Request to APC to Delay Proposal

The political science program was told that an addendum to the proposal to eliminate political science had been submitted and reviewed by the Academic Policies Committee only after the committee had reviewed the addendum to the proposal, voted on it (the proposal was rejected), and submited the proposal to the Faculty Assembly for discussion and a vote.

The political science program sent a request to the APC to delay sending the proposal to the Faculty Assembly because of procedural errors and failures by the administration, issues of fairness, and concerns about fully informed decisions. The APC rejected this request.

You can download a PDF copy of this request to delay submitting the proposal to the Faculty Assembly by clicking on the button below.

Dear APC members,

I am requesting that the proposal to eliminate political science be withdraw from the Faculty Assembly and go back to the APC. I do not make this request lightly and am not trying to prevent the proposal from going to the Faculty Assembly. I base this appeal on the Franciscan sponsorship values of responsible stewardship, justice, and dignity of the individual.

There are at least three reasons the proposal should not yet go to the Faculty Assembly. There are procedural failures, issues of fairness, and concerns about fully informed decisions.

First, according to “Marian University Academic Policies Committee Procedures and Timelines” document, there are at least four omissions in the proposal.

  • “The proposal is submitted to the faculty and chair of that department, and/or other department faculty, chairs, and Deans potentially impacted by the proposal for revision suggestions.” This proposal was never submitted to me or Holly Gastineau-Grimes for revision suggestions. Needless to say, we were not given an opportunity to provide “revision suggestions.” This requirement is not only a rule, but simple common courtesy, and it was ignored.
  • Neither I nor Holly Gastineau-Grimes ever signed the “APC Proposal Notification Form” as required. The signature on the form is not merely a formality. It is a permanent record of support or opposition by stakeholders and potentially valuable information for the faculty,
  • Program deletions require “Impact on majors, minors and other programs as well as existing students and teachers.” There is no mention of how the deletion impacts me or Holly Gastineau-Grimes, who are both faculty members in the political science program. This is a serious oversight not only because it involves the futures of real human beings, but also because it has implications for value of tenure at Marian. The administration discusses affected students; it should at least have the courtesy of putting in writing how they plan to deal with affected faculty members.
  • A fourth omission involves the incomplete list of cross-listed courses in the addendum. Given that the list is incomplete, it is questionable that there are signatures from other affected programs.

I am asking the APC to act as responsible stewards to ensure that procedures are followed in this case. The elimination of a viable program like political science (with two faculty members and 31 majors) has serious human and institutional ramifications. Asking the administration to follow the rules is not unreasonable. What is the value of rules if they can be ignored and not required?

Second, the APC voted on the proposal after seeing the addendum, but without seeing or hearing my response. Furthermore, the person submitting the proposal was there to answer questions (while no representative from political science was present). This is extremely unfair. This is the same as a jury making a decision after hearing only from the prosecution and not from the defense. Not only is that obviously unjust, but the arguments in the addendum are disingenuous and there was no opportunity to refute them before the APC vote. As you can see in my response to the addendum, it is full of misrepresentations, distortions, and falsehoods.

Maybe after seeing my response (and perhaps allowing me to speak), the APC’s vote would remain the same. In that case, at the least the vote would be based on complete information and not just the one-sided arguments of the administration. Having the APC vote again after reconsidering the proposal and addendum is both ethically and practically important. Fairness in the decision-making process is a matter of justice. Practically, the faculty and administration look to the APC and its vote for guidance because it is the charge of the APC to consider and look at proposals in detail. In this case, the APC voted without hearing the rebuttal from political science.

I am asking the APC to ensure that justice is served in this case by considering the response to the addendum and then taking another vote on the proposal. That is the only fair thing to do.

Third, this proposal has ramifications that reach far beyond the mere elimination of a program. The faculty will have only had information about the closing of political science for two days before Faculty Assembly. Some may not even be aware that the proposal exists much less read all the related documents.

This is not a typical issue that comes before the Faculty Assembly. The administration is proposing to eliminate a successful, viable program. We have two faculty members and 31 majors. The political science major is a standard major at all respected, serious American universities and colleges. This proposal raises serious questions about the liberal arts and social sciences at Marian, the experience of Marian students, the mission of the university including the Franciscan values and transformational leadership, and the meaning of tenure.

The faculty deserve the time to reflect on the implications of this proposal before discussing and voting on it. This proposal is not a typical APC proposal, and it should not be handled like a typical APC proposal.

I am asking the APC to withdraw the proposal from the Faculty Assembly agenda until at least the next assembly. In so doing, the APC will be showing respect for the dignity of the individual by allowing the faculty members to use their God-given reason to make a fully informed decision about a proposal with important human and institutional implications.

I want to emphasize that I am not trying to prevent the proposal from going before the Faculty Assembly. I simply want to ensure that procedures are followed, the process is fair, and the faculty are given the opportunity to understand what is at stake before making a decision. There is no rush to get the proposal to the Faculty Assembly. If the Faculty Assembly receives the proposal in November as opposed to October, it will not make a difference. I am asking the APC to error on the side of caution in the name of responsible stewardship, justice, and dignity of the individual.

I know the APC is overwhelmed with work and I appreciate all the hard work the committee does. However, I really believe this proposal deserves special attention.  In my 12 years at Marian, I cannot recall the administration trying to eliminate a successful, viable program. How the administration behaves, how the APC handles this process, and how the proposal gets to the faculty will set a precedent for similar program closures in the future. Fairness, due process, and thoughtful decision-making are at stake. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Johnny Goldfinger

Associate Professor of Political Science