <>, Caroline Coscia <>, Tracy J Brown <>, Tim Sieber <>, Faculty Staff Union <>, "D'Urso, Katie" <KD'>, Steve Striffler <>

Subject: Re: FSU Ex-Comm -- Letter from Campus Unions to incoming Chancellor - for FSU approval

Hello all,

I hope you are doing relatively well today.

I would like to make a motion but first would like to get approval to suspend Robert's Rules vis-a-vis e-voting so that can move this along asap.  Can I get a second?  If so,  could you please indicate with a single yes response to this email that you approve of suspending Robert's Rules on evoting.

If we get done with that, I will move that we accept the following statement and immediately send it to the entire membership and ask them to sign on to it.  I will accept friendly amendments as to what is the best way to constitute that document.

all best,


UMass Boston Faculty Letter in Support of Laid Off Faculty

To Chancellor Newman and the rest of the UMass Boston community:

We write as concerned members of the UMass Boston faculty.  We are deeply concerned by the university’s decision to send out letters of non-reappointment to hundreds of faculty, essentially laying off the very people who worked so hard to facilitate the transition to remote learning and insure that our students made it through the Spring 2020 semester. These letters are damaging to the reputation of the University during this crucial time, and are particularly troubling given that:

The proposed layoffs are devastating for both faculty and students, especially as Fall enrollment remains strong.  Fewer courses/instructors mean larger courses, and research shows that small class sizes are crucial to the success of interactive online courses.  This is particularly true for UMass Boston students, many of whom require extra support from instructors. 

UMass Boston should be planning to lower – not raise -- the student/faculty ratio for Fall 2020.  It is counterproductive to preemptively reduce the number of instructors with the modality of next semester’s courses in doubt.  Reducing the number of faculty reduces the quality of education the university provides to its students.

The university's fiscal health remains sound compared to the other UMass campuses, and it has an ethical responsibility to protect its most precarious faculty during a period of economic crisis when it may be particularly difficult for laid off faculty to find alternative employment.   Preemptive cuts that target the most vulnerable are damaging to those faculty, to students, to the university as a whole, and to the overall economic health of the communities we serve.

UMass Boston has yet to do what universities across the country have done and cut the salaries of upper administrators.  It is egregious and tone deaf to target faculty before taking this step.  The faculty who received these letters already teach large numbers of students for little pay or job security.  They deserve better.   

UMass Boston has the opportunity to make a difference by reaffirming its commitment to our most vulnerable employees, their families, and their surrounding communities, particularly in times of crisis. In laying off faculty, the university is failing to recognize in meaningful ways the people whose labor is fundamental to sustaining both the university and the broader communities it serves.