Dear TU faculty and staff,
Several poignant moments occurred this week with many on our campus taking a stand: a stand in the name of our students; a stand for what is best for our community; and a stand against a nameless group that has attacked not only our university but many within it.
To date, we have not engaged with a faceless entity, especially one whose attacks have been misleading – not just toward leadership but other members of our campus. Doing so detracts from our time to engage with those who are seeking to make improvements in a productive manner. That is where we will maintain our focus. That being said, let me be clear, no employee of this university – faculty, staff or administrator – has the right to make anyone feel inferior, inconsequential or threatened.
The great work of our staff and faculty to enhance the lives of our students and fight, in the most positive ways, to ensure our university’s future is so prevalent, a daily and sometimes hourly occurrence, leaves me humbled by their actions and dedication: from those in our Center for Student Success, who have created new and complementary avenues to support our students, to the recently announced Chapman Professors, who are finding unique ways to engage our students in high academic scholarship. To our Security, Operations, Housing and Student Life employees, who provide resources 24 hours a day to our students, and to every other staff member who provides continuous support for activities, our students and our university, I see you and am grateful. We are collectively fighting the true enemy of higher education, a tumultuous future.
During our recent Board of Trustees meeting, at the request of TU administration and Faculty Senate leadership, another avenue for additional ideas on True Commitment was discussed. With board support, the administration has formally asked the Faculty Senate president and vice president to suggest amendments and enhancements to the True Commitment plan within the next 30 days. All suggestions are welcome. They must be definitive and achieve the same financial and student-focused outcomes. Faculty Senate leaders are receiving our full support of their efforts, working side by side with them, and we look forward to collectively presenting these recommendations to the board in late October.
True Commitment is the result of the hard work of our faculty and deans. It was adopted by the board without change. The trustees instructed the administration to implement the plan and that has not changed. Faculty-led task forces and committees have been established and are working to bring forth details for various components of True Commitment. These opportunities for faculty and staff to provide alternatives and recommendations for improvement to True Commitment are not a condemnation of the current plan. The trustees believe in the True Commitment plan — I believe in the True Commitment plan — and we are confident its implementation will have long-term benefits to our students as well as our university. This added flexibility is an acknowledgment that other ideas may exist and provides clarity that the board and administration are willing to weave these ideas into our current plans.
I appreciate and value the great work taking place across our campus to move us forward and support our students so they may have a positive experience every day. I also appreciate and value the leadership I’ve seen this week as so many have denounced those who negate our value and hold us back. These actions unite us, advance us and, most of all, ensure bright futures for our students and our university.