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Wright State Faculty Union Concerned Cuts Mostly Affect Liberal Arts

Summer on Wright State's main campus in Fairborn.
Chris Welter
/
WYSO
Summer on Wright State's main campus in Fairborn.

The union representing faculty members at Wright State University says sixteen of its members have been informed that their positions are being eliminated. The union says four of the eliminated positions are in the College of Education and Human Services, and twelve are from the College of Liberal Arts. The layoffs are part of the larger retrenchment process at the university.

In February, the Wright State Board of Trustees announced that it would lay off up to one hundred and thirteen of its faculty due to declining enrollment.

Bobby Rubin is a faculty member in the english department at Wright State. He’s also the president of the faculty union. He said he’s concerned that the positions being eliminated are mostly in the humanities and liberal arts. He said those disciplines are being devalued across higher education in the United States.

“You have critical thinking skills, you have speaking skills, you have writing skills, you have communication skills, and you have the skills to be a good student," Rubin said. "I believe that the liberal arts really prepares our students to go out into the workforce and to do anything because they have the ability to be trained to do anything.”

The university said faculty who have their positions eliminated will have up to eighteen months of employment before they are officially laid off.

Rubin said an additional eighty five to ninety faculty are taking incentivized voluntary separation plans offered by the university.

He also said if the faculty did not have a union advocating on their behalf, the situation at Wright State could be much worse.

"By no means do I wish to minimize this at all," he said. "On the other hand, I am optimistic because I know my colleagues at Wright State and I know that we will collectively do whatever we can to continue to provide a high quality education for our students. But certainly this is a loss."

Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.