Comments

We encourage you to share your own response to the Academic Renewal Proposal or to the financial situation at The Catholic University of America. Your submission is anonymous. All comments will be reviewed by moderators, and will be compiled for distribution to the Board of Trustees and for possible publication on this website. If you would like to share documents or relevant information, please contact us at savecatholic@gmail.com.

Update on May 30, 2018

Comments were sent to the Board of Trustees at 1:51 pm on May 30, 2018.

Update on May 25, 2018:
Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful comments on the Provost’s Academic Renewal Proposal and on the current leadership at The Catholic University of America. Today we are closing this comments section, in order to forward these comments, and the rest of the website, to the members of the Board of Trustees.
We would like the discussion to continue. To that end, we have developed a new Analysis and Opinions page, where we will post substantive articles and analyses about Catholic University and its leadership. We welcome your comments on any of these postings, and we also invite you to submit your own articles for publication by e-mailing savecatholic@gmail.com.
We will continue to update the entire website as events develop in the coming weeks and months.
Thank you,
Save Catholic

 

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242 Comments

Anonymous June 20, 2018 Reply

Thank you so much for organizing this effort. If it wasn’t for the Faculty Assembly and the people behind it, the president and provost would have gone ahead with their plan to quietly destroy tenure. The administration had counted on silence from an intimidated faculty – that didn’t happen because of you.

The academic renewal proposal is yet another attempt by the administration, and especially the president, to cover up their utter failure to solve the fundamental problem of falling enrollment. And this failure has occured in the context of an improving economy and much greater demand for higher education, making their inablity to find a solution all the more embarrasing. So, they went after the faculty expecting them to react like sheep. That hasn’t happened because the folks like you who had the courage to stand up and speak truth to power on behalf of the rest of us who are too scared to do so.

Thank you again.

Save Catholic June 21, 2018 Reply

This comment will be moved to “After the Vote” as this comments section is closed.

Anonymous May 24, 2018 Reply

Will the “Follow the Money” piece under “Analysis & Opinion” be made public, or is a password indeed required to view it? Restricted content seems antithetical to the mission of this site.

Save Catholic May 24, 2018 Reply

Thank you for checking in. We are currently developing the Analysis & Opinion page and will have an update shortly.

Anonymous May 24, 2018 Reply

I just read the Moody’s 2017 report and it seems to me that the doubling of gift revenues from 2012 to 2016 is a fairly impressive performance by Garvey and his administration. To those who say otherwise based on the sources of the money, what have you done to produce comparable revenues from “acceptable” donors?

Save Catholic May 25, 2018 Reply

Thank you for your comment. Please see our new Analysis & Opinion page for discussions and analyses about the administration’s performance, among other topics. Comments on this page are now closed so that they can be compiled and sent to the Board of Trustees.

A Concerned Alumnus May 19, 2018 Reply

“Cost-Cutting Plan at Catholic U. Less Dire Than Portrayed”; The Chronical of Higher Education; 18 May 2018

Abela’s disingenuous letter implies that the current unrest at CUA is nothing more than a tempest in a teapot. He even states that, “This fall, our undergraduate enrollment is projected to increase for the second straight year.” So much for his previous citation of demographics as the basis for his ill-advised proposal.

See https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/letters/cost-cutting-plan-at-catholic-u-less-dire-than-portrayed/

Anonymous May 19, 2018 Reply

Though I’m inclined to skepticism about some of the “sky is falling” rhetoric in this forum, I have to say that Abela’s letter strikes me as weak. It dodges the question whether firing tenured faculty is contemplated and it provides no data to support the thesis that the proposal will actually strengthen the institution as distinct from merely slow the bleeding. On balance, viewed as an attempt at advocacy, the letter persuades me that some of the attacks on Abela’s intellectual chops may be justified.

Winston Smith May 19, 2018 Reply

This evasive and weirdly robotic letter puts Andrew Abela’s cynical sophistry on full display. “Earlier this year, the Catholic University of America released a proposal called Academic Renewal…” No. “The University” did not; Abela did, and he ruled out all suggestions and alternatives diverging from his own until massive opposition from students and faculty pushed him to. From the outset, even before the town halls, he was adamant that terminating tenured faculty had to be part of the plan. That plan, however “neutered” in its later form, still countenances this. Enrollments are projected to be up–Good! But apparently Abela has forgotten the assumptions and arguments he relied upon to concoct the plan–though well he should, as they’ve been decisively and repeatedly shown to be inaccurate and fallacious. It’s as if he believes the plan has ALREADY succeeded in boosting enrollment! And the modest move to go back to the expectation of 3-3 loads “adjusted for research and other responsibilities” is a proposal to do… exactly NOTHING, as that’s how loads have always worked. We are to swallow the idea that a 9% reduction in an already reduced faculty is “limited.” (“This procedure is limited to chopping off one of your fingers.”) And it’s nice that that Abela considers the student and faculty input that undid (his word was “mutilated”) as much of the plan as possible now as having “strengthened” it. Weakness is strength. Love is hate. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia!

Anonymous May 17, 2018 Reply

It is inconceivable to me that presumably educated men like the Provost and the President who may be gifted in certain areas are not accountable and take responsibility for what their ‘leadership’ has created. Common sense dictates that if I gave someone a million dollars to go to a casino and he lost it all, would I give him 10 more million and face the same outcome or worse? Should the Abela plan be trusted? Someone defined Insanity as repeating the same action many times expecting a different outcome. Saving our beloved CUA and trusting the same ‘leaders’ is insane.

Marie Reilly May 17, 2018 Reply

As a non-graduate, but a financial contributor,I find the current situation a direct reflection of leadership failure. My own Catholic liberal arts undergraduate institution is thriving even though it draws from a less affluent population.
Accepting Koch Brother’s money for CUA would be dancing with the devil as many less ethically committed institutions have found.

Sent from my iPad

Anonymous May 17, 2018 Reply

The dance has been in full swing since 2013, by now to the tune of well over $10,000,000. And the pipers will be paid, one way or another.

Anonymous May 17, 2018 Reply

And where would comparable substitute dollars have originated if CUA had rejected that $10mm? People vote with their wallets.
In the eyes of too many donors who might be inclined to support “The Catholic University of America,” this particular university is that institution in name only. For decade after decade it has been overshadowed by other universities that are “Catholic enough,” and they have won the race. To a great degree I think posters to this forum are deluding themselves about how modestly regarded CUA is in the academy generally and among student and donor constituencies. CUA takes the Koch money because, without it, they can’t keep the lights on. Is it unthinkable to consider that the CUA enterprise has failed and perhaps should be wound down? After all, it’s been 130 years, yet the place has never gotten close to the top of the heap, and things have gotten so bad that the administration wants to be able to sack tenured faculty. How much is left to salvage? I ask these questions seriously.

Anonymous May 17, 2018 Reply

It’s a good school with strong faculty and excellent students. Let’s leave the question of preserving academic integrity distinct from perceived ranking.

Anonymous May 17, 2018

Except that perceived ranking is critically linked to prosperity and indeed survival, without which academic integrity is, well, academic.

Carpe Collegium May 18, 2018 Reply

Would that the Koch money were being used to “keep the lights on.” Don’t be silly, that’s not what these guys buy when they buy influence at a university. The money is designated for specific purposes, though exactly which, no one will say in much detail, and few people outside the top admin know what the donor agreements say or where the money goes. There’s the support for teaching “principled entrepreneurship” (where clearly some “principles” are operative and others are forbidden), and hiring “research professors” (teaching load 0/0) like a climate change skeptic and intelligent design advocate in the business school. Falsely billed as a political economist, this person has a Ph.D. in…theology (not theology & philosophy, as the faculty bio claims). Quite a way to boost academic reputation. And there’s the funding of un-subtly partisan “centers” like the essentially anti-Laudato Si “Institute for Human Ecology” (don’t look for any sign of actual ecology on its website, or its new Program in Human Rights to give a thought to the likes of liberation theology) or the “Center for the Study of Statesmanship,” which, however noble its stated aims, kicked things off by hosting a talk by a right-wing, anti-immigrant, anti-semitic leader of the Polish Law & Justice party, who fully supports his party’s legislation criminalizing any of his countrymen & women with the temerity to suggest some Poles just may have been complicit in the Holocaust. And clearly some of the recent donor money is going to massively pad the salaries of new hires who fit the ideological-religious bill. Indeed, CUA is really far gone. The lights will be kept on for a while by eliminating undesirable faculty. Once you get rid of enough, you don’t really need lights. Think-tankers can work from home. Deus Mea Lux Est.

A Concerned Alumnus May 17, 2018 Reply

Can Faculty at Private Institutions Unionize?

See: https://www.agb.org/trusteeship/2015/januaryfebruary/can-faculty-at-private-institutions-unionize-0

“Under the revised test, the NLRB will look at faculty participation in five discrete areas of institutional governance to determine whether faculty members exercise managerial powers that make them ineligible for collective bargaining. Three areas—curriculum, enrollment management, and finances—are given “greater weight” than the other two. The two areas of lesser significance are academic policy in areas such as grading, syllabus and course content, and research; and faculty hiring, promotion, and tenure—areas, ironically, in which faculty are traditionally accorded much greater managerial deference.”

A Concerned Alumnus May 17, 2018 Reply

“Catholic U. Plan, Which Could Result in Layoffs of Tenured Profs, Moves Ahead”
By Jack Stripling May 16, 2018

The clock is ticking – BOT to vote on 5 June 2018

https://www.chronicle.com/article/Catholic-U-Plan-Which-Could/243430

Anonymous May 16, 2018 Reply

Letters are a wonderful thing to voice opinions and grievances. At some point, however, the time my come that it is necessary to follow in the footsteps of WV, OK, AZ, and NC.

Anonymous May 16, 2018 Reply

I’m so happy to see that President Garvey and the top administration in the university has doubled their salaries over the last few years. It allows me to sleep comfortably at night sacrificing my raises, my ability to pay bills and provide for my family, and commuting 4 hours each day because I cannot afford to live closer so that Garvey and his cohorts can make nonsensical amounts of money for what they do. I’m so happy I can sacrifice my and my family’s well being so that Garvey, his family, and his cronies never have to worry about money, retirement, housing, food, transportation, etc.

Being 38 with a MS, working in the Physics dept. is so worth the paltry sum I make knowing Garvey pulls down $650k a year doing little other than “Academic Restructuring.”

Anonymous May 15, 2018 Reply

So what happened here? According to the update, the mentions of elimination of tenured faculty and a tiered teaching load system have been removed from the proposal. Are these proposals off the table, now, or have the power-that-be simply decided that they don’t need to ask the Senate for permission?

Anonymous May 15, 2018 Reply

The proposal in its most current form still lacks any explicit protection for tenure. One reason this is a concern is that the proposal also discusses the exercise of administrative authority under extraordinary circumstances, which seems to suggest that tenure might be at risk in future times of financial or other stress.

The tiered teaching load system is probably not likely to be re-introduced, given that alternate mechanisms for evaluating faculty workload have replaced it in the proposal.

peter v May 15, 2018 Reply

Hello, I have no connection what so ever with your great school but always new and remember how this well-established education Center (capital C ) worked. Was and hope will be one of few that does so much of useful and very practical research initiatives, supports great programs and truly educate young and talented to become great contributors and followers of the principles of faith and achievements of the institutions. When ‘proposals’ like this targets basic principle of the school i.e. simply sets the ticking mechanism to wipe off the years of success. That is the time to stand up and support the fundamentals.
Shame that the so called ‘proposal’ of cutting even in some areas where our foreign competitors invest: i.e. chemistry, biology etc. Shame to such board that manages this great school as a third world based corporation with just few primitive, dollar based narrow minded ‘principals’.
We should write a petition to stop the experiment: to US Dept. of Education and Congress to make sure it’s been heard at all levels of the society and not been hidden from anyone.

Save Catholic May 15, 2018 Reply

The comment below was sent to Save Catholic for publication on this page:

There’s a bit more to Abela’s hire. A bit of inside baseball, but it’s a very revealing story.

Andrew Abela, not particularly well liked by his own faculty, especially the few female faculty, in the business school (which the scholarly economics department is now fleeing), was appointed chair of the provost search committee after the prior Provost, Jim Brennan, was precipitously sacked by John Garvey the day after Garvey was reappointed as President in Sept. 2014–over the objection of a great majority of voting faculty. Abela was a natural pick, surely, as both he and Garvey are members of the local chapter of the largely libertarian Catholic business fraternity Legatus.org. Mr. Garvey ADAMANTLY insisted that the new Provost could ONLY come as an outside candidate–i.e., pointedly: no one with any long institutional knowledge or historical loyalties to the University. You know, fresh start, clean slate. In some cases, that can be warranted; here it was simply a matter of desiring a yes-man, not a real chief academic officer, someone loyal to the president, not the university.

After 6 months, the secretive search, wrote Garvey to faculty in June of 2015, “…yielded a number of fine candidates.” One may wonder, What happened to these “fine candidates”? It appears they were fine enough to have their wits about them: the top candidates, it’s said (this is a culture of secrecy) WITHDREW when they finally had the opportunity to speak with Deans (no faculty) and discovered a thing or two about how this dysfunctional administrative culture, which derives its character directly from the top, does things. (Was it not a hint that the search was kept far removed from campus and the faculty?)

Only then, facing yet another failed search–this time not for a dean but the provost– did John Garvey submit to the wondrous revelation that the perfect person for the job was under his nose all along, none other than…the chair of the failed search! “As the search process ran its course [read: failed],” wrote Garvey, “I came to the realization that the person to whom I had entrusted the responsibility of leading the search himself met all the qualifications I was looking for.” All barring at least one, of course: Abela was an internal “candidate” who didn’t have to compete against any other internal candidates. And there were several potential such candidates who were and are still far more experienced, far more scholarly (Abela’s publications are decidedly weak–not only is he not an ordinary professor but he stands zero chance of becoming one on merit; he has never even directed a single dissertation)–candidates who made far better managers, were and are simply more mature, were and are far better communicators, and were and are far more temperamentally suited to the job.) All of those attributes would be disqualifying for Mr. Garvey, of course. He was interested in one thing only: a loyal water-carrier (sound familiar?)

On this terrible appointment–for that’s what it was–Garvey even praised Abela for his insider institutional knowledge and historical loyalty to the university–the very things he’d devalued in the search for an exclusively external candidate. Working here, one gets accustomed to such whiplash inducing palaver. That June 2, 2015 email was quite a shiny, sweaty slice of bad baloney. Most faculty would still consider that search failed, but for the fact that in the end it was no search at all. For his part, Mr. Garvey has honed his skills at presiding over failure and calling it success. He’s had lots of practice, and will likely get much more as he drives this once-great research university ever more into a ditch. Would that the Trustees might wake up to this fact of his “leadership.”

Anonymous May 15, 2018 Reply

Reading all this Garvey-bashing prompts me to push back. In his personal style and presence, Garvey strikes me as a university president out of central casting, which is not a bad thing. His academic credentials are far more impressive than all of his predecessors except perhaps Pellegrino, who was a less engaging speaker; O’Connell had the most modest resume and couldn’t keep the university in the AAU despite its status as a founding member. Having fallen so far, the university perhaps needs a benevolent dictator with the professional cred that Garvey brings to external constituencies. Do you really want to replace him with another cleric from some unknown Catholic college of lesser rank than even CUA? Be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous May 15, 2018 Reply

Once defenses of the plan rest on claims like “the university perhaps needs a benevolent dictator”, you know that the school is in deep, deep trouble.

Anonymous May 15, 2018 Reply

Wasn’t defending the plan, necessarily, but rather defending Garvey. And yes, it does appear the school is in deep, deep trouble. But it doesn’t follow that the school would be better off without Garvey, however imperfect he may be. Does the faculty itself bear any responsibility for the institution’s mediocre standing in the eyes of students and potential benefactors? How is it that CUA lost its place in the AAU? Research grants, recognized prizes, peer assessments, all contribute to the fortunes of a university in terms of attracting students, admirers and donors. This is not to say CUA’s administrators are faultless. But maybe some of the faculty throwing bricks should reflect for a moment on whether they’ve carried their weight.

Anonymous May 15, 2018

For an institution to survive and thrive, it needs strong leadership, a transparent decision-making process, and shared governance. We have none of that at CUA. The vast majority of my colleagues are publishing regularly in well-regarded publications, writing books, being quoted in the press, etc., etc., in addition to all the service and teaching we do. Specifically, I am a part of a growing program that is slated for major reductions. I asked for more resources for my entire time at CUA in order to further grow (and make the U more money) and I can only come to one of two conclusions. Either the administration is making profoundly stupid and shortsighted decisions, or there is a desire to starve out those people who aren’t deemed “authentically Catholic”. I couldn’t believe I heard that from a dean at a faculty meeting. It is quite galling that the administration at CUA is trying to decide who is appropriately Catholic and who is not. They aren’t my priest! And if my latter conclusion is not correct and it’s the former, well, may God help us.

Anonymous May 15, 2018 Reply

This is factually accurate, as far as I know. Right now, the university is being run by:

1) a provost whose prior administrative experience is serving as dean of unaccredited business school, and who does not have the academic credentials to be full professor at his university;

and 2) a president, whose prior administrative experience is solely in the area of law education.

James Brennan, who served as provost until he was dismissed, had been: provost at Towson, dean of arts and sciences at Louisville, and graduate dean at Loyola Chicago.

Will Rainford, Dean, NCSSS May 14, 2018 Reply

I neither agree nor disagree with comments offered in this medium, with one exception. I take umbrage that anonymous posters are offering ad hominem attacks on Provost Abela, his intellect, character and values. Disagree with the ideas all you want. It is beyond vile in a public forum such as this that someone would throw a rock at a virtuous, decent man who is serving our institution through sacrifice. I know someone will point to his salary as refutation. I offer, Provost Abela sacrifices significant time away from his family (with several young children) in fulfillment of his duties. Shame on the anonymous posters, and shame on the moderators for allowing these attacks. Please immediately cease!

Save Catholic May 14, 2018 Reply

Thank you for your comments. Save Catholic values both civil discourse and the free exchange of ideas regarding the provost’s Proposal for Academic Renewal.

Concerned Staff May 14, 2018 Reply

Provost Abela experienced a meteoric ascent within CatholicU from a low-ranking professor to Chairman to Dean to Provost within a few years. Questioning the circumstances of his ascent is not an attack on his character or intellect. In the summer/fall of 2014, then-Dean Abela was selected to be part of the committee evaluating the performance of President Garvey in the face of an open-rebellion by the Faculty. Upon his re-appointment, President Garvey dismissed then-Provost Brennan and commenced a national search to identify a new Provost. The national search pointed that the best candidate was Dean Abela. All these events are public knowledge. We have the right to question how they are linked. Transparency is in the interest of all. Especially financial transparency. As to his presumed sacrifice, the Provost is free to resign (as we all are) and return to his teaching position. The reduced teaching load that he suggests will ensure that he will be able to spend more time with his young family.

Anonymous May 14, 2018 Reply

The national search pointed that the best candidate was Dean Abela!

