Rally hosted in response to Academic Program Review


A photograph of students and faculty marching along Utica University’s campus in the “Rally to Save Utica”. Photo by Michal Kozub

Tangerine Staff

Photos by Michal Kozub.

Rain, sleet and snow came pouring down on a sea of red, the morning of Feb. 17 as students  and faculty gathered at Utica University’s Duffy Plaza, to rally against the Academic Portfolio Review. 

This rally was formed in response to the Academic program review which was announced to faculty in early September 2022. After investigations into all majors on the University campus, data was released on Jan. 18 when it was announced that 15 majors were up for sunsetting. 

In a previous interview with the Tangerine, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Honors Program Leonore Fleming explained there were three main concerns that faculty have surrounding the process of the review. 


  • 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.

Despite the dismal weather, the spirit of the crowd was high as they marched down and around Bell Hall, chanting for all of campus to hear. 

The crowd chanted stop the cuts, holding signs and standing out in their bright red AAUP-Utica t-shirts.

The weather matched the emotions pouring out of the crowd, a mix of anger and sadness at what was happening at the university as the group recited a variety of phrases and held signs attempting to get the attention of the Board of Trustees on campus. 

After the march the group stationed themselves back in Duffy Plaza where faculty and students stood in front of the crowd in the rain and gave speeches in regards to how they felt about the decisions being made on campus. 

Jeff Miller, professor of communication and chair of the communication and media department, approached the crowd to speak looking for some specific advice.  

“Can we talk,” Miller said. “I need some relationship advice. Listen, I’ve been in this relationship for a very long time, like 25 years.”

The initial reaction of the crowd involved awes and laughter, but when Miller continued, the mood dropped.

“I started to think this could be a relationship that could last for life, then I started to notice that even though we had kind of a shared agreement, this is not an equal relationship,” Miller said.

His speech shared the sentiment of Daniel Tagliarina, associate professor of political science, who read through the charge from late August that spearheaded the Academic Portfolio Review. He pondered the grade that should be given to the board and directed the question to the crowd.

The crowd shouted “F” and he had to talk them down. 

“How about a D,” Tagliarina shouted. “How about a D for dismissal of faculty concerns.” 

Clemmie Harris, associate professor of history, addressed the crowd with a bullhorn decked with the emblem of the Faculty Union. His speech touched on the need for shared governance by all parties of the university.

“The culture operates off of shared governance,” Harris said. “Not the idea of shared governance, not the theory of shared governance but the practice of shared governance. Everyone must participate equitably in this culture of shared governance [or] else the institution does not work.”

Distinguished Professor of Psychology Steven Specht took to the proverbial stage and spoke about the importance of students at Utica University and how they require the support of the institution to succeed.

“Our students are not butts in seats,” Specht said. “They should not be considered revenue streams. They are voices in our classrooms, tears in our offices, they are promises of a better future. But only if we, as an institution, make the right ethical decisions and take part in making the world a better place instead of simply chasing the money.”

Multiple students gave remarks during the rally, which included remarks written by former Student Government Association president and animal behavior major Kat Hawley, who touched on the silencing of student voices.

“We must work together to force the conversations needed to challenge the patterns of oppression at our institution,” according to Hawley’s remarks.

After the board meeting, an email was shared with the campus in regard to the review.

“The Board continues to approach these decisions with the utmost thoughtfulness, care, and, most of all, concern for the students and families we serve,” according to the statement.. “We are grateful for everyone who has added input and perspective to this process through a variety of ways.”

The board continued by giving a deadline for the announcement. 

“As previously shared with the University community, the Board will finalize its decisions and communicate those decisions in a detailed report to students, administration, faculty, and staff no later than Friday, February 24,” the Board of Trustees announced in the email.