On October 5, 2017 we reported on reductions expected in four units, including World Languages and Literatures (WLL). The targeted reductions in WLL were the potential elimination of Ancient Greek, Swahili, Vietnamese, and Korean programs.
We received copies of letters from the Dean dated October 1,2017, which announced the “suspension” of Ancient Greek and Swahili. To our knowledge, no “suspension” of the Korean or Vietnamese programs were announced.
PSU-AAUP submitted a Division B grievance over the suspensions on October 23, 2017. Dean Marrongelle's letter to the effected faculty members justified elimination of their positions based on her determination of low student demand for the languages they teach.
Article 18, Section 2 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement stipulates terms under which terminations may occur. Under Article 18, Section 2(e), NTTF with continuous appointments can only be terminated pursuant to the following:
- Article 22 (Retrenchment);
- Article 27 (Imposition of Progressive Sanctions);
- due to a change in curricular or programmatic requirements made in accordance with applicable shared governance procedures; or
- if the faculty member receives an unsatisfactory evaluation and fails to remediate deficiencies as provided in Article 18, Section 2(g).
Dean Marrongelle relied on the third point—a change in curricular needs or programmatic requirements.
That provision, however, goes on to require the Department Chair to provide written justification for the decision and an explanation of the shared governance procedure to the effected faculty members, the Dean, the Provost, and the PSU-AAUP. The Department Chair did not provide any written justification or explanation. Although there was a shared governance procedure, its outcome did not support the Dean’s action. Instead of terminating positions, the WLL Advisory Council voted to reduce (not eliminate) Ancient Greek to .67 beginning January 1, 2019 and to maintain Swahili at its current .67 level. The Dean’s decision will cause direct injury to the faculty members whose positions would be eliminated, and further injured all department faculty by ignoring the shared governance procedure and bypassing the Department Chair.
PSU-AAUP has asked for a rescinding of the Dean's letter and for the shared governance outcome to be honored.