Anonymous May 14, 2018 Reply

Dear Associate Professor Rainford –

You are certainly free to express your opinion on the matter but frankly, I have read every comment and have found none that offered any ad hominem attacks on Provost Abela.

But I have seen much that Abela has done to support his ill-conceived “Academic Renewal” proposal to be at best disengenuous. I question his academic honesty and his understanding of basic financial management.

Anonymous May 14, 2018 Reply

It would indeed be vile to “throw a rock at a virtuous, decent man who is serving our institution through sacrifice.” That simply hasn’t happened on this forum, however. It’s an insubstantial, question-begging, straw man of an accusation. Does the poster even know the meaning of “ad hominem”? It’s absolutely legitimate to raise questions of motive, credibility, and temperament when a chief academic officer has been so unreceptive to views differing with his own, has refused any discussion of reduced executive compensation, has plainly misused data, and done much else to undermine his own faculty’s trust in him. The poster also seems not to be familiar with the fallacy of special pleading. Many, many staff and faculty sacrifice a great deal, including significant time away from their families, ofttimes families with small children, in service to the university. And they do so for far less financial reward than the extraordinarily over-compensated Provost.

Anonymous May 14, 2018 Reply

ad ho·mi·nem
adverb & adjective
1 1. 
(of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.”vicious ad hominem attacks
2 2. 
relating to or associated with a particular person.

To wit:

“Hi skills seem to be in blowing smoke (a ka marketing.”

“CUA is totally corrupt”

“And like-minded sycophants, like Abela,”

“They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing anything good” (Titus 1:16)”

Anonymous May 14, 2018 Reply

To Dean Rainford: I’m a faculty member with several small children, and I “take umbrage” at your comment!! Many faculty members – me included – have “sacrificed significant time” with our children in order to do our very best as teachers and researchers at CUA. And we’ve done it for literally hundreds of thousands of dollars less than the provost.

Many of us have also spent the entire year worrying about how we will *feed* our small children if the provost’s plan goes through and we are the ones selected for so-called “involuntary departure.”

So I think, given all that has happened this year, it is completely understandable if people question the provost’s judgment (preferably without “throwing rocks” – but I don’t see any evidence of that here).

Oh, and I also think it is “beyond vile” to try to shame the commenters in this forum! The people who should be ashamed are the provost, the president, and anyone who supports this inhumane and ill-considered plan!

Anonymous May 14, 2018 Reply

Dear Associate Professor Rainford –

I have read every post and in my opinion, none of them made any ad hominem attacks on Associate Professor Abela.

In point of fact, Abela should be ashamed of his disingenuous “Academic Renewal” proposal and President Garvey should be as well.

It’s clear that you are looking to be promoted to full professor but your obsequious protestation does not do you service.

Save Catholic May 14, 2018 Reply

To keep things on topic, we are going to close comments on this particular thread. Please do continue to share your thoughts about the Proposal for Academic Renewal, particularly the updated version that was posted last week, or our updates statement from this morning. Thank you.

Save Catholic May 14, 2018 Reply

Please see our Updates page for the latest news!

Anonymous May 13, 2018 Reply

I would like to express my concern over the University’s commitment to the Catholic intellectual tradition under the current administration.

One example may be found in the School of Philosophy, which has an annual lecture series every fall semester. Since 2015, this series has been funded in part by the Charles Koch Foundation. Whereas in previous years speakers at this series were overwhelmingly from reputable academic institutions, in the 2015 lecture series “Philosophy and Economics” one finds speakers from the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute and the Acton Institute. All of these take money from the Charles Koch Foundation.

The Acton Institute, to which several faculty of the business school have connections, is especially troubling as at best, it is dismissive of the Church’s Social Magisterium in general and Pope Francis in particular.

There are other signs of a decrease in academic standards and of the undermining of the Catholic intellectual tradition for those who are willing to scratch just a little below the surface. I fear that the administration does not grasp fully the distinction between a university and a right-wing think tank.

Anonymous May 14, 2018 Reply

I don’t know anything about Acton, but Heritage and Hudson are pretty reputable outfits, albeit on the right.

Anonymous May 15, 2018 Reply

They may be reputable, but they are not academic and so are not held to the same peer-review standards.

Anonymous May 13, 2018 Reply

I am a graduate student at Catholic University and my own views and those I hear from my graduate student and staff friends reveals that there is a widespread distrust in both Garvey and Abela as honest brokers at CUA. When the president releases a statement, as he did the other week, congratulating himself and his administration for vastly increasing financial donations to the university, yet nonetheless arguing that faculty layoffs and buyouts are necessary, we lose faith in his forthrightness. When the provost tells the Washington Post “a small number of people are making a lot of noise” despite the large undergraduate, graduate, and faculty turnout at recent town halls, the results of the ad hoc committee’s survey, and the many conversations happening as people walk between classes, eat together at lunch, or meet over the weekends, we lose confidence in the provost’s trustworthiness. When the provost argues in his proposal that “there are no reasonable alternatives” to balancing CUA’s budget than laying off faculty, after his own salary has increased by more than $140,000 and the president’s by nearly $270,000 since 2009, we don’t believe him. When the entire premiss of the provost’s original proposal was found to be based on faulty or cherrie-picked data, and the revised proposal in some cases simply softens its language (but now without any citations whatsoever) and in other cases does not address the criticism at all, his intellectual honesty comes into doubt. And when the provost, in his response to the ad hoc committee’s report, lauds the Academic Renewal process as “unequalled in its extent of consultation and candor” we know he is wrong.

As a graduate student, I knew virtually nothing of the AR proposal and its potential consequences before the documents were made public in the days leading up to the town hall meetings. Many on campus see the fact that public discussion of the proposal began only at the end of the semester, just in time for finals (the busiest time of year) and shortly thereafter followed by most students leaving campus for the summer, as a thinly veiled effort on the part of the administration to squash debate. Yet, despite its short notice and its occurrence just before finals, attendance at the town halls was remarkably large. Furthermore, the students in attendance were deeply read on the proposal and its supporting documents. I remember one undergraduate pointing out that the proposal was based on faulty data (and this was before Dr. Mack’s PowerPoint had been made public), another student, whom I believe was an undergraduate, stood and read the president’s publicly available income aloud to the audience. A third student questioned the proposal’s logic: how could CUA increase its teaching and research excellence, keeping a low teacher-student ratio, whilst cutting faculty and growing the number of students? All three of these individual’s showcased the exceptional education CUA students can receive as researchers and critical thinkers, and they also exemplified the deep anger and distrust this processes has instilled toward the administration leadership. After everything that has happened after the last two months, I have lost any confidence that the university will be able to heal and move past these events as long as John Garvey and Andrew Abela are leading it.

Anonymous May 13, 2018 Reply

I attended the graduation ceremony, Baccalaureate Mass and athlete reception this weekend. CUA is a wonderful university with intelligent, engaged, athletic and accomplished students and caring faculty. I was proud to be a CUA parent.

Save Catholic May 13, 2018 Reply

Thank you for your comment. Congratulations to your graduate, and to the entire Class of 2018!

Another Anonymous May 13, 2018 Reply

Read the article in Crisis: Sadly, the powers that be (the President, Provost, and other conservative Catholics) are setting up an anti-Catholic argument against CUA’s own faculty–many of whom are practicing Catholics. Their case is that those who simply ask the administration to follow the Faculty Handbook, to maintain a nationally accepted definition of tenure, and follow other basic ethical obligations to employees are, in no short order, anti-Catholic. Somehow those of us that are indeed practicing Catholics are now vilified, as a whole, as not Catholic enough and that our concerns are neither a matter of fair employment practices or academic freedom. Here’s a link to the article: https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/curranism-finally-dead-catholic-university-america

A Concerned CUA Alumnus May 13, 2018 Reply

This article from October 2016, entitled, “Koch Brothers’ Latest Target: Pope Francis” is worth a re-read to help put the current electro-political situation at CUA in some context.

The following observation from the article is particularly germane.

“The Kochs are influential and have money to throw around,” says Thomas Kelly, a Creighton University theology professor. “They put libertarian thought in front of young people, which is very attractive because it’s based on self-interest and individualism. Their dispersion of money into universities is part of a unified, effective political strategy. They want to form a generation that thinks they are only responsible for themselves. At a foundational level, this is the exact opposite of what Catholic teaching says about the common good.”

See http://prospect.org/article/koch-brothers%E2%80%99-latest-target-pope-francis

A Concerned CUA Alumnus May 13, 2018 Reply

Dr Abela’s previous faculty position at CUA was as an associate professor of marketing.

It is curious that President Garvey chose an associate professor to be the first Dean of the yet to be accredited Busch School of Business and Economics. And then he promoted him to the position of Provost. Hi skills seem to be in blowing smoke (a ka marketing).

Clearly, based on the financial errors contained in so-called “Academic Renewal Proposal”, Abela has no competency in financial management.

This begs the question – why have we heard nothing from the Vice President for Finance & Treasurer, Robert M. Specter, regarding the “budgetary problem” allegdedly being addressed by the “Academic Renewal Proposal”

Anonymous May 12, 2018 Reply

Provost Abela insists that a decline in the number of high school graduates has caused the university’s trouble. It has not. He insists that the only way to balance the university budget is to cut faculty. It is not. He insists that he is “unequivocally” committed to tenure. He is not. He insists that he and his Vice President peers are worth every penny they are paid. They are not. He insists that SaveCatholic is just a few people. It is not. How many strikes until you’re out at CUA?

M. D. Ito, PhD, CUA May 12, 2018 Reply

Like many others, I was surprised and disheartened to learn of the administration’s proposed faculty reductions and removal of the tenure system. It appears ill advised. The faculty is the creative and intellectual force of the university. The faculty built CUA into the strong university that it has been for over one hundred years. The faculty of the past ten to thirty years has moved CUA into the forefront of its many disciplines. The faculty members are the gems of the university. They are the crown jewels.

The faculty has undoubtedly been an ultimate basis of the strong financial ratings of past years. They are the university’s strength. The faculty has not changed its steady course in the past few years. The administration has. The administration should look to itself and not imperil the very cornerstones that built the university and have kept it strong.

A move to an adjunct-heavy teaching system and a disrupted faculty environment in the long run will not attract students. Such a system would lack the continuity and institutional cohesiveness that is necessary for the solid training of students. Scholarly research would likely suffer as well. Fragmentation cannot successfully replace the ordered and informed environment that the faculty now maintains.

The move to a non-tenured, adjunct-focused system would quickly make CUA lose its distinctive qualities. This would not attract students. It would in the long-run, or short-run, debase the overall quality of the university. The administration’s plan appears short-sighted in this regard, and it misses the core point of operating a university.

Finally, it must be emphasized again that the faculty members are the university’s gems. They form the university’s intellectual content and uniqueness. Which rare gem would the administration choose to toss? And is this humane and consistent with the university’s stated mission and values? It does not appear so. Surely there must be more creative solutions to the current problem than eliminating faculty and disrupting the system that made the university what it has been for over a century. Please, to the administration, devise a better, healthier, and more humane solution than that which has been proposed. Please do better for the sake of CUA.

J.S. May 10, 2018 Reply

The Academic Senate is not a body that fully reflects the points of view of the the university faculty. It contains many members of the administration.

Opponents of the proposal to cut faculty and eliminate/redefine tenure face a serious possibility of retribution by this administration–much more serious than at tenure-compliant universities.

Fear is palpable in the anonymous comments in this forum, even among tenured profs.

The few who go on record, as one just did in Commonweal, are jaw-droppingly brave given the power they are up against. Not everyone is in a position to take that risk.

That’s why the rest of us raise our voices anonymously–it’s a political practice with a long tradition in situations of extreme power differences. Anonymous dissent is not illegitimate (however dismissive the provost chooses to be). It’s usually one of the only platforms to remain for loyal dissenters to contribute honestly and productively to a conversation dominated by the powers that be.

Cassandra May 10, 2018 Reply

[Note from Save Catholic: This comment was sent to us by e-mail from a tenured professor who wishes to remain anonymous]

I am a tenured member of the faculty of The Catholic University of America and have been for many years. I was invited to contribute a version of this piece to the Washington Post’s education blog, GradePoint, but after much soul-searching and discussion with my colleagues, I decided against publishing it under my own name. I have reason to fear reprisals from the University should I do so.

Nevertheless, I have something to contribute to this conversation.

First, to address issues raised about who is participating in this debate, and why they are doing so anonymously.

Structural reasons undergird the seemingly disproportionate contribution of members of the Arts and Sciences faculty to this discussion. The School of Arts and Sciences is, and has been historically, the largest School in the University, its faculty constituting almost 50% of the whole. The School of Arts and Sciences is also one of two departmentalized schools (of twelve) in the University, which means that its faculty constitute themselves across eighteen departments, which tends to de-centralize authority. Deans in other Schools have more direct control over what their faculty can say. And they have exercised that control in sometimes alarming ways in the past few years. An interesting exercise for reporters would be to track the number of employment lawsuits filed against the university as well as the number of faculty members who have departed for other institutions in the past five years. That will help explain why few are willing to speak out publicly.

Second, the argument that firing tenured faculty without cause is not an attack on tenure.

In his response to the Ad Hoc Committee’s findings (which confirm widespread faculty opposition to this proposal), the provost insists that the University respects tenure “unequivocally,” and that current “extraordinary circumstances” dictate firing tenured faculty. It is odd reasoning. Current circumstances are extraordinary enough to fire tenured faculty, but not extraordinary enough to invoke “financial exigency.” This set of firings, the provost insists, are exceptional and do not suggest a weakening of tenure at The Catholic University of America.

Every administrator knows the first rule of exceptions: Be careful what exceptions you extend — as exceptions have a way of becoming precedents.

Do not be fooled: The Catholic University of America, by firing tenured faculty in some departments to address a temporary budget shortfall, sets a precedent in higher education that will be followed by other universities. And that precedent will be invoked again on our campus.

Third, follow the money.

The University says the proposed firings at Catholic are necessary for budgetary reasons. But there are good reasons to be skeptical. If the budget is at issue, why have the salaries of the top seven administrators increased more than eighty per cent over the past seven years? And why is the university advertising eleven new tenure track positions?

The only clues given thus far as to which tenured faculty will be fired have come from a controversial report from a consulting firm engaged by the university to identify units with “surplus faculty.” [link] The report was controversial not only because of its findings, but mainly due to its basis in faulty data and methodological inadequacies, which departments have tried repeatedly to correct with limited success.

Administrators have provided no additional information about the criteria they will use to terminate tenured faculty. In his address at the Spring Luncheon, President Garvey assured the faculty that no “school, department, program, or course” would be eliminated. What kind of due process will be followed, then? A lack of transparency means there is no way to insure that positions are not being eliminated simply because the administration wants to target particular faculty and quiet their ideas. Under this cloud of uncertainty, some faculty members have rushed to accept early buy-outs, and in some cases, have been pressured to take them.

President Garvey’s comments on the need to fire “only five or six” tenured faculty, it should be noted, were made while he stood in front of a slide that showed the University had raised $10 million in unrestricted funds in the 2018 Fiscal Year. It would seem as if some of those funds could be used to defend tenure.

Many of us see a connection between these firings and the direction the university has taken in the last five years. It looks a lot like cleaning house of non-Catholic and insufficiently Catholic faculty. It certainly would facilitate President Garvey’s stated goal of hiring Catholic faculty. “We should expect Catholics to carry the ball,” he writes in a column on the university’s website. Consistent with numerous expressions made in a variety of publications and venues, this view has translated into a hiring process that seems designed to weed out insufficiently Catholic applicants, many of whom said they found it odd that job interviews they had with high-level administrators centered around questions about their faith rather than their scholarship or teaching credentials.

A new emphasis on conservative Catholicism emerged following renewal of Mr. Garvey’s contract as university president in the fall of 2014. In December 2013, the university received a $1 million donation from the Koch brothers, which fifty well-known Catholic educators protested as inconsistent with the ideals of the only national university of the Catholic Church in America. In January 2015, the Koch Foundation donated another $1.75 million to the business school.

The Koch foundation made a much larger donation of $10 million to the University in 2016. In thanking Charles Koch for the donation at the university’s 2017 “Good Profit” Conference, Tim Busch (after whom the Business School at Catholic is named) introduced him as “an inspiration.” He then argued that the almost $50 million gift that he and Mr. Koch had delivered to the university, had “reenergized the Catholic University of America. We made it great again.”

A recent New York Times article on the undue influence of the Koch brothers on hiring at George Mason University suggests that what is happening at Catholic University may be part of a larger pattern. And a recent Washington Post editorial notes that the Koch foundation “had been given a voice in faculty selection and evaluation.” The Catholic University of America has not made public the terms on which the donations given to us were made, and these are unlikely to be disclosed.

It is worth noting that universities historically have rewarded donors by naming buildings after them. Only recently have they begun to reward donors by allowing them to shape their faculties.

This connection – between donations, hiring, and Catholic mission – is the subtext of this discussion. In an April 2016 article in Commonweal, Anthony Annett pointed to three ways in which accepting money from the Koch Foundation was inconsistent with Catholic beliefs: their libertarian politics; their promotion of climate denial; and their unethical business practices. Our students haven’t missed this. Last fall, in an article entitled, “One Nation, Under the Kochs,” a guest commentator in the university student newspaper, The Tower, posed a question we hope our Board of Trustees is considering: “Why is The Catholic University of America letting the views of a non-religious billionaire be taught over the teachings of the Catholic Church?”

One imagines Catholics all over the country would also have something to say about the influence of the Koch Foundation on the only national university of the Catholic Church in America.

And finally.

One of the tactics used against critics of the plan to fire tenured faculty is to accuse them of undermining the institution. Defending tenure – and its principle of academic freedom – does not undermine The Catholic University of America. It protects it. To suggest otherwise is to adopt the tactics of abusers when they warn victims against speaking out lest they “embarrass” themselves or the institution abusing them.

Anonymous May 11, 2018 Reply

If CUA is cleaning house of non-Catholic and insufficiently Catholic faculty, that is going against everything about our catholic faith of inclusiveness and charity. It is actually down right discrimination. Who are the president and the provost to judge who is sufficiently or insufficiently catholic? It goes against what our Holy Father has said about judging others…This is hypocrisy!

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

The new “Donor Influence” page under construction does not sound like a good idea. How can it possibly serve anybody’s interest to antagonize CUA’s donors? This site seems to be veering away from a core goal of protecting tenure (a truly worthy objective) and toward a kind of terrorism directed at the university administration. You can’t win that fight. Leave the donors out of it.

Save Catholic May 9, 2018 Reply

To the contrary: We have serious concerns about donor influence as it relates to the battle to protect tenure, both at Catholic and at other institutions. Stay tuned.

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

The president and his “top seven lieutenants?” This implies there are even more overpaid staff at CUA. I’m disappointed in what’s going on at the School of Music. They are throwing what was a great school down the drain

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

Somehow there is a disconnect in this entire process! I too was dismayed by the 35-8 response and have been wondering if we – Administration and Faculty – have not given sufficient time to consider the implications of our decisions and subsequent actions! Walking across campus each day – as I do – I am amazed at the lack of response to students absorbed in their cell phones. I am amazed, as well, as faculty members more absorbed in their administrative responsibilities than in listening and interacting with their students.
The disconnect? Why are we here?
Lunch at the PRYZ has been an educational experience that has taught me! If I have been successful teaching undergrads it is because I have learned from them!
Sadly, I have rarely seen the President, Provost, or – more sadly – any of our Deans involved in day-to-day conversations with those whom we serve!! Something is wrong here! A disconnect?

