SACUA states support for UM‑Flint tenured faculty


The Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs has issued a formal statement of support for tenured faculty members at UM-Flint in the wake of recent suggestions that layoffs may be considered as part of the campus’ strategic transformation.

The statement, which SACUA approved Jan. 8, urged UM-Flint leadership to address budget shortfalls through other means. It cited an October 2023 meeting between UM-Flint Interim Chancellor Donna Fry and three Flint faculty members in which the possibility of tenure-track faculty layoffs was mentioned.

SACUA, the executive arm of U-M’s central faculty governance system, said the consideration of layoffs at UM-Flint raises “serious threats to tenure and academic freedom” on all three U-M campuses and sets a “dangerous precedent inconsistent with the values stated by the University of Michigan.”

In an email to The University Record, Fry said she appreciates the topic of layoffs is concerning, but that serious financial instability on the Flint campus “requires that we look at all avenues to offer new programs, enhance current programs and, where necessary, discontinue programs.”

Fry said that if any UM-Flint programs are discontinued, the campus would abide by the relevant Standard Practice Guides and Regent Bylaws.

“The action of laying off anyone, including a tenure-track faculty member, is very serious and all other possibilities should be considered prior to making that move, including potentially moving the faculty member to another program,” she said.

In August 2022, then-President Mary Sue Coleman charged UM-Flint’s then-Chancellor Deba Dutta with charting a response to declining enrollment rates and increasing financial difficulties.

Dutta subsequently initiated a strategic transformation process, which Fry has continued as interim chancellor after Dutta stepped down in September 2023 to take a position at the University of Illinois.


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