By now you must have seen the message that OAA/Dr. Jeffords sent on Friday, May 8th regarding potential opening scenarios for Fall 2020. While we appreciate the optimism that we may be on the upswing and that these are just initial thoughts, we still have substantial concerns about how the reopening of campus may unfold.
Firstly, we are sincerely disappointed that the working group convened by Cindy Baccar and that is reporting to the University’s Incident Management Team is composed primarily of upper management and deans, with the only faculty member being an Associate Professor who is also a special assistant to the Dean of CLAS. While we appreciate that this special group will report their recommendations to the Academic Continuity Committee, which includes Faculty Senate leadership, we feel that waiting to incorporate faculty until this late post-recommendation stage is not a good faith engagement with true faculty governance. PSU-AAUP will continue to push for more representation in these discussions, as they will ultimately impact each and every one of us here on campus.
Secondly, while we recognize that the future is uncertain at best, we have broad concerns regarding the administration's initial thoughts on Fall 2020, particularly as they relate to the health and wellness of all of our colleagues here on campus and the potential workload issues that may arise as a result of these decisions. What if a junior faculty member or AP feels uncomfortable coming back to campus, but is afraid to speak up? What if the administration decides to allow students to choose online or in-person classes… how will that impact workload? What if Portland Public Schools are not open in fall and childcare becomes an issue, or transportation is still not deemed safe? These are just some of the broad concerns we have at this point, which are deepened by the lack of voice at the table. We know that the administration's thoughts are just preliminary, but please know that PSU-AAUP will continue to push for more representation in these decisions. PSU-AAUP stands with our TTF, NTTF, and AP members and in solidarity with all of our campus colleagues and students, and will continue to push to make sure our voices are heard.