Disgusted at "Save Catholic" May 9, 2018 Reply

How does “Save Catholic” respond to the fact that the Academic Senate voted 35-8 IN FAVOR of the renewal plan?

Was “Save Catholic” all smoke and no fire? Or are anonymous voices strong in the darkness, but when the light is shining, the voices turn into whimpers and whispers? Either way, it smells of cowardice…

On the Academic Senate website are 20 faculty members who are not deans(because I have to assume the deans were told to vote with the Provost), 5 student representatives, and 3 faculty members who represent the Senate to the Board of Trustees. From those, only 8 members decided to stand up against Academic Renewal????? WHY?

Perhaps President Garvey’s words should be posted here, so all of us who have been following “Save Catholic” can see what strength in numbers really means:

“I am happy to report that the Academic Renewal plan, which the Provost and the faculty have been working on for most of this academic year, was approved by the Academic Senate this morning by a vote of 35-8. The final plan will be posted on the academic renewal website in the coming days.

I want to thank the Provost for his thoughtful and diplomatic handling of this process. I also want to thank the Academic Senate and its various committees for the improvements they suggested to the plan; and the many members of the faculty, staff, and student body, graduate and undergraduate, who have studied it and offered their opinions.

The reforms the plan proposes will do a great deal to help us achieve our twin goals of academic excellence and financial sustainability. Its adoption is a wonderful way to bring the academic year to a close.”

This website should be closed too…for shame, all of you.

Save Catholic May 9, 2018 Reply

While we are certainly disappointed by the vote in the Academic Senate, we are unfortunately not surprised. That the Academic Senate should move forward with a plan that has met with opposition from so many Departments and Schools across the University says more about the Academic Senate than about this website or the people who support it.

We intend keep working towards a path forward, in the interests of academic freedom, financial transparency, and the reputation of the university that we know and love.

We will never be ashamed for providing a safe forum for the many people who are dismayed by the actions of our current administration, but have a legitimate fear of reprisal for expressing their opinions publicly. The comments here have largely been heartfelt, thoughtful, and considerate, and we are grateful to all who have taken the time to respond. We look forward to continued respectful discussion.

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

The snarky, adolescent tone of this post is like that of the Provost’s reply, and also typical of his trusty pals on the senate and scattered among the faculty. Apparently written by one of them. If the President or this anonymous poster thinks the Provost has been “diplomatic”, neither knows the meaning of the word.

Disgusted at "Save Catholic" May 9, 2018 Reply

I am far from a “snarky adolescent,” and far from a “trusty pal” of the Provost. I don’t have tenure. I don’t see myself getting on the tenure track anytime soon because of our University’s financial situation, and I thought I could rely on those who have tenure to stand up for the rights of those like me.

Instead, I feel like my rights and my future have been abandoned by senior faculty members I once considered peers.

I talked to members of the CUA staff in my school, my dean’s office, and in other academic areas, including in “central administration” in McMahon Hall, and they warned me this would happen. One of the postings from yesterday said the same thing: the tenured faculty member who wrote the post had pangs of guilt when he/she came to “my gut-churning realization that this treatment had been visited upon support staff, custodial staff, and others right under my very nose over the last few years and I’d been completely oblivious to it.”

That’s the problem with this discussion: Unless you are tenured, you don’t matter to the tenured. Unless you are one of them, you aren’t anything, and your plight isn’t noticed. That is already the creation of a caste system, where tenure allows you to wear blinders to the realities around you.

Perhaps the “staff” had it right in their responses to our survey, because they saw what happened to them and their colleagues. It only mattered to the tenured when their tenure was under a perceived threat.

Now that this threat has passed, what will be the new rallying cry?

I say all of these things (respectfully and from the heart) in both frustration and fear, because where we were once standing together against the renewal, I am afraid that my tenured colleagues will be leaving me behind.

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

A lot of tenured faculty, and I think all of those invested in this site, have vehemently opposed ALL involuntary terminations, including those of contract faculty. The “selfish tenured faculty” narrative has no substance. Many senior faculty fought for staff who were cruelly terminated in 2015–with some success (but not enough against a leadership that brooks no opposition). They continue to fight for non-tenure track faculty. In short, you have not been abandoned. But if tenure is undermined, there will be no one to fight for you, as everyone becomes essentially an at-will employee under an administration that retaliates very harshly against its opponents. They want a docile, obedient faculty. So what may seem self-serving at a casual glance is anything but. This is a communitarian effort against an administration that seems to delight in exploiting division, and whose knee-jerk response to all opposition is to blame, scapegoat, and retaliate, and to imply, in a host of ways, that all dissent is anti-Catholic. It’s quite cartoonish. Unfortunately, the consequences for faculty who have dedicated their careers to CU are no laughing matter.

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

I am the poster who spoke of my gut-churning response to everything that is happening. Let me assure you, I do not have tenure.

Anonymous May 10, 2018 Reply

Sorry but you’re exhibiting a fundamental misunderstanding about what tenure signifies for the health and reputation of a university.

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

I am sure that many if not all the comments and news on this web site appear totally unexpected to the University’s Board of Trustees. Indeed, there is every reason for the BOT to believe that the leadership at CUA is the best ever assembled, and that the status of the University is at its historic high. The reason for my belief is that the messaging and the marketing from the administration has been outstanding, at least to the extent that it is uniquely shaped to the members of the BOT. All the information they receive is channeled through the lens of just a few administrators (president, provost, and VPs). BOT members only see the marketing communiques, the EWTN Catholic TV segments, the reports of the capital campaign the president’s raising of $140 million only in the early silent phase of the campaign (though how much of the reported donations meet the “show me the money” test is still fuzzy), the highly visible infrastructure improvements, renovated buildings, new food center, etc. They see somewhat distorted metrics on finances and enrollment that show the University “on a solid footing” although despite the lowering of its bond rating and its own determination that it needs to make financial cuts. And CUA has a president who serves as a spokesman for Catholicism, embracing virtues and even teaching a course on this topic. What is there not to like? Well, for one, this vision is not reality. The disconnect between the governing boards and the actual state of the institutions that they oversee is commonplace. It is the result of filtered communications by the administration and neglectful lack-of- response of the BOT in not questioning the veracity of the information. The CUA’s “policy” that faculty members cannot communicate with members of the BOT certainly helps to perpetuate the fantasy vision that is given them. BOT members should reach out to the faculty, students and staff and, conversely, allow these individuals to contact them. They need to seek out independent voices and not simply request the board’s secretary to hand pick one or two members from the University faculty to provide them with the sentiments of the entire university community. Our current provost (then a dean) was one of the two chosen voices selected to represent the CUA faculty’s opinion of the president the last time the president was at the center of a controversy. The BOT must take off its blinders and be open to what is being happening here and WHY this is happening.

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

I would like to share my personal experience by way of responding to the Provost’s assertion that what I experienced here at CUA over the last seven months is the result of some small faction of malcontents “spreading half-truths and fear.” I hope by sharing my personal story it may prove how backwards his assertion is.

I am a full-time faculty member at the university. I chose the career path of research and teaching because I felt a calling. That is: I made a sacrifice and chose not to enter into the private sector, which would have afforded me greater financial opportunity, in order to pursue this calling. I truly believe that the purpose in my working life is to advance knowledge through collaboration with students and scholars, and by engaging in rigorous, thoughtful work in a university.

When the Provost rolled out his plan for Academic Renewal in October of 2017, in which he held three town halls announcing that the university would by firing professors, I felt the ground open up underneath me. To be sure, I am not one of those people on the “chopping block,” not yet. But from that moment, from the way the proposal was rolled out, to the complete disregard for the human lives that were involved and would be affected by these decisions (nevermind my gut-churning realization that this treatment had been visited upon support staff, custodial staff, and others right under my very nose over the last few years and I’d been completely oblivious to it), I felt betrayed and absolutely sickened. Let me be clear: my physical, emotional, and psychological reaction was not the result of some rogue group of faculty sowing discord. This was my own, unmediated reaction to the actions of the administration, and the disregard they have shown 1) to basic human decency in their treatment of people who have, like me, chosen to answer this calling at great cost; and 2) to the spirit of the university itself: to the advancement of knowledge and the pursuit of truth.

I am a healthy, balanced individual, but since October I have been increasingly anxious and prone to panic attacks. I am certain that my physical health has suffered. The physical toll of this entire process is visible on the faces and bodies of so many of my colleagues.

I truly do not believe that the Provost or the President understand the fact that most of us go into this job because we feel a true calling. I think this is why it has been so unbelievably painful for *all* faculty, not just those have lived for the last seven months in fear of being fired (and thus losing their livelihoods, insurance, and for some, the right to continue to reside in this country): this is not just a job, and it’s not just a paycheck. We made conscious, difficult decisions, often in consultation with our families, to pursue this noble but difficult, *austere* path. The administration has failed to show that it recognizes or understands this simple, true fact.

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

I’m a TT professor at another institution. It was one of the main reasons I moved here, to have the security that allows me to be able to stretch out, think, write, learn, and teach, without the constant anxiety of the search of learning being the undoing to my family’s livelihood. Tenure is absolutely critical for the existential well-being of faculty who are also in search of the Good, True, and Beautiful.

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

I might be missing something – but reading the Provost’s response to the Ad Hoc committee, it seems like the sole rationale for removal of faculty tenure is “to remove tenure for faculty”. It’s also not clear as to why some departments seem willing to give up their own tenure securities.

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

I am disappointed in several ways by Provost Abela’s reply, dated May 7, to the careful and thoughtful report of the Ad Hoc Committee.

1. I am disappointed that Provost Abela continues to insist he can dismiss tenured faculty contrary to our Faculty Handbook and to the norms and law of American higher education. Whatever happens to the rest of the Provost’s proposal, I hope the Senate will go on record, clearly and emphatically, rejecting the Provost’s mistaken interpretation of tenure and upholding the Handbook’s explicit provisions—as have the faculties of the Schools of Theology and Religious Studies, Canon Law, Philosophy, Architecture and Planning, Arts and Sciences, and NCSSS.

2. I am disappointed that Provost Abela offers no meaningful response to a part of the AHC’s work that strikes at the basic premise of his proposal. His logic runs thus: undergraduate enrollments are shrinking; this is the result of demographic trends affecting higher education generally; we must shrink our faculty to accommodate the shrinking number of students. The AHC gives reasons to question the Provost’s cherry picking and misrepresentation of data to show this purported decline. (He accepts some but not all of their amendments to the sections of his proposal making those assertions, without seeming to grasp their significance.)

Nor can Provost Abela’s premises be squared with what Faculty heard last week from Pres. Garvey, who told us that “In the big picture our undergraduate enrollment has been fairly steady”; that we have met an enrollment target for the Class of 2022 that exceeds the average of the last 5 years; and that undergraduate retention is rising. Where is the crisis?

3. I am disappointed that Provost Abela insists that faculty cuts are the only way to meet a budget deficit. Even if the “crisis” in enrollment is really no crisis at all, there is still the question of next year’s budget. According to the Provost, a shortfall of roughly $700K remains, and in a section on “Termination of faculty,” he writes that “The undeniable fact is that there are no other sources for funding this remaining shortfall.”

Actually, this is nothing like a fact and is easily denied, in several ways. Here are two. First, this is a projected, not an actual, deficit; it is educated guesswork, subject to any number of assumptions and conditions that could easily change. In the budget year just ended, the university reportedly found itself with a *surplus* of roughly the same amount. In other words, the Provost demands that faculty be fired to avoid a deficit that hasn’t actually happened, and may never come to pass. Second, this is a small amount in an operating budget of more than $200M—less than 3/10s of one percent. In a budget that large, a good manager could find savings that small in any number of ways, not—as the Provost claims—in one way, and one way only. A good manager would also ask if firing faculty—a permanent action—is the right solution to what may be only a one-time deficit.

4. I am disappointed that both Provost Abela and President Garvey chide the faculty for proposing no alternative cuts. That is their job, not ours. But if their challenge is genuine and not merely rhetorical, then I look forward to their throwing open the books to scrutiny, so that we can look for the needed savings across all areas of the university budget, not merely from faculty salaries.

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

I have read Dr. Abela’s response to the report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Renewal. Make no mistake: this is an attack on tenure, plain and simple.

Dr. Abela’s analysis relies upon the AAUP’s language regarding tenure, which describes it as “an indefinite appointment that can be terminated only for cause or under extraordinary circumstances such as financial exigency and program discontinuation.” Dr. Abela would have us believe that that “extraordinary circumstances” can be pretty much anything that a university want them to be. “Higher education is a highly competitive market, which is extraordinary, ergo we can terminate tenured appointments at will. Sorry.”

The AAUP goes into great detail regarding program discontinuation and financial exigency, spelling out how such circumstances should be handled. The only other reason cited by the AAUP for terminating a tenured appointment is cause: moral turpitude, incompetence, etc. While the AAUP does not necessarily exclude other “extraordinary circumstances,” it is hard to see how CUA can claim that they need to cut costs while such claiming cost cutting does not amount to “financial exigency.” What is financial exigency, other than a need to cut costs? To say that an institution is on solid financial footing except that revenues exceed expenses is absurd and positively Orwellian.

When you combine the notion that “extraordinary is whatever we decide it with” with “we get to decide which units get cut,” tenure becomes essentially meaningless.

Anonymous May 9, 2018 Reply

Reading the Provost’s response was a deeply depressing experience. The proposal is unequivocally an attack on tenure that will severely damage CUA. The academic renewal proposal gives the administration complete discretion to terminate tenured faculty for any reason they choose. This is an assault on this institution as a research institution. Let’s be clear. The academic renewal proposal is the genesis of fear and anxiety among the faculty, not expressions of opposition to it. How can any tenured faculty member feel anything but anxious if they can be terminated for any reason no matter how well they are doing their research, teaching, and service? I don’t see how the university can attract strong researchers and teachers if it tramples on tenure. And without strong teachers and researchers the institution cannot adequately serve its students.!

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

How do I join you guys?

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

The school where I am teaching is experiencing the same thing. I just saw the article in Chronicles. I am curious about the president’s comment that “no one has come up with reasonable alternatives” and his disregarding the idea that marketing was being done the wrong way. This sounds too familiar – although members of our faculty HAVE laid out alternatives to firing faculty, but the administration will not even look at them. And yes, marketing IS the issue. The message given is that faculty members are idiots who do not know what students in their disciplines look for in a college. People who have not a clue are making the decisions. The president is aggressive and threatening to fire for cause anyone who speaks out against this. Even students who speak out are being pressured or threatened with comments like, “You would not want your name in the media, would you? That might ruin your future job chances.” The board of trustees is behind it all, backing the cuts and unwilling to listen to faculty.

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

Catholic colleges/universities are suffering through these same pains nationwide. None of them seem to learn the needed lessons. If you want to succeed don’t trim faculty, trim administrators and the vast bureaucracy underneath them. Then once you have things balanced out from a budgetary perspective reduce tuition. Evidence some real Catholicism by actually being concerned about actual people and not just “pelvic issues” and personal salvation. Give students an outstanding education at a reasonable price, and you will fill the desks.

I had some excellent professors at CUA and a few awful ones. At the same time once I graduated I discovered that my graduate program offered no help with networking and had not adequately prepared me for the job market I faced. Any position I achieved was almost entirely on my own. Only two professors in a department of fifteen were of any help, and that help was limited because of their own heavy workloads.

I earned two graduate degrees from CUA, and taught in Catholic higher education for close to 20 years before voluntarily leaving for the non-profit world. I left because the order of nuns affiliated with my university were perpetrating a fraud. They were behaving just as CUA is behaving today. They claimed to be extremely Catholic and committed to learning, but in reality their Catholicism was all devotional Catholicism and the had no interest in the intellectual life of higher education. The nuns actively discouraged their students from engaging the world, limited thought and the ability of students to question, treated non-religious faculty poorly, dropped academic standards and allowed administrator pay to increase 40% in one year alone when faculty have literally received a 1% pay raise in the past 10 years while teaching a 4/4 load and having no time for research.

I published at great personal sacrifice, there was no question of my tenure or raises in academic rank, 20%+ of all faculty publications for the entire university were from my desk, and I left it all. In my letter of resignation I stated that I was leaving because my Catholic institution had made it too difficult for me to live out my vocation as a Catholic educator. Since I left the university has simply limped along, and a number of my former colleagues voluntary left the university. CUA is walking the same sort of path.

When I see anything related to CUA on my phone or email I never answer. I paid so much in tuition that I will be donating to the university for years to come. I feel no need to provide a donation to an institution that does not live up to its mission and an administration that has increasingly made education ideological.

From grade school through Ph. D. I went to Catholic institutions. I actively discerned for four years if I had a religious vocation. I am no Catholic hater. When CUA loses someone like me, it speaks volumes. Many of my grad school colleagues from CUA feel the same way and they came out of a variety of programs – Politics, History, Philosophy, Music, Library Sciences, Architecture, Law, and Social Work. CUA you are losing a bunch of cradle to grave Catholics in their mid/late forties. Whose left?

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

As a private university staff member (a part of the vast bureaucracy you cite) I would love to know how you assume the faculty will be able to accomplish all of the work necessary for their teaching to happen? Also, who will do the work of caring for these students while they are on campus? Are you suggesting I leave the care of my college-aged child to faculty members? Faculty needs just as much (often more support) from the “vast bureaucracy” than the students do. So who do you propose do that work? Who is going to enroll students, and assign dorm rooms, and assign classes for faculty to teach in? Who is going to do all of the work that needs to be done without those of us that have dedicated our lives to supporting institutions like this?
If there is a 20% reduction in enrollment it would follow you need 20% less faculty and 20% less staff to support 20% less students. Period. So it appears “saving” the university is a responsibility that should be shouldered equally across all parts of the university.
If you want to attract more students I would suggest you stop debating this publicly because you diminish the university when you have this debate for all to see and judge.

Save Catholic May 8, 2018 Reply

Thank you for your comment. Catholic University has undergone several rounds of staff layoffs and buyouts over the past few years, so Save Catholic does not advocate making further cuts to staff positions at Catholic. We do point out the startling recent increase in executive salaries and wages compared to faculty and staff salaries and wages.

To your last point, we believe that providing a forum for public debate and discussion ultimately makes the university community stronger, and shines a much-needed spotlight on problems that would have inevitably become public regardless.

