Dear President Elsener,
As the former Semler Endowed Chair at Marian University (2013-18), I am appalled by not only the administration’s decision to eliminate the Dept. of Political Science but also the egregious violations of due process and shared faculty governance in the genesis of this decision. As Prof. Goldfinger notes in his responses, political science is an increasingly important area of study for students who are expected to be well-informed citizens and future leaders. Eliminating a core liberal arts discipline, which puts other liberal arts departments in the crosshairs, will undermine Marian’s claim to be a liberal arts university founded in the Franciscan tradition. This will not only betray its core mission identity but nullify the primary rationale for what makes Marian a distinctive educational institution in central Indiana. Why would a student choose Marian over another school in the area where they can get the same business or other technical degrees for a lower tuition rate? Furthermore, the due process violations evince that Marian’s administration is paying mere lip-service to the ethical values it purports to embody. I urge the administration to reconsider the elimination of the Dept. of Political Science, invest in growing the program by hiring a tenure-line replacement for Prof. Atlas, and abide by the due process requirements of Marian’s own faculty handbook, the AAUP, and the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan Sisters of Oldenburg.
I have faith in Marian’s leadership to reverse course and set Marian back on the path to being the distinctively Catholic Franciscan liberal arts university at which I had the privilege to serve on the faculty.
Jason T. Eberl, Ph.D.
Professor of Health Care Ethics and Philosophy
Director, Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics
Saint Louis University