Two faculty committees call for President Hurley’s resignation, Philosophy Department condemns layoffs

The Faculty Welfare Committee, the Department of Philosophy and the Canisius College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released statements this week condemning the recent decisions by President John J. Hurley and the Board of Trustees of Canisius College to terminate some faculty members and cut programs, with two committees calling for President Hurley’s resign Statement from the Faculty Welfare Committee

The Faculty Welfare Committee, the Department of Philosophy and the Canisius College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released statements this week condemning the recent decisions by President John J. Hurley and the Board of Trustees of Canisius College to terminate some faculty members and cut programs, with two committees calling for President Hurley’s resignation.

                         Statement from the Faculty Welfare Committee

The committee stated that they acknowledge the recent hardships created by the COVID-19 crisis, but the current plan put in place by administration ignores AAUP guidelines while also ignoring the institution of tenure, and due to these circumstances the committee calls for Hurley’s resignation as the president of the college.

A lack of trust within the senior leadership at Canisius is noted in the letter due to their “erosion of tenure [which] represents a serious breach of trust,” the letter stated.

“The single most important factor that employers seek is strong critical thinking skills. By gutting the humanities, we risk losing this important component of a Canisius experience,” the letter stated.

Many of these cuts were primarily from the humanities, which the letter states will make it hard for the college to continue to provide “well-rounded” liberal arts education to students. In addition to these cuts to the humanities, the committee noted that many of those terminated were women and minorities, which in return will only make the college’s struggles with diversity even worse. 

After taking into consideration the college’s hardships, such as the poor financial situation the college is facing and declining enrollment, the committee calls for the resignation of President Hurley.

Statement from the Canisius College Chapter of the American Association of University Professors

In a statement released by the Canisius College’s Chapter of the AAUP, they have cited poor decisions not only made within the past few weeks but also the past ten years full of poor choices that have hurt the college made by the senior leadership at Canisius which also includes President Hurley.

In the past ten years, other problems have also arisen that have led the Canisius College Chapter of the AAUP to call for President Hurley’s resignation which includes a decline in enrollment, an increasing deficit and increased spending on administration, the letter stated. 

“Canisius College needs a new leadership team that welcomes participation from all stakeholders. We are confident that we will find solutions when we come together as a community,” the letter stated.

Within the press statement released, the association cited that Canisius is the only four-year institution in the region that has laid off employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Statement from the Department of Philosophy at Canisius College

The Department of Philosophy cited that three of their tenured members were terminated without any input from the faculty, which has also impacted many other tenured professors within other departments.

According to their letter, the plan recently put in place by administration undermines the liberal art programs, which in return impacts the core values supposedly upheld by Canisius’ Jesuit tradition. 

“During a pandemic and with strong social uprisings, the Board is willingly throwing this humanizing work in the trash. It makes a mockery of our promise to create and men and women for others and irrevocably damages the institution,” cited the letter signed by Stephen Chanderbhan, Marianne Djuth, Michael Forest, Devonya Havis, Tanya Loughead, Melissa Mosko and John Zeis. 

The proposal for restructuring has not yet been revealed, but according to their statement, it includes a mandate to change the core curriculum as well without any input from faculty.

In their statement, they have pointed out that these changes have led Canisius to stray away from a liberal arts education in favor of education focused on career preparation.

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