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

As a CUA alumna and a teacher at a Catholic High School, I am very concerned about the situation at CUA and other Catholic institutions of learning. I am in a situation where I need to work twice the amount of hours for which I am paid in order to provide the quality expected for those families sacrificing the extra tuition for a Catholic education. If I ask for more pay, I not only fear losing my job, but the future of the program that I teach. I believe in the value of a Catholic education, but I see this same “business” type mentality in many of the Catholic schools at the various levels from PreK on up. Whether this is due to the declining religious (those avowed with a community) or the general lack of support from Catholics, their parishes, and dioceses, the bottom line seems to be a driving force in the successful survival of Catholic schools. While this is happening, these schools are losing quality, experienced, and dedicated faculty which are the backbone of what makes the education at these schools desirable in the first place.
I recently had one of my seniors select another school over CUA, despite scholarship offers. Knowing the parents, any inculing of possible problems on the horizon could have had an effect on this decision.
Getting rid of programs, schools, faculty and necessary supporting positions is not the answer. Hiring administrators at corporate world salaries does not mean that they are spiritually bought into the principles of Catholic education.
I fully support a realignment at the administrative level before any further altering of programs, faculty or staff.

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

Where is the Provost’s response to the Ad Hoc Committee? Seems if you are honest you post it in a tab of it’s own. Tell all sides to this story.

Save Catholic May 8, 2018 Reply

Please watch the site for updates over the next few days!

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

The Provost has indeed made a reply to the ad hoc committee, a very dyspeptic one. I hope the operators of this site will post it here, as it is now public record: the full text was published in the Chronicle of Higher Education today (https://tinyurl.com/y9452lz8). In it, the Provost doubles down on the same fallacious argumentation and evasive, selective interpretation, blames others (such as those behind this site) for the anxiety his attack on tenure has produced, and engages in intemperate recrimination and scapegoating. Everything you want in a Catholic leader.

Save Catholic May 8, 2018 Reply

The provost’s response has been uploaded to the site and can be found here.

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

“When we start destroying beautiful things, you know that a legitimate reform has now become a corruption.” – Malcolm Miller

The idea of an academic renewal sounds legitimate and necessary for a university to adapt to changing times keeping its essence and strengths. However, reading the documents presented in this website, one gets the full picture of the intended “reform” and realizes that the President and Provost’s “Academic Renewal” is not at all a renewal but rather a purge of faculty who expressed different opinions than those at the top positions at the university. The excuse for this purge is to blame a deficit that the faculty have no responsibility for.

Why would the administration be afraid of different ideas? Catholic means universal, and that means differences are part of who we are, we are enriched by differences. Of course, working with people from diverse backgrounds and points of view forces a person to be open to dialogue and to admit that one is not always correct. If those in top positions at the university are unable or unwilling to work in that diverse environment, they are clearly out of place in Catholic University…they are destroying one of the treasures of the university: being the venue to discover the truth.

Save Catholic May 7, 2018 Reply

From Save Catholic: this comment was sent to savecatholic@gmail.com, and with the author’s permission, we are posting it here:

Thank you for this website. “Democracy dies in darkness.” So does a good university wither to irrelevance without open, everyday communication among faculty, students, trustees, alumni, and administrators. I wish there were a simple way to open the dialogue and to air the views that divide parts of the faculty from one another and that separate much of the faculty from the on-campus administration and the trustees. A few years ago when the president was in his first term, the majority of the faculty expressed a desire that his contract not be renewed. The trustees responded by having the head administrator of the Knights of Columbus do a rapid assessment. He reported back that discontent came only from a few disgruntled faculty in Arts & Sciences who were upset with their low salaries and small annual raises. If trustees need reminding, our A&S faculty are the scholars who study the inner workings of DNA, discover galaxies going back in time to the universe’s origin, use big data techniques to study the classics, advance brain science in hopes of understanding aging, and focus on the rise of Asia as the central force in the 21st century, among other things. They convey their work to students who, with added background in philosophy and religion, can forge live fruitful lives for themselves and others.

This example is not meant to diminish the trustees, but to suggest that a better effort has to be made this time. Distrust among all CUA’s constituent parts is painfully palpable. The present is reminiscent of the 1960s when the gap was so wide that the place erupted in protests and a strike by the faculty. Contrary to the growing myth that a “Coup” led by a few dissident theologians occurred, something much larger happened that echoed well beyond campus. One can get a sense of its immensity by walking through Brookland, looking in vain for the former seminaries, convents, and religious colleges that emptied out in a flash and are now used for non-religious purposes. At that time, a core group of Bishops studied the University in context of the world and put their best effort into its reform. They helped in the writing of new statutes and in supporting the faculty’s work with new facilities for Drama and Physics and support for studies of human development and of the Church itself.

The present moment is an occasion for repairing relationships and getting back in touch with CUA’s history. An honest reading (see Joseph Nuesse’s Centenial History of the University) suggests that the University was built on fault lines within the Church and between the Church and American society. At one time and another, good leaders confronted them while moving the institution ahead to its next achievable goal. It is no secret that today higher education as a whole faces strong cultural headwinds and mountainous economic challenges. Our current president’s and provost’s plan to make faculty more Catholic and more loyal to the Church seems timid and fitting of a bygone time and place. The trustees might better read again Philip Gleason’ study of Catholic higher education, Contending with Modernity, to differentiate the paths taken in the past that led to no avail from the avenues that allowed Catholic-sponsored scholarship to have a voice in the world where it make a difference, even today. For encouragement, they might find models in our trustees of the 1980s- ‘90s when we graduated Martin O’Malley, Governor of Maryland who reformed criminal justice, Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe who helped preserve Medicaid for poor families, Angela Santomero whose creative talents are bringing moral values into children’s television, or Mitch Landrieu, the Mayor of New Orleans who brought the city back after Katrina and just this past year, without causing bitterness, removed statues of Confederate generals from his city.

Anonymous May 7, 2018 Reply

CUA is totally currupt, it’s so obvious. Someone is making our like a bandit, and it’s not the professors or students. I left CUA after a year because it was depressing. It’s hard to feel inspired to learn when the investment is not being made in what matters most at a university. So happy to hear folks are calling out the rats we’ve smelled for decades.

Anonymous May 7, 2018 Reply

That accusation — “CUA is totally corrupt” — is false and degrades the legitimacy of this forum.

Save Catholic May 7, 2018 Reply

Thanks for your comment. The vast majority of the comments posted here have been very thoughtful, but we do think it is best to avoid statements and ad hominem attacks, which weaken otherwise strong arguments.

Music school alumnus May 7, 2018 Reply

It is announced on the School of Music website that they have temporarily stopped accepted applications for the Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Sacred Music. This is the terminal degree for church organists, choirmasters, and sacred music composers. This a saddening turn of events and embarrassing for what should be the major center of church music in the USA.

Anonymous May 7, 2018 Reply

I could not agree more! There has been a provocative thread throughout these comments which becomes obvious to anyone who searches for the word “ideological:” hiring based on “ideological positions;” the pursuit of “ideological objectives;” the desire to make the University “ideological pure;” and the preference for “ideological scholars rather than accomplished ones.” What is happening to the School of Music is but one example. A closer look at the School of Theology and Religious Studies which was considered to be the premier school of The Catholic University has also suffered from this preoccupation. Together with the other two Ecclesiastic Schools, Philosophy and Canon Law, seem to be struggling to survive. CUA’s Founders would be dismayed at this loss of its identity.
It seems that our desire to be “Catholic” has made our catholicity narrow-minded. This is a sad phenomenon that has spread like a subtle dust that blinds our vision of our true Catholic heritage!!! We are suffering from it and, sadly, will suffer more.

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

That is a travesty.

Anonymous May 6, 2018 Reply

In reputatonal damage, hasn’t this controversy already cost the university far more than $3.5-million?

Anonymous May 5, 2018 Reply

Thanks to all those who are leaving comments on the site. It would seem from reading the posts in the past week or so that both President Garvey and Provost Abela have lost the confidence of the faculty, staff, students and alums. Can leaders lead when they have lost the trust and support of their constituents? Clearly the direction these men are taking the University is in a downward spiral. Perhaps it’s time to start talking about a “vote of no confidence” and time for new leadership.

Anonymous May 5, 2018 Reply

Two – possible three – questions prompted by on-campus scuttle-butt:

1. Is it true that the Provost is dismissing our comments as those of a small group of malcontents?

2. Are we indeed a small group? If so,

3. Why aren’t more of our colleagues contributing to this dialogue?

Save Catholic May 5, 2018 Reply

To answer your first question, yes.

The answer to your second question is no. Please read through the Appendix to the Ad Hoc Committee’s Report on Academic Renewal, on our “Responses and Resolutions” page, which contains surveys of the entire University community, as well as responses from a number of Schools. The numbers show that we are overwhelmingly opposed to the Academic Renewal plan. The same page has a recently posted response from the School of Theology & Religious Studies expressing opposition to terminating tenured faculty.

To your third question, we think that 144 thoughtful and heartfelt comments in under a week is a fairly significant discussion, but we welcome more comments and expect that the conversation will continue.

J.S. May 4, 2018 Reply

As a former faculty member, I know and love Catholic. I relocated for family reasons. Knowing it as well as I do, I used to recommend it to college-bound family members. I am so sad that I cannot do that anymore because the undergraduate academic value will suffer irreparably from the proposed reduction in faculty numbers and research.

And Catholic is more than some business enterprise with a balance sheet counting students as widgets and faculty members as overhead. This is the national *university* of the Catholic Church in the United States. This should be *the* national center of knowledge production by researchers affiliated with the Church. Catholic U. could have continued to be a platform for Catholic voices in all types of research, but instead the university is about to cede any participation in national discussions by discarding the essential components of a research university.

The poor leadership exhibited by administrators in this decision-making process also gives me serious pause before sending anyone in Catholic’s direction.

Alumni are going to be appalled about what is happening to an institution that nourished them in their lives, careers, and faith, and it will not help that the value of their degree is now plummeting.

Anonymous May 5, 2018 Reply

It was indeed painful to this long time faculty member, but even more it was simply surreal to listen to such sophistry. A telling aspect of these bizarre luncheon events is that Mr. Garvey refuses to take any questions. He did it once, years ago, and was pressed on his facts, so he decided, clearly, Enough of that. This from a man who, upon his 2014 reappointment despite overwhelming opposition from faculty, promised greater openness and transparency going forward. He made this pledge in the presence of a large gathering of faculty; then he promptly receded behind his curtain even further than before, pulling levers, issuing pronouncements, making dishonest statements like these remarks, and pouring Kool-Aid for our Trustees. Mr. Garvey seems to prefer his own alternate reality, a universe in which he, of course, is the center, where he seems adept at keeping certain Trustees in happy and unknowing orbit.

Jude Nitsche May 4, 2018 Reply

Dear Friends of CUA –

If you have not already read it, I thought that you would be interested in the transcript of the talk that President Garvey gave to the CUA faculty yesterday – it is appended below.

Given all the turmoil that exists at CUA these days, I can’t imagine how painful it must have been for many CUA faculty members to sit through Garvey’s dreamland talk.

Garvey painted such a rosy picture that it seems clear that he either doesn’t read what the Washington Post, numerous Catholic publications, the CUA Tower student newspaper and NPR are reporting about Provost Abela’s so-called “Proposal for Academic Renewal” and its impact on faculty morale – or maybe, God forbid, he just doesn’t care.

If you can reach President Garvey and Provost Abela directly, please do so and suggest that he visit the “Save Catholic University” website (https://savecatholic.com/) with the hope that they review what the loyal opposition are saying.

I was especially struck by Garvey’s comment that, “The Board of Trustees (which approves both tuition and budget) has insisted that CUA behave in a fiscally prudent manner.”

Fiscally responsible? Seriously?

In that regard, the same someone should ask Garvey if it Is it fiscally responsible to:
(1) Increase the UG acceptance rate to 80% and still claim that CUA is a “selective” university – goodness, who do they reject?
(2) Increase the tuition discount rate to something on the order of 42% – is this a business strategy designed to make it up on volume?
(3) Grossly over-pay CUA’s senior administrators while way under-paying the faculty?

Given (3), it takes a lot of gaul for Garvey to refer to CUA’s tenure track faculty as “CUA’s most precious resource”. He went on to say that the “faculty are the most important people in our students’ lives; ultimately they stay because you are teaching them.”

Garvey should have added, “And in recognition of your essential contributions to CUA, we plan to over-work and under-pay you and to give you a medal and maybe a luncheon for your contributions.

On the one hand, I am happy about CUA’s plans for a new student dining facility and improvements to dorms and athletic facilities and new walkways and flowers.

But in the context of being fiscally responsible, I was very disappointed to not read anything specific about how CUA plans to invest in its revenue-generating schools and departments.

In that regard, I certainly hope that the Engineering and the Nursing buildings do not collapse in old age while Nero fiddles with the Koch Brothers and their focus on the Business School…..

Bottom Line – If Garvey’s presentation is the story that CUA’s Board of Trustees will be hearing in June, then, in my opinion, it does not bode well for the future of CUA.

However, I am not giving up. I feel a great debt of gratitude for what I gained from my CUA experience and I really want to help the organization prosper and help others.

Helping CUA in a responsible way is sure not easy. But I don’t want to keep making annual donations that are wasted.

Bottom line – if you really care about CUA, let your voices be heard – contact CUA’s Board of Trustees (BOT) members directly.

Don’t just complain to the BOT about Garvey and Abela.

Instead, offer some quantitative suggestions that will enable CUA to reclaim its lost reputation as a leading research university in spite of Garvey and Abela.

(1) Show a business plan that demonstrates the potential revenue gains that CUA could achieve by adding (not removing) tenure-track faculty that have the time and capability to win Government-sponsored R&D grant and contracts.

(2) Suggest that the top 25 highest paid CUA administrators be put on performance incentives – 50% regular salary and the other 50% depending on their achieving their specific goals.

By the way, Joe Carlinni is the current Chairman of the CUA BOT and he is a graduate of CUA in Mechanical Engineering.

He can be reached at jcarlini@mckean-defense.com.

Sincerely,

Jude Nitsche, Private Citizen and CUA Alumnus
BSME, 1963 and MME, 1965
__________________________________

President Garvey’s Remarks at the
May 1, 2018 Faculty Luncheon
INTRODUCTION
This has been a year of significant growth and change. For the third year in a row our Advancement team has had a banner year. Today is the May 1 deposit deadline and Undergraduate Admission appears to be closing in on its first-year enrollment target of 835 students. Graduate enrollment, though it continues past May 1, is well ahead of last year. We have in progress, or in view, about $200 million in construction and reconstruction. And you and the Provost have been working at an important plan for Academic Renewal.

ACADEMIC RENEWAL
Let me begin with the last project, since it is on many people’s minds. I would like to make two points, one about the genesis of the effort, the other about the design.

In the big picture our undergraduate enrollment has been fairly steady. The 15-year average is 832 students. The 5-year average is 825. Last year we enrolled 831. This year we are closing in on a target of 835. In recent years graduate and Law School enrollments have been falling. While our undergraduate enrollments have been generally steady, our costs have gone up. We compensate somewhat with tuition increases and unrestricted giving. But in the long run we need to grow our population.

While we work at this, the Board of Trustees (which approves both tuition and budget) has insisted that we behave in a fiscally prudent manner. In 2014 the Finance Committee asked me to make $10 million in cuts in the academic area by 2018. We are still $3.5 million short of that goal.

Other parts of the University have borne their share of the burden. You will recall the staff layoffs we made three years ago. In the three most recent fiscal years my office and the VP for Finance have reduced our budgets more than any other sector of the University. This has paid off. Current projections for FY18 indicate a slight positive margin. We have drafted a balanced budget for FY19.

I don’t want to get too far afield from Academic Renewal, but I need to add one more point. The board and I agree that in addition to reducing expenses we need to make investments that grow our revenue. No one ever cut themselves out of a financial bind. In the last three years we have made significant investments in Enrollment Management, Advancement, Graduate Enrollment and Recruiting, and initiatives to improve retention. These are starting to pay off.

Let me return now to the second point I want to make about Academic Renewal. I am pleased and proud of the spirit in which the effort has been pursued. And I want to compliment the Provost on the thought that has gone into it. The board’s Academic Affairs Committee is fully apprised of the plan and shares my good opinion.

The plan has three features that make us better, not just more prudent. First, it finds the necessary economies without cutting any school, department, program, or course. The Faculty Handbook would permit that sort of amputation (along with the attendant faculty layoffs), and we have done so in the past. But this plan is more tailored and modest. I have heard some concern about the effect even this focused plan will have on tenured faculty. But in the proposed reduction of 35 faculty, as of this morning only 5 or 6 are tenured positions, and we are working to get that to zero if at all possible.

And best of all, from the students’ perspective, this is actually a change for the better. The second feature I like about the plan is that it puts our best teachers in front of students more often. The proposal to meet the Faculty Handbook’s 3-3 norm for course loads in undergraduate and professional schools and departments means that we will devote our most precious resource, our tenure-track faculty, to educating our students. As a parent, I can’t think of a better reason for enrolling my child here.

Third, the plan calls for enhancing our research reputation as well as our teaching — by growing grant funding, renovating laboratories and performance spaces, and improving support for faculty and student research.

I know that the Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee and the Provost continue to meet, in the strong hope that we will come to a consensus on the plan to bring to the Senate on May 9. I want to thank the members here for their work.

ADVANCEMENT
I said that in addition to reducing expenses we were investing in several parts of the enterprise that generate revenue. Let me speak first about Advancement, where the results have been particularly gratifying.

Here is a look at the University’s fundraising results over the past dozen years.

As you can see, we were fluctuating in the $12M-$18M range when I arrived in FY11.
We began to get on our feet in FY14. In FY16 we made a major investment in our operation, and began planning a comprehensive campaign that will run through FY22.

We are still in the quiet phase of that campaign, and are off to an excellent start. The Advancement team is working with the deans of our schools to refine their priorities and build their prospect pipelines. This year we will be wrapping up the messaging and case development for the campaign, and getting a more refined sense about what our goal should be. This fall Advancement will convene a faculty working group. We plan to launch publicly in 2019.

People often ask how these efforts relate to the operating budget, and with projects like the Academic Renewal, which seem concerned with economizing at a time when our fundraising is growing. Here is a picture of the money we raised this year, and where it goes.

Notice first that most of the money goes to support the academic enterprise — endowed chairs ($13M), scholarships ($17M), programs ($7M) — and another $10M is unrestricted. This is why we are working with deans and faculty to prepare for the campaign, and the result of that work. Theology and Religious Studies this year raised more than $10M to endow professorships and academic centers. Nursing got a gift of $13M for scholarships.

So why doesn’t all this money relieve the strain on the operating budget? Two reasons. First, gifts for endowments and capital projects can’t be spent in the operating budget. Endowments give us 4.5%/year to spend once they are up and running, and on a $1M gift that’s $45,000. $6M given for a new dining hall has to be spent on the dining hall.

Second, gifts are counted in a campaign in the year they are pledged, but we don’t have all the money in hand yet. So a five-year pledge of $250,000 for a scholarship or a particular program gets counted this year, but only gives us $50,000 to spend. Advancement results are significantly better than they have ever been, and are a good picture of the future, but alone they don’t solve all of the current budget issues.

Speaking of the future, I want to say a last word about annual giving this year. My thanks to those of you who participated in the Founders’ Day Challenge. 1,786 people gave that day, and we raised $726,702 in one day. 200 of those were University faculty and staff, 10.5% more than last year. Our annual fund is now approaching $2M, and our participation rate has finally climbed into double digits. The most enthusiastic participants have been our students. More than 40% of them have made a gift to the University. By commencement we hope to reach 50%.

