Spurred by concerns that their voices aren’t being reflected in plans to reopen campus this fall, Western Kentucky University faculty submitted a list of demands to administrators.
In a joint statement shared Thursday with the Daily News, WKU’s Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the university chapter of the American Association of University Professors laid out four key demands.
Faculty must be given the final choice in how their courses are delivered, the statement said, and WKU must also offer on-campus testing for COVID-19 regularly and at no cost to faculty, staff and students.
WKU should also shield faculty and “academic support staff” from job losses and ensure that faculty teaching and workloads won’t be excessive.
“Faculty should be allowed to make their own choices and those choices should be honored” in regard to course delivery, said Julie Shadoan, a professor in WKU’s Political Science Department and the chair of WKU’s Faculty Senate.
In an interview, Shadoan expressed concern that faculty voices are being shunted aside as the campus continues to develop its plans to reopen for the start of in-person classes Aug. 24.
Faculty are worried they’re being pushed to teach classes in-person at the risk of exposing themselves and their more vulnerable family members to COVID-19, Shadoan said.
For example, faculty were recently notified they would need to meet a certain ratio when it comes to teaching their courses, with the majority of instruction delivered in-person, Shadoan said.
Further, faculty shouldn’t be required to disclose personal or familial medical information in order to choose an online teaching option, according to the statement.
“Concern for the risk of COVID-19 is not a disability; the pandemic is a real and present danger to the campus community. Faculty should not be strong-armed into putting themselves and their students at unnecessary risk,” the statement said.
– The full statement can be read with this story at bgdaily news.com.
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.