higher education

28 petitions

Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Gene Block, Kerri Johnson, Laura E. Goméz, Scott Waugh, Michael S. Levine, Susan Carlson, Janet Napolitano, Greg Bryant, Tim Groeling, Martie Haselton, Francis Steen, PJ Lamberson, Georgia Kernell, Jungseock Joo, Charles Goodwin, Board of Regents, Neil Malamuth, Steve Peterson, UC System Administrators, Campus Administrators, Campus Student Leaders

Open Letter to UCLA Administrators: Keep Professor Fink at UCLA!

We, the undersigned, are deeply repulsed by UCLA’s treatment (or rather, mistreatment) of Keith Fink — one of the most popular and influential professors on campus. In concert with other campus officials, the Department of Communication Studies’ leaders (Chair Kerri Johnson and Vice Chair Greg Bryant) have repeatedly taken actions against Professor Fink that thwart his academic freedom and threaten his continued impact on thousands of UCLA students for years to come. Kerri Johnson and Greg Bryant took the helm of the Communication Studies Department at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year. Prior to ever meeting or speaking with Professor Fink – let alone seeing him teach – Johnson implemented an unprecedentedly-rigid cap on his courses, reversing years’ of past precedent. Her capricious justifications for this are dubious, at best.  Campus Reform explains in detail here. The Department’s most recent actions are even more repulsive. Professor Fink is up for “Excellence Review” (an “up or out” review conducted during a lecturer’s 18th quarter teaching). Johnson and her staff have repeatedly attempted to deprive Fink of the opportunity submit positive material into his Excellence Review file. Such positive information would flatly contradict their mission to have Professor Fink deemed “not excellent” and thus terminated from UCLA.  At the outset of his evaluation, Professor Fink identified three Academic Senate faculty (including Johnson and Bryant) in the Department as “biased,” meaning their preexisting animosity towards Fink would prevent them from being able to objectively evaluate him. Despite their obligation to go to great lengths to avoid having a “biased” faculty member evaluate his course, Johnson nevertheless chose Bryant to evaluate Fink’s teaching. Unsurprisingly, Bryant’s review was negative. On a more sinister level, it is riddled with pernicious lies, deceptively mischaracterizes his course with out-of-context examples, and casts Fink as a radical loose cannon who uses “his role as a lecturer to espouse his own personal legal views.” Nothing could be further from the truth – evidenced in part by the glowing evaluations of almost all of the thousands of students who have taken his courses. Johnson also forcefully and incorrectly misstated the University policy governing the inclusion of positive student evaluation letters in his review file. To this day, she never acknowledged her mistake. Later, in dereliction of University policy, the Department failed to solicit student letters from a list of names provided by Professor Fink — until it was too late. When pressed on the issue and given a new list of names of students from whom letters could be solicited, the department “accidentally” omitted the single best letter from his review file.  These actions are no mistake and certainly not a coincidence. They constitute a series of calculated lies, vindictive decisions, and sloppy coverups to dispose of someone they dislike. The conspicuous amount of dishonesty and injustice targeted at Professor Fink is the antithesis of “Bruin Values” – the same virtues that the administration repeatedly flaunts and exhorts its students to adhere to. UCLA has taught us to fight injustice whenever it rears its ugly head. We will not idly sit by and watch a beloved professor have his teaching career discarded in a politically-motivated and morally-bankrupt fashion by Chair Kerri Johnson, Dean Laura Gomez, and other administrator-bureaucrats within the school’s ivory towers. We demand that the school treat Professor Fink fairly, which includes restoring his academic freedom, removing Johnson’s arbitrary restrictions on his class size, and, most importantly, administering his Excellence Review in a truthful and just manner. Professor Fink is by all outward measures one of UCLA’s greatest, most popular, and influential professors. If the school ignores our plea and continues to endorse the corrupt dealings in the Department of Communication Studies, they will not only lose one of their most valuable and influential professors but also repel thousands of donors (current and future alike) from supporting this institution.