Our investment to increase outreach and giving opportunities is building a larger base of annual donors and a culture of giving (especially among our younger alumni), which will help build revenue for our operating budget over time. While we still have a long way to go on alumni giving participation, the percentage point increase over the past three years is an encouraging sign.

ENROLLMENT
For all the success we have lately had in advancement, we are still largely a tuition-driven university. Two-thirds of our annual operating budget comes from tuition and auxiliary services. We watch enrollment figures very carefully. So does the Board of Trustees. The Finance Committee gets regular reports from our VP for Enrollment Management. Last fall the board created its own Ad Hoc Committee on Enrollment to study our performance.

There are three important things to look at in measuring enrollment: new freshmen, retention (freshman to sophomore, and sophomore to junior), and graduate enrollment.

1. Let me begin with new freshmen, since that’s the number everyone focuses on. As I said earlier, our target this year is 835, and we appear to be closing in on it. So far, we have 6% more deposits from honors students than last year. Quite a few students have extensions as they try to make finances work. The counseling staff is also managing our wait list. We are also on track with our financial aid expense target.

In my first four years as President we devoted our attention to shrinking the admit rate (which meant denying more applications). We wanted to get down into the 50’s, and by 2013 we were nearly there, at 60.1%. The long-term strategy was to improve our perceived standing, student quality, and market position.

We altered that strategy when the market changed four years ago. In 2015 we hired Chris Lydon and since then we have focused on growing our pool and our class. I mentioned earlier that we have invested in Enrollment Management over the past three years. These investments, like those in Advancement, take time to mature.
We began reaching out to high school sophomores. This will have its first impact in Fall 2019. But through April 1, interest among these students (now high school juniors) looking at Fall 2019 was 20% ahead of last year.
We began bringing school guidance counselors to campus, 135 so far. In November we will host our 5th event in three years.
We expanded our travel to Latin America. This year we got 98 applications, a 30% increase in two years.
We expanded recruitment in the south and west to connect with Hispanic/Latino population, and added 2 bilingual professionals. Applications from Hispanic students are up 20% from three years ago.
Perhaps most important, we created a division of Marketing and Communications, developed a new website, created a social media strategy, and grew media relations activities.
2. One of our successes that has been sneaking up on us since 2010 is the growth in our retention rate. Only 79.83% of the freshman class returned in 2010 as sophomores. Our most recent freshman to sophomore retention rate was 86.58%, the highest in more than 20 years. And our freshman to junior (78.65%) and freshman to senior (76.51%) rates were the highest in our history

Here’s an idea of what this means. The difference between a 79% and an 86% retention rate is the same as the difference between a class of 850 and a class of 900.

Mike Allen and our Student Affairs staff contributed a lot to this improvement. We are intervening earlier with students who have difficulties adjusting to college. We offer more and better programs and activities in the residence halls and across campus. We are facilitating earlier and more frequent career guidance which has a positive impact on the value proposition for students. We have created the Center for Cultural Engagement to support underrepresented minority students. We now do a freshmen exit survey that allows late intervention for students who are considering not returning. And we have a talented and engaged coaching staff that supports our student-athlete population.

3. Among our graduate programs, master’s level enrollment is most significant for revenue purposes. This has gone up and down, but since 2014 it has trended down. That year we had 659 new students. In 2016 we had 483. But we have been steadily improving and I’d like to recognize Steve Brown for his excellent work in this area. Compared to this time last year we are up 51% in deposits (74 more), led by Metro, Business, and Canon Law.

CONSTRUCTION AND RECONSTRUCTION
I want to say a few words about construction projects. Let me begin with why we are focused on the things we have chosen. There is a lot of building and rebuilding we need to do — far more than we can afford. We ask two questions to help us set our schedule of priorities. First, how will we pay for it? Second, what will it contribute to growing enrollment?

Here are some examples of the first. We are spending $60M in borrowed funds to rebuild out utility system and improve HVAC, waterproofing, and fire safety. We chose this project because careful study by Constellation Energy showed that we could save more than $2M a year by making the improvements and pay back our loan in 23 years.

We are rebuilding Maloney Hall because we raised $18M of the renovation costs in gifts from the Busch School board.

We ask the second question because the thing we need to do most urgently is grow our enrollment, particularly our undergraduate enrollment. Over the past three years we have invested a good deal in professional advice about several facets of this — our price elasticity, student housing and dining, and sports and recreation. All our studies have told us that we are not competitive in the things prospective students look at: especially housing, dining, recreation, common space, and laboratories. Improving our marketing is important, and we are working on it. But at best that gets students to campus. It doesn’t help improve our yield.

I don’t want to review everything we are working on. Let me just mention a few that may be of interest to you.

1. Inhabitants of Caldwell will have noticed the foundation work we did this spring ($1M). We have put back grass because this summer we will begin design for restoring and replacing the windows ($2M-$2.5M). We’ve restored the wainscoting and floors on the first floor, and the Happel Room is about finished ($.5M). Caldwell is the last stop on Phase 1 of the new utilities system. We won’t reach it until 2019.

2. Speaking of the new utilities system, you will notice one immediate aesthetic benefit this summer. We are going to grade and landscape the entrance from the Metro and the road up past Gowan and Pangborn. It will be permanently closed to vehicular traffic.

Go online some time and have a look at the campus Master Plan (http://masterplan.cua.edu/). It calls for making the campus more walkable and beautiful. In time we want to close most of the interior roads and parking lots to cars, make the roads narrower, with paving stones rather than asphalt and concrete, and shade them with trees. This is a first step.

3. In December we will finish renovating Maloney Hall, the new home of the Busch School. The renovation will remove a lot of interior walls and low ceilings, and give us about 60,000 square feet of new academic space. We are adding an extra floor on top by doubling the number of dormers. Here are some artist’s renderings of gathering and classroom space, and the renovated auditorium, which we have not been able to use for many years. This building, like the other academic buildings we hope to bring online during the campaign, will be heavily funded by philanthropy.

4. At the end of January we announced an anonymous gift that will enable us to build a new dining hall. We have chosen an architect (Perkins Eastman). It will go on the north end of the quad defined by the Pryz and the Law School. Here is the idea.

As you can see, the plan will require the removal of Magner Hall. One benefit of doing this is that the new dining hall will solve the problem of getting up and down the hill from Centennial Village. Design, permitting, and construction will probably take about two years. Construction next spring, open fall 2020.

There are other projects that our campaign planning will undoubtedly add — a science building and labs, a new athletic field, a recreation building, a new residence hall. In moving on each we will be asking the same two questions I mentioned at the outset — how will we pay for it, and what will it do to grow our enrollment?

CONCLUSION
I want to close by thanking you all for the parts you have played in all these efforts. Each of you is an ambassador for the University, a recruiter, a spokesperson, and an advocate. Many of you have been actively involved in the Academic Renewal project. Many of you have given generously to the Annual Fund for Catholic University and encouraged your former students to do the same. Others of you hosted students visiting on Odyssey Day. Still others have helped develop a much more efficient system for processing graduate applications. I mentioned the work Student Life has done to grow our retention rate. But faculty are the most important people in our students’ lives; ultimately they stay because you are teaching them.

Thank you all very much for what you are doing to make this a great university.

Anonymous May 4, 2018 Reply

I am a CUA alumni and a tenured faculty member in a different institution. I strongly oppose the academic renewal plan. This plan represents yet another attempt to impose a model of governing consistent with that of a business onto an academic institution. Implementing the plans’ proposal will, probably, balance the budget and, thus, will solve the immediate problem in front of the leadership. They seem to fail to recognize, however, the lasting damage this decision will make to the CUA foundation – the faculty. It will become very difficult to attract new talent. The tenure process will lose its significance, since from that point on, it will be understood to be a subject of annual budget constraints. There are multiple mechanisms to raise money for the university, including outreach to wealthy alumni and the Catholic Church. The leadership should focus their efforts on rectifying the current financial problems through these mechanisms.

FH May 4, 2018 Reply

As a two-time graduate and former employee, this situation breaks my heart. CUA gave me an excellent education and helped me to form lifetime attachments, both personal and professional. The proposal will only further damage the University until it’s beyond redemption. Please save our beloved CUA

Former CUA Employee May 4, 2018 Reply

I am chilled in part because so much of what’s happening now has been in the works for years. I left the university just a few years back, but I recall vividly how many actions then clearly set the stage for the present set of proposals. Garvey has no desire to work with the campus community at large, the faculty least of all. His position has been consistent and demoralizing nearly from his first days. His periodic addresses to faculty have always smacked of “perfunctory,” and he has never shown a willingness to engage in cooperative action. Instead, those who speak with a different viewpoint are marginalized, demoted, fired, or a combination thereof. And like-minded sycophants, like Abela, are empowered to realize his narrow-minded and un-academic vision. It’s patently obvious that Garvey has never had the chops to be a first-class university president; instead, he shows himself to be a low-minded narcissist who wants to be SEEN as more Catholic than his priest predecessor all while acting quite un-Christian himself. And that’s ultimately what all of this is about: himself. I’m disgusted.

Anonymous May 4, 2018 Reply

As a former faculty member, this breaks my heart. I believe that much of the responsibility, here, lies squarely with John Garvey, who turned the University into a self-serving ideological experiment, and with the sycophantic administrators who surrounded him.

Ironically, when Garvey came, he seemed focused on improving academic quality. At some point early on, he apparently decided that academic excellence was out of his reach, and so he focused his energies on culture war issues–especially “pelvic issues.”

Administrators would do well to take their advice from the hippocratic oath: “first, do no harm.”

Sara Grant May 3, 2018 Reply

Undergrad alum from 90’s. And I looked back fondly on the school over the years and the great liberal arts education I received. Now as a senior manager in IT (yes with a BA in English from CUA) I think what really was advantageous for my future career was the mentoring from faculty. How sad to see beloved CUA embroiled in a mess! Preventable? Yes!

Anonymous May 3, 2018 Reply

My voice is not part of a “vocal minority.” It is part of a silent majority with few opportunities to speak out and an ever-growing fear of reprisal for doing so.

Save Catholic May 3, 2018 Reply

The mission of this website is to provide a platform for that silent majority. Please take a look at our Responses & Resolutions page, which has some new documents that include surveys of the entire campus community and responses from numerous departments and schools. Thank you.

Anonymous May 3, 2018 Reply

There are several issues that need to be resolved in the University. The low wages are insulting for living in this area. How can a person live in this area by living at the wage one gets at CUA. Is it abiding with Catholic ideologies to provide such low wages. I cannot even pay my rent, or bills, and food, I will be getting evicted soon and I am in a high position in this University and I do not live in a high income area. I feel like I am not appreciated for all the contributions I have made so many years of my life here. Please become more aware of each person’s needs who works here help the CUA community who give so much of themselves.

Anonymous May 3, 2018 Reply

This is very true! The faculty here are paid much lower than those in comparable institutes (with little or no raise in recent years) but the earning of CUA higher administration is jumping and now well aligned with peers. The fact is that the failing performance comes from the higher administration but not faculty. The faculty is stretched to do multiple tasks with minimum staff. In peer institutes they have strong staff team so faculty can focus on research. Sad.

Anonymous May 3, 2018 Reply

I was not given an approx 1% merit raise b/c I happened to go up for promotion the year we received the pay raise. The Provost refused to give me the raise even though it was a merit raise and it amounted to about an extra 40 dollars a month for me. Of course in the years prior people in my dept were promoted, and b/c it wasn’t the year we received the 1%, they got the raise. I’m already paid at below market rate, and this man makes a great deal of money. 40 dollars a month!

Anonymous May 3, 2018 Reply

As admin support staff, I could barely pay rent! And, no TIAA match for employees under the age of 26. It was unfair and eventually, unsustainable.

Anonymous May 4, 2018 Reply

I have been at the University for many years. As a faculty member with young children it is extremely difficult to support my family on my current salary. Many faculty members have to have alternative streams of revenue because we have received very few “cost of living” increases in the last five years–much less any “merit pay” that makes a difference. I choose to stay at the University because I love what I do. What I don’t understand is how the senior administration can sleep at night knowing that the faculty and staff is severely underpaid. How is this just? And, how does this uphold any Catholic virtues?

Anonymous May 5, 2018 Reply

I am in a position in academic support that requires two masters degrees. I live a modest life, with a modest apartment in Montgomery County. Yet, my salary still has me living paycheck to paycheck. Similar jobs with *less* responsibilities around town all pay $10-$15k more.

So when I am asked to “give back” to the University…laughable and insulting. I am not paid enough to be charitable! I want the University to succeed, but I also need to take care of myself.

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

Why don’t you take a position elsewhere, then? Everyone makes choices; you are free to stay at CUA, and you are free to go elsewhere. There are benefits and drawbacks to both. Similar positions elsewhere won’t necessarily involve the same amount of time off (2 plus weeks at Christmas, half a week Thanksgiving, another half week at Easter, plus all federal and major Catholic holidays off). If you have the skill, talent, and educational background to succeed elsewhere, then you should take advantage of that. Don’t complain about your “modest” life in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the country.

Law Grad Anonymous May 3, 2018 Reply

I am a law grad from the mid-1970’s. I haven’t had much contact with the law school in decades. The articles and this web site remind me why that is so.

When I attended, the law school under Dean Clinton Bamberger took some very progressive positions. For example, Bamberger encouraged women applicants. It was was one of the first, if not the first, to equalize men and women in is student body.

The student body was very eclectic,and certainly no more than half Catholic. There was an emphasis on clinical work, legal aid and public interest law. One third of the graduates in my class went on into these areas of practice.

Some years later, the law school publicly began describing itself as a “Catholic” Law School. Well of course, it is. But from the names of invited speakers and from hires, it became clear that this meant “conservative, Republican,” and most definitely not the “Catholic Worker” kind of Catholic.

Needless to say, a lot of us lost interest. We don’t visit, we don’ give money. Not arguing with the school’s right to set its agenda, but I’m just making a point: if the Provost’s current plan is motivated by a desire to make the University ideologically pure, and to move it further into an ultra-conservative mode, don’t expect to retain the loyalty of those of us who cherish other Catholic traditions and a public interest that is not always in line with the Bishop’s or Opus Dei.

Firing faculty to make up for a loss of enrollment strikes me as a poor way to solve a larger problem.

Thank you, faculty and students, for this web site. It is in the best tradition of a good liberal arts education. I hope you can right the ship before she founders.

A Concerned Community Member May 3, 2018 Reply

As a member of the university community – having served as a faculty member and a staff member – I repeatedly hear from students who feel alienated because they were not raised in the catholic tradition. These students chose CUA because they wanted to pursue an available program of study or because they were seeking a strong research-based university experience in DC. Now that they are here, they feel isolated and unwelcome. CUA is exacerbating its enrollment problems by clinging to an overarching message of “catholic identity.” This message is driving away new students from all faith traditions, including Catholic students. They are here to learn, to engage, and to grow. Instead, their educational experience is suffering as staff and faculty are laid off due to budget concerns. If CUA’s leadership is concerned with providing catholic values as part of a CUA education, I encourage them to look at making small cuts to their own salaries and perks. This action could improve the student experience, faculty and staff job security and foster a spirit of community and collegiality. I encourage the Board of Trustees to preserve CUA as a university, a research institution, and as a community of scholars, staff and faculty.

Anonymous May 3, 2018 Reply

The Administration pay scale in 2016 shows a further break from the faculty pay scale, a trend that can be seen to a lesser extent in the 2011 pay scale. This is happening across all of higher education, where the Administration are no longer seen as academic colleagues but as managers as a business providing a product to the university customers—its undergraduate students.

Another lesson can be drawn from the $1.3M increase in Administrative pay and the $45,000 that President Garvey cites as the contribution to the operating budget from a $1M gift to the University. That $1.3M pay increase requires a roughly $30M increase in university fundraising. A graph Garvey used in discussing fundraising with the faculty shows an increase of roughly $40M between 2011 and 2016.

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

While I appreciate the gravity of the situation, and I think it is a great service that the academic faculty and the staff, students and alumni joining them are doing by actively engaging and countering the proposed changes, it is disappointing that the bad press will negatively affect the school further. The same people whose salaries are posted on this site won’t suffer (Persico is retired so theres no consequence there..) But, the students who are trying to study for their exams, the professors who are now afraid for their status as employees, and the alumni who worked hard and DO give back will suffer. I do hope for a solution. I am a young alumnus and really worry that the quality of my degree will be decreased (long before I pay my student loans off) because of what is happening right now at the University, and enrollment will continue to decline. I love my school, it made me the person I am today, but this is just incredibly sad.

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

The elephant in the room is that the Koch Brothers have promised CUA tens of millions of dollars if the university changes its mission. And the university is dramatically changing its mission.

Anonymous May 3, 2018 Reply

Bingo!! How very sad that money has to be the determining force!!!

David Dewane May 2, 2018 Reply

I was a full-time junior faculty member at CUA for several years and have a few CUA alums in my family. I firmly believe in the potentials of this university, but am filled with sadness and frustration when I think about the state of the school.
CUA has incredible advantages. Take a step back and think about the three nouns in the school’s name: CATHOLIC: 1.29 billion person social network focussed (presumably) on emulating the example of Christ; UNIVERSITY: seat of higher learning in midst of information age; AMERICA: country driving world’s culture, economics, and innovation. Plus, it has a 100+ year history, huge alumni population, and is located in one of the great cities in America.
What continues to frustrate me is CUA’s inability to benefit from these gifts. The school hardly takes advantage of the broad Catholic network outside the historic interstate corridor funning from DC to Boston. Imagine if CUA’s student and faculty population was a microcosm of the global church? In terms of thought leadership, the university could add a social and ecological element emphasis to all its programs in the spirit of Laudato si’. The world needs it.
From my experience on campus for several years, in almost no way does the school take advantage of being in DC. There is a shunning of anyone who has taken a pro-choice position, which is a huge percentage of the incredible talent pool living in or passing through DC. The Pope calls us to build on what we have in common – desire to end poverty, fight sickness, promote justice, build a society that works for as many as possible – rather than obsess over our differences. I don’t want to undermine the pro-life position (being pro-life myself), but I talk to and work with people all day, everyday who are pro-choice. This is the reality of living in 2018.
CUA remains a shockingly 20th century university in a rapidly transforming 21st century. In times of great change there are winners and losers. Those that thrive are able to be agile and innovate. Those individuals or institutions that don’t will suffer. CUA is not leading the conversation in any significant way. The main times it shows up in any newsworthy way is in Washington Post reporting a scandal or contraction, which then makes the rounds on social media. Everyone wrings their hands.
In my view, the most visible problem is Garvey and his leadership, which I equate to the style of Pope Benedict. He (and I guess by extension the Trustees who keep him there) choose to focused on Catholic dogma even if it means a smaller tent of true believers. What I think the CUA needs a leader in the spirit of Pope Francis, who is a profound translation of Christianity in the 21st century: service to the poor, compassionate care for our ecology, steadfast suspicion of power and wealth over individual human dignity.
I’ve moved on from CUA but happy to help anyone, including the present administration, interested in making a real effort at radically reforming this university. It’s worth it.

