S.A.I.N.T.s Group Presents List of Demands to Sister Janet and Board of Trustees
UPDATE: At 12:57pm Sister Janet posted a message on the portal to administrators, faculty, and staff about the letter of demands sent in this morning. The message reads as follows:
To: Emmanuel College Faculty, Administrators and Staff
From: Sister Janet Eisner, SND, President
Date: May 26, 2016
This morning I received a communication from a group of current students and recent graduates expressing concern regarding a matter related to promotion and tenure. I have assured the group that we are highly attentive to the thoughtful points of view being expressed on this issue, and we are reading their letters carefully. I look forward to beginning a dialogue with these concerned students and alumni next week.
On May 26, the newly formed S.A.I.N.T.s group presented their Statement of Purpose and Letter of Demands to Sister Janet and the Board of Trustees. This document is in response to the recent denial of tenure to Dr. Jeffrey Fortin and Dr. Clare Mehta.
The group presented this document along with numerous letters and op eds from students and alumni, as well as a second letter of demands from a group of alumni. Students signed an online petition, officially signing their name to the letter of demands.
Below, is the detailed List of Demands. The full document contains an introduction to the group’s mission, statistics regarding tenure at other institutions, the list of demands, and references used to write the letter.
The S.A.I.N.T.s group has given Sister Janet, the Board of Trustees, the Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee, and Dean William Leonard until Monday, June 6, 2016 to respond to this document with either a meeting to discuss the demands or approve them in their entirety.
LIST OF DEMANDS
The SAINTs group, on behalf of the student body of Emmanuel College, has compiled a list of demands to be immediately implemented in order to better serve the faculty and students in assuring that they have equal opportunity in the promotion and tenure process:
OUR SHORT TERM GOAL:
WE DEMAND that Dr. Jeffrey Fortin of the History Department, and Dr. Clare Mehta of the Psychology Department, are given serious reconsideration to receive tenure in the light of their denial.
IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THIS DEMAND:
- We have attached the Op-Eds and letters written by current students and alumni regarding the importance of both professors and their impact, both to the individual students and Emmanuel College as a whole.
- We have highlighted the Emmanuel College Mission Statement, in which both professors have demonstrated to the highest of their ability, as showcased with the outpour of support both have received with the Facebook Group, S.A.I.N.T.S. – Students Acting for Institutional Transparency, and the Twitter hashtag, #MoneyTalksTeachersWalk.
- We demand, that if the recommendation of the FPTC is to be upheld, and the appeals of the professors stated above are denied, that we, the student body, are given a full, clear and understanding as to why the professors stated above were denied.
OUR LONG TERMS GOALS:
WE DEMAND that student input regarding the those up for tenure be taken into serious consideration in order to give better perspective of the student body’s experience with professors going up for promotion and tenure.
IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THIS DEMAND:
- Creating a student forum in which students can openly discuss those going up for promotion and tenure in a productive and informative environment.
- The date will be set in accordance in which those going up for promotion and tenure are known in the fall semester.
- After the Student Promotion and Tenure Forum, students will be encouraged by the college, faculty, and peers to send letters of recommendation and evaluation of those up for promotion and tenure to the FPTC.
- Creating positions in which at least three students will be on the FPTC as non-voting members in order to relay student concerns and input regarding promotion and tenure of professors. The student members will be in constant contact and will remain in confidentiality along with the Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee. They will be taken seriously by their Faculty counterpart when it comes to their recommendations and suggestions.
- In order for a student to be selected to the committee they must nominated by two tenured faculty members, who are currently not serving on the FPTC, and two elected Student Government Association members. The process will include three letters of recommendation, two from the tenured faculty and one from either peer, an application, resume, and signed form of confidentiality.
- The student selected will serve for one year, and if they wish to re-apply, they can, with the same criteria as previously stated. They can only serve two consecutive terms in order to avoid internal discrepancies and biases.
- Each student selected must have a different major from one another to prevent unequal representation of the departments.
- During the period in which course evaluations are being written and submitted, the students must be given the option for anonymity or full disclosure of their evaluations to professors.
- In addition, the evaluation period should be extended to two weeks after the conclusion of the school year in order to allot proper time, and be relieved of the stresses of finals.
- Student evaluations will contain a small section at the beginning in which it will be explained that anything that is said in evaluations will be used for the promotion and tenure of that professor. This is in order for students to be aware of how they word their evaluations and take careful consideration of how they really feel.
- If course evaluations are to be used to for the promotion or tenure of a professor, it must only include the “most recent eight semesters of teaching, or for all semesters since promotion, whichever is shorter. The table should include course title and number; semester and year; enrollment; number of students who filled out the evaluation; and average for the above specified course evaluation questions. The table should also provide comparison averages from other faculty teaching those same courses when the scores are available.”
WE DEMAND that the Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee and the Emmanuel College Board of Trustees with the inclusion of President Sister Janet Eisner, give us full transparency of the discussion and events regarding the promotion and tenure professors.
IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE THIS DEMAND:
- Expand FPTC transparency by communicating to the student body, during the Student Promotion and Tenure Forum, what department in each faculty member is from in order to have an equal balance between the sciences and humanities.
- When a recommendation is reached, and if it to be a denial, a statement should be given by the FPTC, with the permission of the professor, explaining in full detail as to why they were denied in order to give the student body full insight, allowing for the students to react accordingly.
- If the student body wishes to react, and the professor wishes to appeal the decision, it must be made public to the student body. Students will be allowed to submit letters of appeal for said professor, if the professor allows it.
IF THERE IS A FAILURE TO COMPLY with our listed demands, WE WILL have no other choice but to enforce immediate action against the Administration of Emmanuel College.
- WE WILL contact media outlets who have already expressed interest in the growing issue of the lack of transparency and student input in all areas of academia.
- WE WILL contact the Alumni of Emmanuel College and express the administration’s lack of response to an ongoing issue since 2013, as expressed through previous Hub publications and the initial formation of S.A.I.N.T.S – Students Acting for Institutional Transparency.
- WE WILL conduct a sit-in to meet with Sr. Janet Eisner at the President’s Office.
To ensure that these demands will be met, we request President Sr. Janet Eisner, the Board of Trustees, the Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee, and Dean William Leonard give a full response, to which they will have until Monday, June 6th, 2016 in which we will set a date with S.A.I.N.T.S. to either discuss demands or approve them.
Sincerely, S.A.I.N.T.S – Students Acting for Institutional Transparency.