U. of Northern Iowa Is Accused of Ignoring Academic Mission in Making Cuts

The American Association of University Professors has sent the University of Northern Iowa’s president, Benjamin J. Allen, a letter protesting the apparent absence of “any meaningful faculty involvement” in that institution’s planning for the termination of faculty appointments and the closing of academic programs and a laboratory school. In an article published Thursday in the Des Moines Register, an advocacy group that includes university faculty and local community members accused Northern Iowa’s administration of fiscal irresponsibility that threatens the institution’s educational mission. The group cited a study by a finance professor showing that, over the past 14 years, the university, to balance its budget, has transferred more than $100-million from academics to athletics and auxiliary programs. A university spokeswoman, Stacey Christensen, on Friday defended such budget decisions, noting that spending on athletics has also  been cut and arguing that auxiliary programs “add vibrance to the university setting and play a huge role in student recruitment and student retention.” The university had no formal response to the AAUP’s letter, which it had just received.

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