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

I was lucky enough to teach there under such a leader in the 80’s and early 90’s, the Jesuit Fr. William Byron, S.J.. The “Benedict Option” may work for a place like Christendom College, but it will kill this once-great, now-floundering American research university.

Anonymous May 7, 2018 Reply

Hear, hear, David Dewane! You’ve summed up the issues beautifully.

It will be a sad outcome of the current controversy if the Administration concedes on the involuntary termination of tenured faculty, and the faculty accept this as a victory. Sure, the principle of tenure will have been saved, but the opportunity for a serious conversation about academic renewal will have been missed.

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

I am a 2013 graduate of Catholic University. I now work in academia as tenure-track faculty in a faith-based four year university in California. I am invested in academia in general, in Christian education in particular, and in CUA as an alumnus. I vigorously reject the principles and actions of the current administration. I will continue to vocally and unflinchingly support the faculty and students of CUA, who truly make up the heart of the school and who in fact carry out the education and spiritual mission daily. I will vote against administrators who do not respect that constituency and who act in their own interest against the interests of tenured faculty. I will vote with my money–of which CUA will not see a dime while this kind of anti-faculty sentiment continues–and I will vote with my voice. I hope that the trustees and stakeholders of this school see the importance of rejecting the so-called “renewal” currently proposed. I’m praying for CUA.

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

I am a Catholic University graduate student in a program that exists only at Catholic and 6 other universities in the country. While the number of students in my program is small, this program and university have been an incredibly beautiful experience for me. I have met the most amazing people, namely the faculty and staff. This proposal, however, is a huge disgrace to everything that this university stands for. How can a president and provost, who claim to be “pro-life” Catholics, justify making over $1 million together, while clearly not doing their jobs well and THEN forcing numerous faculty to go into unemployment? This is hypocrisy at its worst. “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing anything good” (Titus 1:16). I hope that the Board of Trustees will vote against this despicable proposal, and instead find productive ways to get this university back on its feet.

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

The current direction of our university is determined by external donors with publicly stated political agendas, donors who see themselves as part of the academic leadership. As a faculty member who deeply cares about this university, our students, and academic freedom, I find this frightening. Please see the following quote (especially the second paragraph) from
https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/koch-turkson-speak-catholic-universitys-good-profit-conference:

“We’re in a very hostile environment, we know, as a faith, and unfortunately it all starts about 10 minutes from this building in the U.S. capital,” he said at the outset. “We have a government that is very hostile to Catholic teaching, especially on social issues,” he said, “and we can’t allow that to change our lives or our lifestyle, and for that matter to change our whole nation, we’ve got to turn it back to the principles it was founded on, Christian principles.” He cast Catholic University as “our perennial partner” in the cause.

In introducing Koch, whom he described as an inspiration, Busch said the “nearly $50 million” gift that he and Koch helped arrange had “reenergized the Catholic University of America. We made it great again. We are the Catholic University of America and we have educated half of the bishops in this country.

“We can be the teaching pulpit for the American church, but also the teaching pulpit for the Vatican and for the global church,” he said, without distinguishing whether he was referring to the Napa Institute, the university or both. “We can be that. And we will be that going forward, especially on the issues and topics of business.”

Bryan May 2, 2018 Reply

Would it be possible to put social media links on the website so that it’s more
easily shared and your campaign amplified?

Save Catholic May 2, 2018 Reply

Yes. We are (as of only recently) on Twitter: @savecatholic, and we will put up a link on the website shortly.

Another Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

Catholic University has failed to broaden its customer base beyond a narrow spectrum: Catholic high school students in the north eastern United States. The reason for this is unclear though many speculate that it is either ignorance or a deliberate decision to recruit only a specific Catholic demographic. Colleagues of mine at other similar sized universities across the country have expanded their recruiting efforts in Asia and South America. The faculty asked the president to do this several years ago but apparently it was ignored. So like any CEO who did not anticipate and plan for new markets and new products, our Provost and president are responsible for the lower enrollments. At Ford, Apple, or other businesses, low sales, no new marketing initiatives and no new products would result in the CEOs removal.

Sara Grant May 3, 2018 Reply

I’m from Boston, went to CUA and graduated in ‘95. Came back to Boston for my career . “My Catholic” back then was a gem of a liberal arts university tucked away in a large city. It was open to all – especially to those average kids who wanted a decent undergrad experience in an awesome city. I didn’t get the bug to do “service” but I was kind and friendly and I loved my school. I felt like I belonged. Now? Not so much. CUA needs to rethink the way they are recruiting. They are isolating kids like me. Bring us back. We will come.

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

As I am reading these posts, I am still attempting to understand the idea of tenured faculty being fired.

On the CUA website, the faculty handbook (2016) still states that “tenure” means job security unless a department is abolished. Has the policy been changed legally? If so, can someone post the new CUA policy that would allow for tenured faculty to be fired.

Another anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

According to a presentation by the Ad Hoc committee, the Provost and University attorneys have found a loophole in the Faculty Handbook. Also, the Provost himself stated tha tenure does not mean job security

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

What is the loophole? What page in the Faculty Handbook can this loophole be found?

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

Call For Action: The president made references to the tenured faculty “layoffs” as well as the faculty handbook during his speech May 1.

Provost Abela, President Garvey–please share with us the loophole you found in the faculty handbook. Transparency is key.

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

As a staff member, many aspects of the proposal distress me. Additionally, I am disheartened to see that members of the administration have received extensive raises over the years, when our own salaries do not match those of comparable universities. Moreover, as someone who works in student support services, I find it frustrating that my budget has been scaled back, which makes it more difficult to properly equip students with the appropriate services they deserve. How does it make sense for the administration to get a raise when the money could be better used to serve the students, who should be at the crux of the university’s mission. My annual budget would fit into the raise of just one member of the administration. When the students’ need aren’t put first, we’ve totally gone astray.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

I am a teacher, and I learned so much at CUA. How can I recommend CUA to my students now if they plan on cutting the quality of their education? CUA will be losing future students.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

I loved going to school here as an undergraduate many years ago. I am now an academic at another university in the area. My co workers are gossiping about the sad state CUA has found itself in since the leadership change several years ago. Our reputation as an institution of higher learning will be in taters before long. I hope we can stop this decline before it’s too late.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

It is not clear how tenured faculty can be fired. Upon asking it has come to my attention that Catholic University has changed tenure policy. Is it true that the policy has changed to remove job security and to only include academic freedom? If so is there documentation and was it shared with the faculty?

It is my understanding that the policy for tenure has changed. Does anybody have the documentation that shows the new policy for tenure. I am understanding that the idea of job permanency has been taken away so that it only focuses on academic freedom.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

I am an alum and very disappointed to hear this news. I don’t have the time or energy to prepare a fuller response, but top officials should be ashamed if they are focused on enriching themselves over the mission, other staff, and current and prospective students. It is not following in the example of Jesus in the least.

The education I received was excellent. May this academic tradition be able to continue under leadership worthy of the institution.

Publius May 1, 2018 Reply

While the research on this website is what I expect of a research university, aside from the vitriol and finger pointing, I see no concrete solutions being offered. If not the Academic Renewal program, than what does SaveCatholic.com propose the university should do to meet course requirements and the economic shortcomings? You can’t hire adjuncts because there’s no money. So you are left with tenured faculty. Tenured faculty don’t want to teach the 3:3 load because they want to research. That’s a cop-out for your students. What about them? If you attained tenure, or even Assistant Professorship, you should be able to manage your time to allow both your passions, teaching the future and researching/writing. There’s no reason you can’t do both. This is a difficult time for the university, but aside from yelling, you are not proposing solutions. And isn’t that what got us all here in the first place? You didn’t fight the staff layoffs in 2015. I know. I was there. Professors talked big game, but the talk is only so big when your comfort is threatened. You are doing it again. You want to teach less than 3:3 and “research.” You don’t actually want to see your students through their PhD degrees in a timely fashion because that would mean losing your TAs, who do a brunt of what your contract states. So, again I ask, how do you propose to “Save Catholic” when you don’t want to do any of the hard work required?

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

Clearly you have never taught a college course if you are deluded enough to think one can teach three and do research. My experience is teaching one course detracts greatly from research productivity.

Another anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

A professor’s duty goes beyond teaching, it REQUIRES research and REQUIRES service. These requirement are not only mandated by the university itself but are required for merit pay increases and promotions after tenure. Moreover professors at the University are those who help maintain and develop the university’s overall curricular mission. They are vested members of the community. Academic freedom is not just teaching what you want to teach, but challenging and promoting varied points of view in terms of how we might educate. Not teaching more classes is not the point. As you might’ve guessed, I’m a CUA professor. I teach 2 to 3 classes a semester and the remainder of my 40 hours of work are dedicated to required publishing and service. I will tell you one thing: my colleagues and I work more than 40 hours a week just to do what we have to do. Who will pursue advancements in the fields of study and perform necessary service once we are gone? Oh, by the way, those who are not fired this year will be fired soon enough. Once the tenure is removed, then it’s going to be very easy to get rid of anyone else they want to.

Anonymous May 2, 2018 Reply

Research, as the previous commenter pointed out, is an explicit job requirement, not a “passion.” But in terms of the division of time and energy, one of the issues at stake at CUA is that the institution’s research aspirations outstrip its infrastructure. At a well-endowed R1 university, regular teaching loads might be 2-2 or (more likely) 2-1. But that R1 is likely to have larger staff, more tech and office support, and more subdivided student services. At CUA these functions tend to overflow from one job description to another, which means that basic DIY workflow eats up a good deal of faculty time.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

Catholic University of America is where I founded my purpose in life and my husband. Here I am, 12 years later, using my education to reach and teach the students America.

As I was leaving CUA I was already appalled at some of the things that were occurring. During my tenure at CUA my tuition was raised 4 to $5,000 per year, while my living quarters were torn apart due to asbestos. Somehow the Financial aid I received my first few years went “missing” a number of times, until I produced paperwork to prove the mistakes of the office. It was obvious thrn that CUA didn’t care about their students, only the bottom line.

When I graduated I had $120,000 worth of debt. I still have 80,000 of that debt to be paid, and I wonder what did they use that money for?

They didn’t put that money back into the school I attended as the building is still falling apart with rooms that are in such disrepair they are un-usable while students and staff members get increasingly sick every year because of exposure to dangerous molds and toxic materials.

Based upon what I’ve heard from recent graduates, and for my own experience, I have no desire to put any more money into the school until they fix the problems that they themselves have created. At this point if I won the lottery I would give all of my money to Hood graduate school because at least I see they put their money where their mouth was.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

CUA has been my home for the past 8 years while I worked on my doctorate. The changes have been astounding and heartbreaking. My home is no longer recognizable.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

Has anyone divined what a “global Catholic research university” is even supposed to mean? If anything at all? The university has been courting students with a promise of elaborate study abroad opportunities while simultaneously making massive cuts to the available programs. They seem to want students to do (cheaper for CUA) exchanges with other Catholic universities, whether or not these foreign universities have a designated office/staff to welcome students, help advise and place them in classes, and/or offer them the appropriate ongoing support during the semester.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

As a PhD candidate who did his MA here, I’ve been disheartened to see CUA transition away from a Catholic institution that valued research, debate, and diverse positions.

The Administration, and Garvey in particular, espouse a strange Evangelical-like Catholic fundamentalism that is antithetical to the faith’s tradition of inquiry and study that stretch back well over a millennium.

A fundamental Catholic drive, the search for the truth, was a foundational value for the University. The transition to a virtue-signaling cultural Catholicism and the preference for ideological scholars instead of accomplished ones is a radical departure from our history.

If I had chosen a graduate school in 2014 instead of 2010, I would not have attended CUA. Catholicism is not a fundamentalist, anti-intellectual religion. Of course our take of the higher ed market has collapsed, because Catholics value intellectual pursuit and the truth. The strange, disturbing ethic being pushed (anyone else see the giant banner in the Pryz that was Jesus’s Tinder profile?) is not the kind of Catholicism I — or most Catholics — grew up in, identify with, or want.

Thank goodness I’m almost out, though the value of my degree, and the years of my life spent earning it, have been almost thoroughly ruined by the Administration’s ideology-over-scholarship marketing and policies.

Sollicitus May 1, 2018 Reply

I have served on the full time faculty of this university for over 10 years. I strongly oppose this “academic renewal” plan. I fear that it will significantly increase the institution’s existing problems. As Michael Mack has illustrated in a series of PowerPoint slides posted on this site, the justification advanced by the Provost relies on flawed data analysis. The plan is being rushed through without adequate or sufficiently transparent deliberation. Firing tenured faculty without cause or financial exigency is likely to have severely adverse effects on the university’s reputation and drive students and faculty away, including productive scholars and teachers. This is already happening. The administration appears to be completely out of touch with millennials and fails to foster a culture of inclusion and respect. The fundamental Catholic value of human dignity is not being served. I am grateful to those who have created this website. I hope the administration wills respond to the outpouring of opposition by rethinking this proposal. But I am not optimistic and I am looking around for other job possibilities.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

With past presidents and administration the Catholic identity was not a problem. Past presidents, especially, Fr. O’Connell, embraced Non-Catholics and when hiring faculty he selected the most qualified. The website of the Catholic Mind did extreme harm and for Non-Catholics it created a message of inferiority and atmosphere of not being welcomed. Also, gave the image of this being more of a seminary than a research university. The CUA magazine only focuses on Catholic Mind stuff and academics and research are not talked about unless it has a Catholic tint to it. All campus activities are linked to campus ministry–very few exciting things happening here. Would it be so terrible to get a rock band in or something fun? No wonder underage drinking and drugs are rampant. We are in the 21st century and coed dorms are the norm. Why not have a couple that are single sex and the rest coed? Are you really serious this will cut down on pre-marital sex? My kids went here and they all know the door or window to sneak into each dorm. Seriously? All this is affecting enrollment. It is turning students away. Georgetown does not shove the Catholicism down your throat nor do other universities in similar stature to ours. Time to wake up Board of Trustees and do something!
Staff and faculty being cut is not the answer. After the extreme Staff cuts from a few years back we are still suffering in the area of Technology Services and several schools have bare-bones staff where customer service around CUA used to be admired where now it is challenging. Afraid of the value of tenure now and cutting faculty. The top administration needs an overhaul. Cannot believe the money they are making. Meanwhile faculty receive low salaries as well as staff and they are the ones who are cut!

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

Something that I and other alumni have noticed and want to understand is why Catholic seems to have a significant underclass of Associate Professors who appear to have stopped publishing and producing scholarship shortly after they were promoted to Associate Professor and granted tenure. If an Associate Professor has not published or produced scholarship within the past 3-5 years, don’t they have the capacity to take on a 3:3 teaching load? Given the problems that the Law School has faced, isn’t it reasonable to expect law professors to teach a 3:3 load? Culturally, doesn’t the fact that many professors are on campus only on MW or TTh send the wrong message about the work ethic expected of CUA students? (E.g. work… but not too hard.)

The undergraduates could tell that some faculty prepared intensely from their classes and others hardly prepared at all. When I was a student at Catholic it was apparent that many of the academic units were dominated by a culture of lethargy, apathy, and mediocrity–especially many of the Departments in the School of Arts and Sciences. Following my graduation, I found that the lack of intensity, zeal, and work-ethic in CUA’s institutional culture fostered poor work habits that I struggled to overcome in my professional career. In my opinion, the Schools of Engineering, Nursing, and the Ecclesiastical faculties demanded a higher work ethic and had a strong sense of mission and zeal–but they were the exception, not the rule.

It should be noted that according to the list of “raises” enumerated on this website, there has been a change in incumbent for all but one position listed (Chief of Staff-Persico). In employment relations, it is not uncommon to see sharp increases in executive salaries following the resignation of an incumbent due to the salary negotiation which occurs when a new executive is appointed. The executive salaries paid to CUA officials do not appear to be significantly higher than the salaries paid to executives at comparable DC universities. On its face, it would appear that prior incumbents (especially Father O’Connell) accepted below-market compensation for their services.

Have the faculty militating for a year of deficit spending offered any kind of wage concession (which they invite the administrators to join) to demonstrate the good faith of their request?

When I was enrolled at Catholic in the 2000’s, it faced a persistent problem retaining students beyond freshman year–a problem created by revenue-driven acceptances of less-qualified students who lacked the academic and/or psychological preparedness to handle the University’s Program of Study. It is my understanding that the University has experienced improvements in its retention rates. To what extent are the recent declines in number of accepted students criticized by the “Critique” driven by an attempt to “bite the bullet” and address the retention problem by accepting a smaller pool of more-qualified students who are less likely to contribute to attrition?

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

This is a very impressionistic set of points. Many associate professors in A&S and other schools publish quite a bit, including in undergrad-only departments. It’s harder than ever to make Ordinary prof., especially when departments are saddled with more and more administrative work. There is a huge staff shortage (there were heavy layoffs and buyouts in 2015), and faculty have had to take up the slack. The Provost even created a thing called the “Academic Leadership Institute” which sounds quite impressive, until you learn that it is little more than a set of regular meetings to review administrative procedures and teach faculty how to do staff work.

Faculty did suggest across-the-board salary cuts that would share the burdens equally and save the livelihoods and careers of our colleagues. This would be the Catholic and communitarian way of approaching the problem. The idea was flatly rejected by the Provost–more proof that “Academic Renewal” is Newspeak for “Faculty Removal.”

The attrition problem is real, and while there have been some modest improvements, these have been fairly marginal. “A smaller pool of more-qualified students” was tried, as a means of raising the university’s competitiveness rating. It failed. CU is heavily tuition-dependent. It needs paying undergrads and lately has been taking them at an actual rate that is very high.

QD May 1, 2018 Reply

Something else that should be made clear– the university counted women on maternity leave in its evaluation of “surplus faculty.” This ostensibly pro-life university’s Academic Renewal program actively harms departments with young mothers.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

Not arguing the point you’re making, but let’s also be clear that CUA does not actually offer “maternity leave.” New mothers are permitted to take sick leave under FMLA. The university makes no actual provision for maternity/parental leave for employees.

qd May 1, 2018 Reply

Thanks for the clarification. Makes the whole situation even worse.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

Yes, there is no stated maternity leave policy for faculty and that needs to be changed. But the fact is, faculty do go on leave to take care of newborns. During the time when depts were analyzed for “surplus faculty” this leave to take care of babies was not taken into account, and that made the numbers skewed. In other words, it appears on their calculations that there was 1 faculty member not teaching their contracted load so that justifies the numbers of voluntary and involuntary eliminations. To this date, they have not addressed this issue.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

Part of why I chose CUA was because of the great faculty, along with being able to participate in athletics. If CUA moves along with this proposed agenda, while all of the administrations salaries still remain high, and they choose to release faculty, it contradicts the mission of this institution.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

O’Connell had an obscure and mediocre resume and managed to lose CUA’s place in the prestigious American Association of Universities. Garvey had stellar national credentials and has managed to lead the school to this sad and embarrassing place. Maybe it’s not the leadership. Maybe CUA simply fell too far behind, too long ago, to ever catch up. The Catholic University of America? Isn’t that Notre Dame? Or Georgetown? Or Villanova if you live in Philly, DePaul if you live in Chicago, Fordham or St. Johns if you live in New York City?

