Ohio University laid off three professors from the gender and race studies departments this week in response to financial burdens imposed by the Chinese virus pandemic. Ohio University also fired 140 unionized employees who worked in the university’s custodial, groundskeeping, and maintenance departments.
According to a report by the College Fix, Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, laid off three professors this week in response to financial difficulties imposed on the university by the ongoing pandemic. The now jobless faculty members were part of the gender and race studies departments.
The university has already been criticized for its decision to lay off faculty from the gender and race studies departments. Ohio University political science professor Kirstine Taylor wrote in a viral tweet that she was “heart-sick” over the university’s decision.
This morning Ohio University started laying off tenure-track faculty, starting with African American Studies. I am heart-sick.
And I worry that this is the canary in the coal mine for other universities. Are any other institutions doing this?
— Kirstine Taylor (@kirstinetaylor) May 1, 2020
Ohio University spokesperson Carly Leatherwood said that faculty salaries are the university’s largest expense. “The majority of the institution’s operational costs are in its employees, which requires the university to make extremely difficult decisions regarding our workforce, including today’s action,” Leatherwood said.
Over 3,000 members of the Ohio University community have signed a petition that calls on the university to reinstate the professors. “Entire academic programs, including African-American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies are facing elimination. Faculty have been excluded almost entirely from the decision-making process,” the petition reads.
On Monday, the American Association of University Professors Ohio University Chapter released a statement in which it condemned the university’s decision. The group argued that the decision could “destroy” the university’s commitment to “diversity and inclusion.”
“Further, the ostensible decision not to renew the three faculty members in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and in African American Studies will irremediably weaken or destroy programs that directly support diversity and inclusion, one of Ohio University’s primary institutional commitments,” the statement read. “These terminations must be reversed and there must be a halt to any further personnel decisions.”
Breitbart News reported in May 2018 that the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Ohio University makes almost $200,000 per year. By comparison, the average full professor at a public university earns $126,000 per year.
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more campus updates.