Keep Professor Fink at UCLA
1,313 supporters
Started 3 months ago

Petition to St. Joseph's University

Reduce Cost of SJU Study Tour

We, the MIM students, believe the cost of the SJU study tour is too high. Our goal is to work with the administration to lower the price while preserving the cultural value of the trip. The current cost of the mandatory St. Joseph's University Study Tour for graduate students in the M.S. in International Marketing program is $4100. This cost is in addition to the $3069, 3-credit class that meets bi-weekly. This amount totals $7169, and does not include all out-of-pocket costs (i.e. food, trip insurance, personal expenses, visa fees...) during the 10-day trip to Europe. Students who are experienced travelers find this price excessive compared to past trips. In addition, the itinerary contains more sightseeing tours than educational opportunities. As the title of the trip is "Study Tour," we would like to participate in educational and networking opportunities, such as business meet-and-greets with marketing related companies. Sight-seeing can be done voluntarily on our own time. Lastly, many of us have to fund our graduate degrees out of our own pockets, and this trip at its current cost may require an additional loan. We wish to reduce the price of this trip by booking our own flights, accommodations, and meals. Our goal is to work together with the SJU administration to both lower the cost and create value in a Study Tour that works for everyone. Thank you What the trip should cost -  Flight: $665.63  Accommodations: $410.00 Transport: $66.00 Visa Fees: $130 Total: $1,271.63

SJU Masters in International Marketing Students
28 supporters
Update posted 4 months ago

Petition to ReBecca K. Roloff

Katies for SCU Adjuncts -- Support non-tenure track faculty in forming a union.

In recent months adjunct professors at St. Catherine University have banded together in hopes of forming a union.  Unfortunately, the administration at SCU has made it clear that they stand vehemently against this move.  As Katies, we were taught to challenge barriers, have compassion for others, maintain ethical standards, and use our voices to resist the exploitation and oppression of women. The stance the administration has chosen to take goes directly against these principles. This petition will be presented to various members of the administration at SCU to demonstrate that alumnae are watching and we do not support their decision to fight against the adjuncts who work tirelessly to provide their students a top-notch liberal education. This stance directly impacts students.  The conditions in which adjuncts work are the same conditions their students learn in.  If an instructor falls ill and is unable to go to the doctor because they have lackluster medical insurance they are forced to decide whether to cancel class or go to work sick.  When instructors do not have basic amenities like private offices, they cannot serve their students properly.  The quality of the education students receive should not suffer because contracts for adjunct faculty offer them so few options and support. Obviously, this issue impacts adjunct faculty directly.  Their lives are often filled with uncertainty because they are not guaranteed work.  Having set, longer-term contracts would allow them more security.  They are also paid very little.  Currently, adjuncts make $5,000 per class -- an increase from $4,000 per class when administration discovered that the attempt to unionize was underway.  This means that even if an adjunct professor teaches the same number of courses as a full-time, tenured faculty member they can still only expect to make the same amount of money per year that a recent college graduate makes.  This is atrocious considering that all adjunct faculty members hold advanced degrees. SCU is currently in the midst of a multi-million dollar deficit, which we understand has a direct impact on what they can pay employees.  However, we do not understand why members of the St. Kate's administration have not chosen to take pay cuts to help alleviate this crisis.  This administration is only proving its own greed by continuing to collect six-figure paychecks at the cost of its adjuncts livelihoods.  This is not in-line with the school's mission.  We also question your decision to hire anti-union attorney Paul Zahn to represent you during this time.  Students and alumnae want their money to go toward the necessary upkeep of the school, salaries for its employees, and furthering SCU's mission, not to pricey lawyers who will help you silence the voices of esteemed non-tenured professors. We are proud alumnae and we want to see our alma matter prosper, but we do not feel that prosperity should come at the cost of the continued exploitation of a class of educators who simply want to continue the mission of our beloved school. We ask that you re-examine the school's mission and urge you to reconsider your stance on this matter.  

Emily Steece
132 supporters