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

I think you hit the nail on the head–CUA is a tree that needed to have its branches pruned long ago, but never did and now must endure a more-painful pruning so that leaves return to its branches and it regains the strength to not be toppled in the wind.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

I am a faculty felt compelled to say one analogy. CUA is a patient with tumor (look at the expansion of vice/assistant presidents and vice/associate provosts in last several years!) and under the flu (failing performance by mismanagement for low enrollment), but now we are scheduled for open body surgery to disarm body parts (firing tenured and tenured-track faculty) but not treating the cancer. Can the patient survive???

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

The salaries paid to CUA top administrators is egregious. Why isn’t a reduction in administrative salaries part of the plan?

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

I agree! I haven’t noticed any administrators or their salaries being reduced or bought out! “Make CUA Great Again?” If that is what we are about, are we doing so in the Trump Style, i.e. spending lots of money to make sure our administrators are comfortable at the expense of faculty and students. What an embarassment to see – for the first time, mind you – the salaries paid to CUA top administrators when those of CUA professors are so pitiful!!

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

According to the administration, the budget of the next FY will be balanced with the elimination of 35 faculty: 21 through early-retirement and 14 through involuntary dismissals. Currently, the university is seeking 16 professors (https://provost.cua.edu//positions.cfm) with the majority of the positions being tenured-track. Has anyone inquired why the administration is hiring new faculty at this rate amidst a budget deficit? How do they plan to fund these positions? Are all of them necessary? If the faculty elimination does not take place because of budgetary issues, what other reasons may exist for it? Maybe the answer can be found in the President Garvey’s words in his keynote address in the recent Humanae Vitae conference: “For my money, the most important sentence in Ex Corde Ecclesiae and in the application is the one that says that Catholic universities ought to have on their faculty a majority of Catholics committed to the witness of the faith.”

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

My son is in the business school, about to graduate, and he said it is fully funded as the now Busch School of Business – perhaps they are hiring new b-school profs?

Save Catholic May 1, 2018 Reply

Thank you for your comment. If you open the link you can see the positions, only three of which are in the Business School. Also, this comment section is anonymous, but please know that multiple similar comments from the same IP Address will not be posted, as it skews the conversation.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

To push this question further, has anyone asked why the people who have taken “voluntary” departures chosen yo do so? And what “kind” of scholars these people are? Stephen Schneck directed the Institute for Policy research for years and is a highly regarded specialist in his field of political philosophy. Stefania Lucamente is a top scholar in the field of Italian Studies, well published and decorated. These are highly accomplished scholars, really the top of the top. And the university seems to *want* them to leave, is actively coaxing them out the door? While also somehow raising the “research profile” of this school? Why? And also: this makes no sense.

It seems to me the university administration is looking for a very narrowly-defined research profile. One that is not based on excellence, productivity, and student outcomes, but on an ideological position. Perhaps even purity. This flies in the face of the definition, indeed mission, of a university: the advancement of knowledge.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

I was under the impression everyone was welcome at this school not just Catholics . My child certainly is not Catholic and has no plans to become one, but has chosen this school. I expected the faculty would come from all walks of life as well. Sounds very discriminatory to want to hire mainly catholic faculty. Is that even legal?

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

I am a parent of junior at CUA. Overall, she has been happy there and has received a wonderful education. She has benefitted from many thoughtful, committed educators who have helped her succeed in the classroom and outside of it with internships, professional jobs, etc. That being said, I have grown increasingly disappointed with the administration almost from the first year. For example, my daughter is a drama major. She was drawn to CUA for drama because of its exceptional, long-standing national reputation as an excellent program. However, it seems that administration and the board place no value on it as a department and show no regard or care for the students who are pursuing this major. Budget cuts, arbitrary elimination of or reduction in the number of productions, and faculty cuts have gutted this program. It is especially galling that CUA continues to spend out of control in other departments and salaries. Every student, including the drama students, deserve and pay for the very best education possible and to be supported in this endeavor by the administration and board. The faculty and staff in the drama department have shown exemplary leadership, professionalism, and care for their students in spite of the continued assault by administration. It has become increasingly disheartening to me to constantly be reminded that while CUA’s national reputation for the drama department is still there, the administration seems to be unaware of it and are missing an excellent opportunity to capitalize on one of their most valuable assets. No amount of money can buy a stellar reputation. CUA has it in this department and is choosing to ignore it, and dismantle it, rather than highlight it and continue to build on it.
Another sore spot for me is the treatment of CUAllies. My student happens not to be classified as lbgq, however, she has joined CUAllies because it is important for every student on campus to feel accepted and safe. It defies reason that a group of students who clearly have significant support and numbers, whose stated purpose is support and fellowship, have been refused to be recognized. It is infuriating that a university would alienate these students along with the thousands of parents, faculty, and alumni who support them. The amount of negative national attention CUA has gotten on this issue alone is responsible for at least a portion of the low application numbers.
Students arrive on campus in many different stages of development. Who they are when they arrive is often very different than who they are when they leave college. I believe a university should provide exposure to many different points of view, debate, opportunity. This cannot happen if only “good, practicing Catholics” are allowed to teach and attend. CUA would do well to meet these students where they are and provide a warm, welcoming environment that they can discover. You will not entice new applicants by being exclusionary and legalistic.
Thank you for providing an opportunity to be heard. I had been invited to a event with the subject line “tell us what you think”. However, in scrolling down it appeared that it was primarily fund-raising. So, I appreciate the opportunity to share some of my thoughts with no strings attached.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

I find it reprehensible that this administration is flouting basic Catholic teachings concerning justice and equity by inflating their own salaries and refusing to admit where they too have failed, just as we all do.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

Thank you for creating this website. I hope many of our colleagues will express their judgments on the deplorable situation in which we find ourselves. Morale has never been at such a low level.

I saw the storm warnings become more menacing when President Garvey was re-appointed without any faculty consultation or, if there had been, it was secretive.
Please keep the conversation going!

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

The Academic Renewal Plan is the latest in a series of spins that the Administration has presented to divert attention from the University’s other significant issues, including failed leadership, decreasing enrollment, weak fundraising, deferred maintainence of facilities, and, perhaps, fiscal mismanagement.

The Plan, if implemented, posits that the Catholic University will become a global research university. Without a diverse population that supports the free expression of ideas, without a well-funded University Libraries, without a robust infrastructure (Human Resources, Technology Services, etc.), without shared governance, without a creative and committed enrollment plan, without fundraising benchmarks, without fair and equal support for faculty research across disciplines, the Plan will not succeed in its stated mission.

To date, the Plan and the way in which it has been introduced (lacking supporting data, limiting substantive discussion to a few hour-long sessions at the busy, end of the semester, and requiring quick turnaround for any questions or critiques) to the campus as a fait accomplii under the advice of consultants, has resulted in low morale and a hostile environment.

I share the belief of others that the Plan does not make sense. Where is the monetary savings, if the 35 faculty– voluntarily or involuntarily separated from employment at the University–will continue to be paid full salary with benefits for 18 months? The faculty who remain will need to take on additional responsibilities and/or adjuncts will need to be hired in order to offer the same courses and programs and faculty research time will, inevitably, be impacted;doesn’t this undermine one of the Plan’s goals to transform the University into a global research institution? Why has the University withheld the data that has been requested by various Academic Senate committees?

Accountability and responsibility lies with leadership. A starting place for “fixing” what is wrong in the University is looking there.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

As a faculty member, it is really disappointing to see what is going on with the university. In the “academic renewal” plan, there is lip service paid to a focus on teaching at the university. This is not true. Dr. Abela has no interest in this endeavor. He disbanded the Center for Teaching upon his arrival as Provost.

I have spoken to numerous peer institutions and it is an outright embarrassment that CUA does not have a university-wide Center for Teaching and Learning (or anything of the sort) that can attract and maintain undergrads. Instead, freshmen students are thrown in front of adjuncts and graduate students (who try their best) with the misguided First Year Experience.

Another issue is the attempt at asserting the overt Catholicism of the university OVER AND ABOVE all the great schools, programs, professors, sports, and programming the university offers. Catholics live their lives IN THE WORLD and potential students should see all the ways their can grow holistically and live their faith IN THE WORLD. Yes, Catholic identity is important to CUA, but so is the Engineering program (among others). Engineers can be trained to be great engineers while learning more about the Catholic faith, developing their own spirituality, and living in the world. They don’t have to be ardent Catholics first. The Board is missing this point.

VLG -- CUA JD '94 April 30, 2018 Reply

I spent a minor fortune on my CUA education which, as I later learned, was clearly superior to that obtained by many of my colleagues who attended vaunted Ivy institutions. Credit goes to CUA’s exceptional and superbly dedicated faculty.

Unfortunately, the marketplace value of my degree has been impaired by what is aptly described as CUA’s low-energy image and its luke-warm lip service to academic freedom and tenure.

At times, honest and harsh self-assessment is needed. CUA’s reputation, both in and out of academic circles, is that of a stodgy, mediocre, overpriced third-tier institution. Their is good reason to be concerned about the University’s ability to “hold its own” in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

From the vantage point of a self-exiled observer, CUA’s academic reputation is stuck in an unhealthy rut. Three decades after the second firing of Fr. Curran, CUA still hasn’t found the balance necessary to be both an exceptional Catholic institution and an exceptional educational institution. Such a balance is not only possible, it is vital to the University’s future. The failure to achieve the balance rests entirely with CUA leadership.

The communities which matter most to many graduates and institutional recruiters (i.e., employers and academia) tend to know little about CUA, or they tend to harbor poor conceptions of the University fed by years of low, almost stealth visibility punctuated by periodic bursts of negative publicity. Responsibility for the University’s failure to reform its public image (an image which hampers its ability to recruit students and faculty), rests entirely with CUA leadership.

If CUA is to fulfill its mission statement, it has to do better. “Better” doesn’t start with gut-punching already low institutional moral, further harming the University’s ability to recruit/retain top-notch faculty, or giving the shrinking pool of qualified students more reason to look elsewhere.

A better approach would be to reduce salaries of top administrators and offer those same administrators incentives to recover the reductions (and more) by returning the University to a sound financial footing without further harming the University’s reputation by separating tenured faculty.

If the salary reductions are not sufficient, the Board should look to loans to bridge the gap while the University commits resources to reform its image from lack-luster, urban campus, to national center for training diverse, ethical future leaders who will return to their communities with the goal of improving the quality of life for other.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

I’m extremely upset that the day my child committed to this University you put this website up. So now it’s too late to go back to any of the other choices she has declined, given it is now April 30th. I now feel like we have made a terrible decision choosing CUA based on this website, and am going to likely spend the next year preparing her to transfer out, based on the grim picture this site paints of the school. This is the last thing we needed to see after celebrating a very difficult decision to choose a college. Feels like we’ve fallen for a scam.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

I have a child graduating this spring and one beginning in the fall – I strongly object to this public airing of issues at CUA. My son got a great education and loved his 4 years at CUA. We would not be sending another child there if we were not happy with the school.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

As a CUA faculty member and the parent myself of a child soon bound for college, I sympathize! Let me say two things by way of explanation:

1. The Faculty here are committed to giving your children the best education we possibly can. Our devotion to our students will never waver.

2. As to why we’re doing this now, and doing it publicly: please understand that the administration chose the timetable. They dropped this plan on us two months ago (during spring break!), and are demanding that the Senate approve it in the next week. They’re refusing to listen to input internally or to provide more time for review. They’re refusing even to correct obvious factual mistakes in the data on which the plan is based. This was a last resort, adopted when all other means were exhausted.

QD May 1, 2018 Reply

1. Your current happiness isn’t really relevant. You see, the individuals making these changes are human beings bound by the ordinary forces of time. These changes actually effect the *future*, and so it’s entirely reasonable that in the *past*, before the Academic Renewal Program was even conceived, your son had a great experience!

2. It is bizarre that you’d prefer a school were major decisions effecting the entire faculty, decisions that are so extreme that the Chronicle of Higher Ed is crying out, were made behind closed doors. It is strange that any parent would prefer opacity over transparency.

QD May 1, 2018 Reply

Preparing to transfer is probably prudent– but you may not need to put such a plan into place.

Remember that:
1. This website was put up by *faculty* and *students* who clearly love their university. If the university didn’t inspire passion, this site would not exist.

2. Your child will primarily be formed by those faculty and fellow students. Your child will not have direct contact with he administration, and our faculty remains excellent.

3. This plan may not go into effect, thanks to the efforts of this site.

4. Different departments/ schools would be harmed by this plan to different degrees– even if it goes through, it may not effect your daughter.

All that said:
Don’t stress. Don’t freak out. Don’t feel bad. CUA isn’t unique here– a *lot* of colleges in 2018 are dealing with administrations that are making similarly poor/hostile decisions. You as a parent did your best, and if you had chosen elsewhere, you could be running into these same problems. Transferring also isn’t the end of the world. If your child has a really great first semester grades-wise, it could actually be a great boon: you might wind up getting a better deal as a transfer student than you would your freshman year at a number of places.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Thanks for your work into a clear and organized website where the truth can be known. The well supported evidence presented clearly shows that the current administration’s actions and its “academic renewal” proposal are in direct contradiction to the Catholic values they claim to portray and in opposition to reality!

The administration has not made any real effort for including the academic community in the discussion. On the contrary, this is a time of repression at CUA. It feels almost like living under Communism, fear is widespread and morale is extremely low…that is how authoritarianism rules. “By their fruits you will know them…”

To go to the root of the problem, given the poor performance by administrators, accountability is necessary. True leaders have no problem in providing information and being held accountable, something you do not see these days at CUA.

To solve the 3.5 million deficit: 1) cut the increase on senior administration salaries so that it reflects the same percentage (a few) faculty and staff have seen their salaries grew. This should reduce the deficit by over 30%. An it is still generous. True managers lead by example, not by words; 2) use the knowledge of faculty for producing a recruitment plan where all can participate. Motivated faculty can do much more in helping attract students…if only they are seen as people and counted in the conversation; 3)make an effort to spread the reach of the recruitment pool, i.e. do not concentrate only in the East Coast, there are plenty of opportunities in the rest of the US and abroad.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

First, let me thank the organizers of savecatholic.com website that has opened my eyes to numerous important issues that Catholic University currently faces. As a parent of 1 CUA graduate and 2 current CUA students, I am gravely concerned about the current situation at Catholic University that will greatly affect the future of the Alma Mater of my children. I am questioning the validity of the so-called “Academic Renewal” that would drastically impact the research nature of the Catholic University due to the fact that it is spearheaded by the chief academic officer, Provost Abela, who does not even hold the rank of full-professor signifying his research capability. It does not make any sense that a person without full understanding about research would make this kind of important decision about research at a university that could be detrimental to its existence.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Please work together to build a better future for CUA, mostly importantly, for students.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

My concern with this website, which is public, is that it will do more harm than good to current students and deter future students from choosing CUA due to the issues you outline. I have a child graduating this year and one starting in the fall. This was posted on the CUA 2022 Facebook page and I have to tell you, I immediately said to my child that maybe he should pick another school. If you have a problem with CUA or President Garvey keep it in house or you will hurt enrollment as much as the perceived issues you mentioned above. This will prove more damaging than the internal workings of the university.

Save Catholic April 30, 2018 Reply

Thank you for your comment. We hope and fervently pray that an open discussion of these issues will ultimately strengthen the University and its wonderful community.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Well have the open discussion within the university community, not a public forum that high school seniors can find with one Google search and deter them from applying.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Amen. This is a vendetta by disgruntled former administrators against the current administration. While some of the complaints here are perfectly justified, the site admins are ensuring that further harm will come to CUA, making their dire prophecies self-fulfilling.

Save Catholic May 1, 2018

We are a group of concerned faculty, students, staff, and alumni of The Catholic University of America. We love our University and we are proud to work and study at the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States. We hope that by having an open and honest conversation about the problems afflicting our University, we can work together towards solving those problems.

QD May 1, 2018

The pages here seem to rely pretty exclusively on objective facts. There’s the actual Renewal Proposal (which by itself should be alarming to anyone at all involved in higher education) and then there’s the data which contradicts many foundational assumptions in the proposal.

Unless those who have published this cite have fabricated data (which you can easily check) or have access to some reality-warping abilities, *all* their complaints seem to be justified. If some are not, please specify which.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Applicants actually should know that CU is not a place that makes much room for open discussion, especially where any criticism of the administration is concerned. Critics are tracked and subject to retaliation. This kind of forum is more of a last ditch effort to prompt freer discussion, one that has been necessitated by the administration’s own communication and management style. In harmony with the mission of CU, this is about getting at the truth. It is the case that this risks some immediate negative consequences, but it actually demonstrates the commitment of the faculty to teaching and serving students–the very reason the university exists in the first place. The actions of the administration, unfortunately, stand to do both short-term AND long-term harm.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Prospective members of the university deserve to know what they might be joining: a community that is brave enough to face its problems, debate them openly, and attempt to solve them honorably. If nothing else, the current difficulties should point to the commitment of the faculty to the students, regardless of administrative pressures. The quality of student education, and the value of alumni degrees, will suffer if Academic Renewal is implemented in its current form.

Anonymous May 1, 2018 Reply

I have heard students over the last few years say some version of “If I had known what it was actually like here, I wouldn’t have come.” That’s not the fault of some website.

QD May 1, 2018 Reply

What you suggest is dishonest.

Incoming Freshmen deserve to know about this plan that radically changes the university. Otherwise they would have applied to one school and arrived at one that is very, very different. We would be very bad Catholics if we withheld information to which these students have a right.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Keep this dialogue going! The salaries are appalling high and feel hypocritical. We are very interested in this movement’s direction and agree with many of the points and concerns raised. Please keep it up! I think though that in order to establish greater credibility, you will need to provide your names at some point. It seems clear that new leadership is necessary.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

I want to reassure that the documents and perspectives posted on this website are not the result of a small group of people. They represent the perspectives of many, many members of the university community.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

You have to be a subscriber to read it.

