Demand W&M Arts & Sciences Commit to All Our Faculty

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It has come to our attention that last week, Dean Maria Donoghue Veneca with the College of Arts & Sciences at William & Mary informed at least twelve non-tenured faculty members from the Government, Modern Languages, Theatre, and other departments that the school is "not able to commit now to offering [them] a new contract for the 2021-22 academic year."

These non-tenured professors and faculty were selected intentionally, and their contributions to the betterment of the school were determined to be “inessential” by the Arts & Sciences Deans.

We, as concerned members of the William & Mary student body, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and friends, vehemently disagree with the Deans’ assessment and demand that they reconsider.

William & Mary is first and foremost a public research university and an institution for higher education. The decision to consider these dedicated faculty members as expendable does not uphold the values that are central to William & Mary’s mission. Considering the College’s status as a “Public Ivy” and #4 ranking in the country for Undergraduate Teaching, we would hope that the administration would be doing everything in its power to ensure our faculty are respected and backed.

Further, many of these faculty are working in humanities disciplines, and these departments are already spread thinly. Losing more teaching staff is yet another challenge to overwhelm these departments during an already turbulent academic year. While remaining anonymous, these faculty members are integral to their departments’ curriculums, leaving it very difficult for other professors to step into their roles as teachers, mentors, and valued members of this community.

One of the professors at risk of losing their job, whose name is now redacted, has a lot at stake with this decision for them and their family. This specific professor is an international faculty member and without employment, will be unable to renew their working visa when it expires in the next year. As a result, this professor would be out of work and unable to financially support their family. It is imperative that we do all we can to ensure that this professor’s family, and others, do not have to face unnecessary financial burdens because of this callous decision being made by the administration.

In signing this petition, we are standing with the twelve professors who are at risk and we are holding the William & Mary administration accountable. The administration must support all its exceptional faculty through an academic year that has already been difficult enough. We understand the financial strain the College is under and are empathetic to the choices the administration is having to make. However, William & Mary is a renowned institution of higher learning, and therefore, all of our faculty are essential. There should be no question about that.

Signed,

Concerned Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, Parents, and Friends of the College of William & Mary

Beyond this petition, we ask that signers please reach out to the deans personally and communicate the importance of these faculty members to our school’s community. You can find their titles, names, and contact information below. We have also drafted an email template that you can easily copy and fill out in your inbox.

Dean of Faculty of Arts & Sciences

Maria Donoghue Velleca       mdvelleca@wm.edu     757-221-2470

Dean of Graduate Studies & Research

Virginia Torczon                     vjtorc@wm.edu            757-221-3460

Dean of Undergraduate Studies

Janice Zeman                        jlzema@wm.edu          757-221-2498

Dean of Educational Policy

John Donohue                       fdona@wm.edu           757-221-2469

Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies

Teresa Longo                         tvlong@wm.edu          757-221-7450    

Provost Agouris: provost@wm.edu; phone (757) 221-1993;

Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, Ann Marie Stock: amstoc@wm.edu;


Email Template:

USE A UNIQUE SUBJECT LINE

Dear [NAME OF PERSON YOU ARE EMAILING],

My name is [NAME], and I am a member of the William & Mary class of [GRADUATING YEAR]. I am writing to you on behalf of the 12 non-tenure eligible Arts & Science faculty members who were warned earlier this month that the College cannot commit to reinstating their contracts for the 2021-22 academic year. 

These faculty members form an integral part of our campus community. In a time of mass mourning and social reckoning, the intellectual curiosity fostered by these professors and their intersectional courses are more important than ever. If the College chooses not to renew these contracts next year, they will be doing a great disservice to the students of William & Mary, both current and future. A decision to terminate these contracts coupled with the College’s failure to support dining staff members during extended academic breaks and the $75,000 bonus awarded to President Rowe by the Board of Visitors would imply that the College values the highest-paid members of our community above anyone else.

I am urging you to do what you can to stand with these 12 non-tenure eligible faculty members and demand that the College do the same.


Sincerely,

[NAME]