Rally to be held in protest of Academic Portfolio Review vote


A poster for the upcoming rally detailing time, place and message.

Isabella Hudziak, Editor in Chief

The Board of Trustees will meet the morning of Friday, Feb. 17 in Bell Hall for their annual meeting. Outside in Duffy Plaza, a group of individuals ranging from faculty, staff, students and community members will be standing in a rally.

During the upcoming trustees meeting, there will be a vote on whether to accept, reject or alter the recommendations given by President Laura Casamento regarding the Academic Portfolio Review. These recommendations proposed that certain programs be sunsetted, modified or grown.

The rally, which will take place on Feb. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., is being organized by AAUP-Utica president Leonore Fleming.

Fleming, an associate professor of philosophy and director of the honors program, said that the rally emerged out of three main concerns circulating amongst faculty.

These concerns are:

  • A lack of transparency throughout the program review process, including but not limited to the promise of data that has not been fulfilled
  • An unclear rationale behind the initial Board of Trustees charge and subsequent recommendations
  • The violation of the collective bargaining agreement pertaining to curriculum decisions

“We’ve been stating these concerns in a variety of formats and we censured the Board of Trustees,” Fleming said. “They responded that they were not going to change course, and so we will continue to make our concerns known.”

According to Fleming, the rally will be an opportunity for campus and the surrounding community to come together.

“It’s a place for faculty and students and community members to come together and to unify,” she said. “The Utica University community is united, it’s informed, and it’s resisting the actions of the Board of Trustees right now.”

Since the rally will be located between Bell Hall and Tower Hall, Fleming hopes that students will stop by to grab some free coffee, read a flier and listen to the speakers currently being accumulated.

“I really do hope that since we’re located between Bell Hall and Tower Hall, that it will be a nice area for students to come out and see their faculty on campus fighting for them, fighting for the university, and I mean, that’s what college is about,” she said. “College is about free speech and demonstrating and making your voice known and it’s an important part of college and democracy, being an engaged citizen.”

According to Fleming, she is hoping to have a diverse set of speakers ranging from students to community leaders to foster a sense of unity and have “magical moments” of a common belief.

“We don’t make ourselves do enough on campus where we have students and faculty and community members come together,” she said. “I’m really hopeful that we can have some of those magical moments where we are all fighting for the same things even if it’s a bit bittersweet because of the actual context.”

Fleming encourages students to reach out to her if they would like to participate in the rally by speaking or performing.

“I think that no matter what actually happens, the mere act of holding this rally is in many ways a win,” Fleming said. “The fact that we’re not letting the leadership at Utica University defeat us and make us feel disheartened, but that instead, we’re standing up and making our voice heard, even if it can’t completely change the outcome, that alone is still an important step and one that i hope gives everyone a sense of community and hope in the future of Utica University, at least in respect to their colleagues and their students fighting by their side.”