QD May 1, 2018 Reply

If you are a member of CUA (or most any university) you’ll be able to access it after logging in through your university website.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

I am deeply grateful for all the thoughtful work that has gone into this. I taught at CUA for nearly three decades, now Professor Emeritus. I’ve been troubled for many years by the management problems. Firing staff and faculty is a good way to destroy an institution. That should be obvious. Doing that while giving raises to the senior management is outrageous. Our fine university has been so damaged by pursuit of ideological objectives to the detriment of open inquiry and diversity. Time for a management overhaul.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

What kills me is they have over 55 people working in Institutional Advancement and they are making every school hire a development officer? Again, this has not helped raise money for the university. The head of advancement makes over 400,000.00!!! Have they actually taken what the consultants told them they needed to be done to increase enrollment? The declining enrollment is due to an awful marketing department, admissions department and crumbling infrastructure. The only school getting a new building is the BUS/ECON (redoing Chemistry building) who have not even been accredited yet? Faculty and Staff cuts no more! Not our fault!!! There are more Vice Provosts, VPs at this university! Not neccessary. Time for the Administration to take a cut and cut the Advancement to like 15. 55? Are you kidding me? Need a President who can raise money, know his role and stay out of the weeds of the university.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Comments about high salaries for the administration don’t lead anywhere. A course of action could be to directly get in touch with Cardinals Wuerl and O’Malley, give them the data, and ask them to intervene. One should not assume that they are aware of all the implications of what is happening.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

A serious problem with the structure of the university is that, unlike at most prestigious universities, the faculty at CU are FORBIDDEN to speak with Board members without permission of the President. The have a quite filtered understanding of the actual state of the institution.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

I’m disappointed in the lack of critical thinking in this website. You rail against administration and call for heads on spikes. Yet, you offer no solutions despite all faculty knowing we are in an era of serious decline in the demographics of college bound teens. 18 years ago, enough children weren’t born to sustain all the universities now competing for their matriculation. What is the correct size for our faculty? Should we completely ignore the downward trend in national demographics? Should we ignore the realities that private institutions of higher ed must right-size or be doomed? We are far too large a university for the number of students we educate. And we are far too strained in our resources because of our outsized faculty. Academic renewal is about retargeting those precious resources to give our faculty the tools to compete on the global stage. Borrowing from the endowment, running a deficit, and hoping for a miracle in enrollments is no way to run a top class university. I applaud our administrators for “biting the bullet” and doing what is tough. It’s why they get paid the not so big bucks (compare them to other provost and presidents). You write of collaboration. Where is your collaboration? All I see are stones flying. I also see the not so thinly veiled assault on Catholic identity, while standing behind a smokescreen of Catholic identity.

Save Catholic April 30, 2018 Reply

Although we disagree with this comment, it helpfully illustrates some of the problems with the university leadership’s recent actions and thinking:

–An inability or unwillingness to understand data in a way relevant to our actual position as a university
–Repeating claims about demographics that misrepresent the facts, as enrollment in our competitors has not been declining.
–Blaming faculty size for the failures of leadership (even though faculty has shrunk significantly relative to the growth of administration and the salaries paid to the administrators)
–Saying that any questioning of poor administration is an assault on “Catholic Identity”

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Evidence points to the opposite, and this evidence has been presented to the Senate. Every competitor has an increase in students except for Catholic University. The premise for removal of tenure at the university begins with false data.

Alum April 30, 2018 Reply

Wow, this is eye opening on many levels. Even if CU were hiring top new faculty, expanding programs and seeing record new levels of enrollment–which I see is clearly not the case–the obscene disparity in executive vs. faculty & staff compensation growth would be troubling enough. Given the failures outlined on this site, that disparity is utterly offensive. To add to that injustice the idea that faculty should need to pay the price of executive incompetence while swallowing it as some farcical plan to improve academics is absolutely scandalous. The standard explanation for compensation disparity in the business world where I work–and often enough here it’s a self-serving lie–is that you have to pay to play: pay great talent to get and keep the top people who will land the best results and help you beat your competitors. If they fail, they’re gone, and gone quickly. This crew wouldn’t last a minute in my environment. What a sad moment in the life of my alma mater. Glad I got my degree 30 years ago. I wouldn’t want one from CU now. Kudos for getting this information out there. I hope it helps right the obvious wrongs that are being done.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Whatever may be at the root of the proposal, “academic renewal” is not it. There are plans for cuts, not for initiatives. I see nothing that is bold, innovative, or forward-thinking. It is a plan for academic stagnation, or even decline.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

The academic renewal plan will obviously leave some schools and departments to peril. My concern is that even those that may not seem to get affected, the increasing divide and decreasing morale across the campus will drive our successful faculty members to leave our university. In current bleak funding climate, the academic renewal plan can make even those programs that have been successful from maintaining their research excellence.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

These cuts will not benefit either the school or the students. If they are being made at the behest of outside parties—e.g., in return for donations to favored causes—then the outside parties may be exposing themselves to lawsuits for tortious interference.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

The senior administrators’ salaries are outrageous.
A small cut in those salaries can secure the money they hope to save by firing faculty members.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

The implication in this exercise is that a $225 million budget is in deficit by $3.5 million and the only remedy is termination of employment of 35 faculty. For all the reasons cited elsewhere in these postings, these terminations are at an extremely high moral price to solve a problem that is less than 2% of the budget. It is incredible that $3.5 million of excesses cannot be lurking elsewhere in the university’s expenses with or without some of the blood of its excessive senior management. This matter cannot be all about the money. There must be another agenda being served.

If the university is compelled to act more like a business, it should understand that the terminations compromise its customers. Students and parents will be delivered less than full value for the tuition they pay, and THAT is all about the money.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

As the longest serving dean & faculty member of the Music School, & during my total 59 years of affiliation w/ CUA, I know well how this university works – & doesn’t, what its problems have been & are, and how we formerly implemented its mission, yet made all who would support the mission feel welcomed – & heard.

Since retirement, as Professor Emerita, I have worked long hours & closely w/ the Music School dean & its faculty – who are afraid to speak out now lest they lose their jobs.

I have rallied alumni, who have sent letters to the provost, requesting no cuts to music school faculty, particularly at the same time as this proposed new ‘flagship’ School of the Arts is pending.

I have written to some members of the Ad Hoc Committee, pointing out what I consider to be five flawed processes that have contributed to the situation in which the Music School finds itself today.

Rallying now as an across campus group may indeed have results. G. Mason students are calling for transparancy w/ regard to Koch gifts made to the university. Howard University faculty have issued a no vote of confidence regarding Howard’s leadership. Hopefully, our Board of Trustees will hear from enough CUA people who care about this university, and who want to see it become what it has always ‘promised to be.’

I was Academic Senate Chair when the final action on Charles Curran occurred in the ’80’s. At that time, the AAUP censored CUA, & I was asked by the Senate to appeal to the AAUP to lift the censure. I prepared fully, tried, yet failed. As I include information on the Curran case in my book on the history of the Music School, I asked Frank Persico three years ago if the censure had been lifted. As of then, it had not. I asked Frank – what would it take? He said – rehire Curran. Since that never happened, I assume we are still blackballed. Do we want another strike by AAUP to be added over a possible cutting of tenured faculty?

I don’t know what else I can do to protest & plead for some resolution to our issues, driven understandably by financial needs, yet solvable I believe by collective wisdom from those who teach, administrate, recruit, retain, and keep our students ‘satisfied’ on a daily basis both in and outside of the classroom. Faculty cuts, re-defining our various schools and faculty loads will, in my opinion, only lead to more divisiveness and chaos across the campus. And all this occurs as we come to what should be a joyful time in the academic year — Commencement 2018.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

As a CUA alumnus, it is highly discouraging and heartbreaking to see that a university I spent four years at is failing so tremendously. During the four years as a student at the School of Architecture and Planning, I saw the favoritism of schools that were misplaced and that the Architecture department suffered greatly from. Long-term professors who came from esteemed backgrounds left in favor of Howard University and other universities in the DMV, and at the middle of the year, our advisors were let go due to budget cuts. The infrastructure of Crough was and is falling apart and many times it was embarrassing to go into the building because of the cracked walls and falling debris. The School of Architecture is the result of bad management and I pray that as we begin to move forward to saving CUA that this school will not be forgotten.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Continue deficit spending…….. that is really responsible. Higher education at its best!!!

Save Catholic April 30, 2018 Reply

The SAS faculty advocates operating on a deficit for one year while the University community develops a new, less harmful, and truly consultative plan.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

As a CUA faculty I must say that, beyond what the document says, there is an incredibly low morale among faculty and staff. You feel it all over campus! If this is bad as it is, I can’t imagine what it will be like if the ‘academic renewal proposal’ takes effect. The down spiral will be unavoidable and bring along recruitment which will make things worse, and there you go again! Who wants to join a place shrinking and full of negativity? Additionally, there has been of total breach of trust between upper administration and the rest of the community. The executive leadership doesn’t seem to listen or care about what we, the people with expertise in teaching and research, have to say. Perhaps most debilitating is the hypocrisy between the actions being taken and where the Catholic teaching of the Church tells us where we ought to go.

May God help The Catholic University of America.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Please stop perpetuating this utter nonsense about the “creation” of a caste system. There ALREADY is one in place – tenured, tenure-track, clinical, adjunct. To say otherwise is insulting to those or us who are not “tenured Brahmins”.

Save Catholic April 30, 2018 Reply

Thank you for your comment. We strive to be inclusive in our Statement and we hope that by speaking out, we can improve conditions on campus for the entire community.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Very enlightening, clearly the correlation to the downward trend in enrollment occurred with President Garvey coming to the helm. How can a group tasked with maintaining the well being of the university ignore this obvious connection? It is time for a new direction President Garvey took the university in the wrong direction (while pocketing more and more money) and the data proves it.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

This sounds shockingly similar to the situation at Mount Saint Mary’s a couple of years ago. I do not know enough about the particulars to add much more. If a significant number of faculty subscribe to the view that something is “rotten in Denmark,” then it is time to independently investigate. When finance committees and devotees of the “bottom line” begin to hold ultimate sway in Catholic educational institutions, the end is surely near. Prayers for my alma mater.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Local area college presidents’ salaries are listed in this article: https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2017/06/29/here-s-how-much-d-c-area-university-presidents-are.html
I don’t think we should be firing faculty but I also don’t think President Garvey’s salary is out of line.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Just some small cuts to the highest salaries would save the 3.5 million and result in no lowering of academic quality and output. Sounds like a win-win situation to me and every other faculty I have spokeb with.

Most of the faculty at Catholic are paid between $30,000 – 49,000, which is hardly a living wage in DC and the surrounding affluent suburbs. If these are indeed desperate times in the budget, it is time for the administration to suffer along with faculty instead of further lining their

QD May 1, 2018 Reply

The important numbers aren’t the salary of the presidents in isolation, but their salaries compared to their faculty’s and to their overall budget.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Good work. But….. I am convinced that the most important of all is to combat the narrowness of the push to limit Catholic University to Catholics only. The result is a reduction of the student and faculty pool to a group of non diverse souls who have little empathy for the world around them.

It is not 1600 anymore and if the University is to survive it can not hide among only the faithful. By embracing diversity in all ways the truth will emerge.

Students and potential students are not unaware. They will not choose a narrow minded institution to call home that limits their life experiences based on dogma that is floundering worldwide. Christian values remain relevant but are only part of the human experience. It is almost as if the university leadership fears an enlightened educational experience.

As you correctly note increased enrollment is THE key and creating a welcoming ecumenical environment is the ONLY answer.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

The most telling page is this one:

https://savecatholic.com/financial-data/

How dare the president, provost, and other executive administrators suggest firing full-time faculty to “save money” when their own salaries, combined, have raised 54% since just 2009?

Meanwhile, for years the same administrators have pretended that there is a “salary freeze” and provided almost no raises to any staff.

It’s interesting how in the “academic renewal plan,” which is more like an “academic reduction” or “academic purge,” these administrators never considered for a second how much money we could save – and lay-offs we would avoid – if they took a simple pay cut for a few years. They never contemplated for a second whether they should suffer along with the rest of the professors, most of who have been just barely hanging on.

It appears the rules don’t apply to this administration. The only way to make them apply to all is to strike, unionize, or organize another collective action that shows these administrators that we, the faculty, are the heart and blood of this university; we can bring its life to a halt if need be. Without us, there is no service to provide. We have been sucked nearly dry for the past decade and can’t take it anymore.

As a professor, I have heard directly or overheard more than a dozen of my students talk about transferring to other universities at the end of next year. Students are particularly outraged and disgusted by cuts to the political science, anthropology, modern languages, and media studies programs. These are some of the most popular programs on campus. Many of the classes offered in these departments already have significant waitlists that prevent students from being able to take their required courses. These and many other departments need more faculty and support, not less. They are already operating on shoestring budgets with an insufficient number of teaching and research faculty.

This “academic renewal” will not only destroy the fabric of academia at the Catholic University as we know it, but it will cause a huge outflow of students and deter future recruitment efforts. It is a disaster waiting to happen, on the brink of being realized. If professors and students don’t join efforts to do something about it now, then we are doomed.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

So happy that this statement has been made. This University can be amazing. Firing Tenured Faculty is not the answer. We see a student teacher ratio that will not be met without full time faculty. There are way too many administrators.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

“The proposal purports to solve our enrollment problems by a) firing tenured and tenure-track faculty.”

Or, more likely, firing full time contract faculty who carry the heaviest burden of teaching and service and are already exploited by the system… and, it seems, completely erased even by this website.

It’s disappointing that in this dire situation we can’t all stand together.

If you’re going to complain about potential firings, please complain about ALL OF THEM, tenure, tenure-track, and clinical. Some contract faculty have been teaching at this university longer than tenure and tenure track ones.

Save Catholic April 30, 2018 Reply

We have edited the language in the Statement in response to the previous comment. We strive to be inclusive and we stand in solidarity with all members of the University community, including faculty on and off the tenure track. Thank you.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Once even one tenured professor is fired, tenure will effectively have been removed from the university.

Once tenure is removed, we will lose our accreditation as a research university.

Once accreditation is lost, our graduate students will be unable to find jobs at reputable schools.

I argue in favor of remembering what’s required to promote student flourishing, and investing in the university’s legacy.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

I am a faculty member at CUA, and there are 2 things I want our Board of Trustees and the public to know:

1. As the statement published on this website makes clear, faculty are fully supportive of the Catholic identity and mission of the University. In an article 2 weeks ago in the Chronicle, administrators tried to pretend the dispute here is over religiosity. Don’t be fooled. They’re trying to change the subject, and divert attention from the real issue: their own mismanagement and malfeasance.

2. The provost is an associate professor of marketing, and it shows. He has taken a plan to cut faculty and undermine tenure and is attempting to pass it off as a plan for “academic renewal.” It is nothing of the sort. This assault on the faculty will not “renew” academics. It will eviscerate them. This proposal is the result of a hasty process, flawed data, and a model for determining teaching loads and faculty levels that has been kept secret from faculty themselves (even as we are asked to provide “constructive feedback” on it). But this should come as no surprise. It is just another example of the poor management that has produced our budgetary problems in the first place.

Anonymous May 11, 2018 Reply

I cannot believe that the Provost of CUA is at the rank of associate professor! CUA has lowered its standards for sure! As far as I know, at research universities, the provost should at least be at the level of Full Professor. This is embarrassing for CUA.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Thank you for this initiative; it is long overdue. It is heartbreaking,
CUA needs an ombudsman to investigate President Garvey for financial mismanagement and abuse of power.
Can he be sued?

Three years ago, a jury found CUA and a Dean guilty of harassment. This is in the public record. President Garvey continues to endorse an inept, abusive, sycophant and to dismiss the jury’s decision. He has shown no respect for the law.

The current financial distress offers a convenient justification for regime change.
Under Garvey, CUA has become an intolerant Inquisition. There is no freedom of speech and no room for dissent

President Garvey has been reappointed by the Board of Trustees.
Good luck.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Thank you for doing this. Those of us who love CUA and support its mission have been frustrated for years by poor (and often heartless) budgetary decisions and a lack of thoughtful direction from the top. One former faculty member once told me the university was a “hidden gem” of Washington, but the administration has been doing its best to bury that gem even deeper. Let’s reinvest in our students and faculty to make the university shine again.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Attacking tenured faculty and embracing a culture of “temps” aka adjuncts and visiting positions is not unique to CUA, but it is uniquely bad. An institution whose mission is led by spiritual principles needs to operate with a moral center. After seeing CU’s magazine the last decade, I’ve been appalled by Garvey’s subtle and polished tilt to right wing politics (& I assume donors) which seems to be his comfort zone. CU was literally transformative for me during the Pres. Byron years because, not in spite of, its radical Catholic identity. Part of that was tension among competing “camps”, as well as the institutional Church, but there was a conversation happening. Thanks for those with the courage to do this. If you created an alternate fundraising structure, I’m sure many of us would support you!

QD May 1, 2018 Reply

You don’t need to assume. CUA has received a number of controversial donations from the Koch brothers in recent years– donations criticized specifically because they seem to *oppose* CUA’s Catholic identity.

Unfortunately, many among the university’s administration seem to be so uncatechized that they cannot understand that Catholics and Right Wing Protestants do not perfectly align.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Teaching faculty and staff, including graduate students, should be allow to unionize and undergraduate students need to be paid higher wages, including some form of compensation for RAs. Furthermore, the university’s free speech and expression policies should change to invite any speaker or discuss any topic or issue on campus. Equal funding for all student organizations too.

Cardinal Citizen April 30, 2018 Reply

Teaching faculty and staff, including graduate students, should be allow to unionize and undergraduate students need to be paid higher wages, including some form of compensation for RAs. Furthermore, the university’s free speech and expression policies should change to invite any speaker or discuss any topic or issue on campus. Equal funding for all student organizations too.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

A fundraising campaign would be great but why make their office fatter and happier? They are the problem. Nobody cares less about CUA than the fundraisers. They live larger than ever but don’t do any work.

A.H. M. April 30, 2018 Reply

What a God-send, this website. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

Part of the mission of a University is to embrace truth through rigorous scholarship. When the administration proposes a plan of action based on shoddy enrollment research contradicted by reputable studies and compiles data that is so obviously full of errors, they undermine their mission. The Provost should be ashamed of this hastily prepared and poorly thought out proposal.

PS April 30, 2018 Reply

It appears that the chief administrators of the Catholic University of America are giving priority to personal profit and the corporatization of education. This is reprehensible and contrary to the historic way CUA has been operated. The salaries of president John Garvey and the other administrators whose salaries have skyrocketed should be immediately reduced to their 1986 levels. They should not be raised again until they have reaffirmed their commitment to not destroying the academic integrity of the university and to not attempting to destroy tenure. I do not want the university where I earned my Ph.D. to turn into a shadow of what it has been throughout its remarkable history.

Anonymous April 30, 2018 Reply

The proposal to eliminate any staff position rather than embracing other measures of austerity violates Ex Corde Ecclesiae, which requires that the university should “be convinced of the priority of the ethical over the technical, of the primacy of the person over things.” The proposed treatment of the faculty certainly does not live up to Ex Corde’s admonition that the community of the Catholic university should embody the “spirit of freedom and charity […] characterized by mutual respect, sincere dialogue, and protection of the rights of individuals.” The proposal to cut faculty will also not “promote the constant growth of the University,” as administrators are urged to do. The proposal has already become a scandal in the Chronicle of Higher Education and will deter future students and faculty from joining us. Finally, this treatment of long-term employees will not model the “promotion of social justice,” as Ex Corde requires.

QD May 1, 2018 Reply

This comment is very, very important. Folks running this page: a specific page on the left here including these remarks from Ex Corde Ecclesiae would be very useful, especially since the administration seems to be trying to frame the issue as a religious one.

Anonymous April 29, 2018 Reply

We need a capital campaign that raises non-earmarked funds for improved infrastructure and faculty support. Other schools do this pretty routinely.

Anonymous May 8, 2018 Reply

CUA has been running such a campaign for at least two years now, if not longer…have you been paying any attention to what’s actually going on at CUA?

Anonymous April 29, 2018 Reply

Thank you for creating this urgently needed and thoughtfully composed website!

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