University under watch following May layoffs

Nicole Hanson

The university is now under the close watch of the Connecticut State Conference of American Association of University Professors (CSC-AAUP) after laying off 16 faculty members in early May. Though five of the 16 were subsequently reinstated, the CSC-AAUP will continue to monitor faculty-related decisions at Quinnipiac.

The CSC-AAUP sent two letters in May and June to President John Lahey expressing its concern toward the unexpected layoffs.

According to Vice President for Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell, deans and Academic Affairs decided to layoff and reinstate these professors. However, CSC-AAUP Acting Chair Irene Mulvey said the university did not consult the proper faculty bodies in making these choices.

Bushnell said the five professors who were reinstated had to go through an appeals process. Mulvey’s June 3 letter to Lahey stated that while these five reinstatements were good for the individual professors, they still violate national AAUP standards and Quinnipiac’s Faculty Handbook.

Before receiving the first letter from CSC-AAUP, Lahey was censured by the university’s Faculty Senate because of how the layoffs were handled, according to the New Haven Register. By doing this, the professors formally expressed their strong disapproval of the decision.

Chairman of Faculty Senate Stephen Straub declined to comment on the subject.

While 16 faculty members were initially laid off, 12 new professors were hired, according to Bushnell.

“The purpose was to adequately staff in growth areas and make reductions in areas where enrollment has been declining,” Bushnell said.

Senior Kelly Murphy said one of her classes switched professors last minute because of the layoffs.

“I don’t think it was fair [to the students] but I understand that changes have to be made quickly in order to have a functioning semester,” Murphy said.