The students of this university have no confidence in this administration’s ability to take care of its DePauw community. Last semester, we watched as President McCoy and his administration failed students of color after seven hate crimes hit campus in one week. Now, this same administration is failing its faculty and staff with healthcare cuts, department budget cuts, and threats of firings. This is a letter of solidarity to our faculty and staff, calling us all to stand as one united front in favor of a better DePauw.
DePauw’s academic goals are diminished because of the university’s approach to austerity. As students, it matters deeply to us that faculty and staff benefits are not met by the administration: their working conditions are our learning conditions. The administration plans to save $700,000 by cutting into faculty and staff healthcare plans. This will increase out of pocket costs for most, shifting the burden of costs from the institution to the individual. The people who will be most affected by these changes are staff. This move to save $700,000 makes up only 0.625% of a budget of about $112 million. In less than 15 years, the President’s cabinet has almost doubled in size; how many senior executives’ bloated salaries could cover this menial $700,000? Faculty reported that at (and after) a recent meeting, disturbing statements such as ‘There will be firings’ and ‘If you don’t like it here, you can leave…and we’ll help you find the door’ were casually mentioned by the president’s cabinet. As students, we were promised an excellent education at DePauw, but how is that possible when our faculty and staff are traumatized by administrative actions and discourse? Several students have sensed this anxiety from their professors and staff, as they fight to hold onto promised rights.
We recognize similar stress and anxiety students of color experienced when the series of hate crimes occurred on campus last year. For almost two weeks, classes came to a halt as our community was too hurt and traumatized to focus on our educational work. The administration’s failure to make students feel safe deeply affected our education. How could we focus on papers when we are worried about getting attacked in the street?
Furthermore, protesting faculty and students have been directly told that they are driving incoming students away. This is a lying accusation. The protests led by The Association of African American Students (AAAS) were a response not only to the hate crimes, but also to the administration’s failure to properly address racism on this campus. AAAS made eight crucial demands; seven of those eight demands have yet to be met. Rather than address these demands, the administration has decided to crackdown on students and faculty by creating harsher demonstration policies. We cannot help but feel disrespected by these choices. The struggle of our faculty and staff is the same as ours.
We write this letter to express our support for this common struggle between the workers and students of the university. We are asking students to pay attention and to recognize that the oppressive tactics used against faculty and staff are the same ones that have been used against us. This is not the DePauw that we were promised.
The Democratic Socialists of DePauw (DSD)
Association of African American Students (AAAS)
Committee for Latinx Concerns (CLC)
Queer Students of Color (QSOC)
Afrikan Students’ Association (ASA)
Caribbean Students’ Association (CSA)
DePauw China Connection (DCC)
Muslim Student Association (MSA)
Association for Asian Pacific Islander and Desi Americans (AAPIDA)
Oxfam Club at DePauw
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)
The DePauw Chapter of Delta Upsilon
The Iota Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma
The Elegua Chapter of Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity, Inc.
The Wujimu Chapter of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Inc.
The Psi Chapter of the Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
The Gamma Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc.