The University Record, June 19, 1995


To the Editor:

Because it touches on two important matters affecting the University community, the search for the new Provost and the participation of elected members of faculty in important matters such as this, I request that you publish this letter that I sent several weeks ago to President Duderstadt.

President Duderstadt replied to my letter and, among other things, corrected some of my account of the selection of the Provost Search Committee. I want to acknowledge that I was in error in asserting that the president has appointed no nominees of SACUA to the Provost Search Committee. I had been misinformed. Indeed, he chose from a list of 17 nominees, which he invited SACUA to submit, one person to serve along with 10 other faculty members as faculty representatives. He also selected the outgoing chair of SACUA. Since that time, SACUA has asked him to add its current chair to the Provost Search Committee, but President Duderstadt has declined to do so.

Dear President Duderstadt:

The Executive Committee of the UM-Ann Arbor Chapter of the American Association of University Professors notes that you have appointed no representatives of the faculty to serve on the Provost Search Committee. The members of the Executive Committee view this behavior as excluding faculty governance and faculty that it represents from a process that is of critical interest to all the faculty.

We are aware that you chose 11 faculty members for the Provost Search Committee. We do not mean to cast aspersions on the people you selected. We suppose that they are all wise and responsible people.

However, the people you selected do not represent the faculty in any governing sense. However varied they may be interms of gender, race, rank, units in which they hold appointments, etc., they cannot speak with the voice of the faculty. Only duly elected representatives and their delegates can claim to represent the faculty in any way that makes sense for faculty participation in the governance of our University. Your selections include no sitting members of SACUA, nor members of the committee that the faculty has charged to work most directly with the Office of the Provost and is most familiar with its requirements. Your method of choice indicates a signal disrespect for the faculty's own judgment about who should speak for us.

We are aware that the Chair of the Search Committee has solicited the faculty in general for candidates for provost. We are also aware that the Chair was courteous enough to meet with SACUA to "discuss issues related to the search." This is not adequate faculty representation. Faculty-chosen representatives should comprise thebulk of the committee in all phases of the search/selection process of one of our key leaders.

You do our University's sense of community and the integrity of faculty governance great harm when you neglect faculty-chosen representation in such an important matter as the selection of our provost. You also put the provost-select in an awkward position when he or she cannot be assured of the endorsement of the faculty he or she will lead.

Therefore, we urge you to consult with SACUA about nominees to the Provost Search Committee now. It is not too late; we understand that the Search Committee is still in the phase of gathering names. In any case, the sooner in the search process that the faculty is represented, the better for us all.

Martin Gold, president
University of Michigan--Ann Arbor Chapter
American Association of University Professors