To the University of Nebraska Community:

We are concerned that at the highest levels of the University of Nebraska system, decisions involving the future of the University are being made without transparency or proper governance and under improper exertions of influence by the legislative and executive branches of the state government. We fear that financial hostage-taking by members of the state government will result in changes by the administration in the intellectual offerings of the University and opportunities for our students. We believe it is imperative to express our alarm now, before irrevocable damage is done to the mission of the university and the value it contributes to the state of Nebraska. We insist that no radical changes be undertaken in the administration, academic programs, allocation of funds, or support for campus initiatives without appropriate faculty governance, transparency, and respect for academic freedom, which are core values of a healthy university.

Members of the state legislature strongly tied to Governor Pete Ricketts, including senators Steve Halloran, Steve Erdman, and Tom Brewer, along with staff of anti-public-education nonprofits affiliated with Governor Ricketts, such as School Choice Lincoln, have leveraged a single campus interaction into a sustained attack on the University that has greatly surpassed the scope and import of the initial incident. These senators have called for an end to tenure, demanded further budget cuts, and have written a letter censuring the mission statement and curriculum of the Department of English. A number of that department’s faculty have since been aggressively targeted by sweeping open records requests made by the Governor’s allies, including a request that they turn over private email addresses and emails between the chair and faculty members who have publicly criticized members of the state government.

Under the pretense that the University is unsafe for conservative students, the Governor and his surrogates are opening the door to ideological intervention at the University from outside entities. Their lack of consistency in protecting and respecting students’ political views, particularly those that diverge from their own, reveals the political nature of this manufactured crisis. In contrast, we reaffirm what has always been our educational mission: helping students to understand a wide variety of ideas and viewpoints through the many classes they take, with the goal of producing informed citizens capable of making thoughtful independent decisions about how best to govern our society. We insist that this mission be respected and that the alarming politicized interventions in the work of the university be condemned and resisted, rather than validated by our administration.

Any ideological interference in university business from members of the state government will be a major blow to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It will diminish our reputation among our peer institutions in the Big Ten and have a detrimental impact on our ability to attract and retain world-class faculty, as well as to recruit and retain minoritized and underrepresented students, who will rightly fear that initiatives to welcome them and address their unique needs on campus will be characterized as hostile to the agenda of the overreaching state government.

We, the undersigned, expect our administration to stand for the values of the University of Nebraska, a large community of diverse people with diverse viewpoints, and the most significant institutional asset to the state of Nebraska. We understand this community as being committed to the pursuit of truth (wherever it may lead), to the inherent value of open discussion, and to the fundamental values of democracy and free expression. If the Governor or his surrogates in the legislature interfere with the intellectual freedom of the faculty, one of the state’s most precious resources will be squandered in a political power grab, as the quality of work at our university and the value of a degree from UNL will quickly decline. We insist that all levels of the administration respect the governance structures currently in place, and categorically reject political interference in the good work being done at our state’s flagship institution.

Dr. Julia Schleck

AAUP Nebraska State Conference President

Associate Professor, Department of English

Dr. Stephen Ramsay

Committee A Chair, AAUP University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chapter

Susan J. Rosowski

Associate University Professor, Department of English

Dr. Amanda Gailey

Associate Professor, Department of English

Fellow, Center for Digital Research in the Humanities

Prof. Timothy Schaffert

Susan J. Roswoski Associate University Professor, Department of English

Director of Creative Writing

Dr. Ari Kohen

Associate Professor of Political Science and Schlesinger Professor of Social Justice

Dr. Thomas Lynch

Professor, Department of English

Dr. Christina Brantner

Associate Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures

Former Director of Women’s Studies

Dr. Thomas C. Gannon

Associate Professor of English and Ethnic Studies

Ethnic Studies Academic Advisor

Native American Studies Liaison

Dr. Stephen M. Buhler

Aaron Douglas Professor of English

Dr. Patrick D. Jones

Associate Professor, Department of History and Institute for Ethnic Studies

Recipient of 2015 James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award

Mo Neal

Associate Professor Emerita

Department of Art and Art History

Grace Bauer

Professor, Department of English

Dr. John R. Bender

Professor of News-Editorial

College of Journalism and Mass Communications

Jeffrey L. Day, AIA

Professor of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Director of the Architecture Program 2012-2017

Dr. Melissa J. Homestead

Professor of English

Program Faculty in Women's & Gender Studies

Dr. Frances W. Kaye

Professor, Department of English

Dr. John Janovy, Jr.

Professor Emeritus, Biological Sciences

Dr. L. Janelle Dance

Associate Professor of Sociology and Ethnic Studies

Associate Director of the Institute for Ethnic Studies

Dr. Gerard S. Harbison

Professor of Chemistry

Former Chair of Academic Planning Committee

Dr. Jeannette Eileen Jones

Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies

Dr. Emily Kazyak

Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies

Dr. Andrea Bolland

Associate Professor, School of Art, Art History & Design

Dr. David Moshman

Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology

1997 recipient of James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award

Dr. Barbara DiBernard

Emerita, Professor of English and Women's & Gender Studies

Dr. George E. Wolf

Associate Professor Emeritus, Department of English

Recipient of 2002 James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award

Dr. Jennifer McKitrick

Professor and Department Chair, Department of Philosophy

Dr. Stacey Waite

Associate Professor of English and Director of Composition

Dr. Amelia M.L. Montes

Associate Professor, Department of English and Institute for Ethnic Studies

2017/2018 Fulbright Scholar

Dr. Kelly Stage

Associate Professor of English

Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Dr. Craig J. Eckhardt

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

Gregory E. Rutledge, Ph.D., J.D./M.A.M.C.

Associate Professor, Dept. of English and Institute for Ethnic Studies

Dr. Sitaram Jaswal

Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics & Astronomy

Dr. Khalid Sayood

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Bob Haller

Emeritus Professor of English

Four-time UNL AAUP President

Founding President of the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska

Dr. Edmund T. Hamann

Professor, Dept. of Teaching, Learning, & Teacher Education

Dr. Miles Bryant

Emeritus Professor of Educational Administration

Dr. Jack Vespa

Assistant Professor of Practice, Department of English

Dr. Paul Olson

Kate Foster Prof. of English emeritus, Department of English

Dr. Stephen Hilliard

Professor Emeritus, Department of English

Dr. Joy S. Ritchie

Emerita Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies

Dr. Alice Kang

Associate Professor of Political Science and Ethnic Studies

Dr. Alison G. Stewart

Hixson-Lied Professor of Art History

School of Art, Art History & Design

Dr. Guy Trainin

Professor of Education, Department of Teaching, Learning, & Teacher Education

Dr. Linda Ray Pratt

Professor Emeritus of English

National President, AAUP 1992-94

1994 recipient of James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award

Elizabeth Ingraham

Associate Professor, School of Art, Art History, and Design

Dr. Thomas M. Carr, Jr.

Professor Emeritus of Modern Languages

Dr. Laurie Thomas Lee

Professor, Broadcasting

College of Journalism and Mass Communications

2013 recipient of James A. Lake Academic Freedom Award

Dr. Vicki Schlegel

Associate Professor

Department of Food Science and Technology

Dr. Michael W. Hoffman

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Former Chair of Academic Planning Committee

Dana Fritz

Professor, School of Art, Art History & Design

Dr. Sidnie White Crawford

Willa Cather Professor of Classics and Religious Studies

Dr. Mike Lippman

Associate Professor of the Practice

Dept. of Classics and Religious Studies

Kathleen A. Johnson

Professor of Libraries

Sandra Williams

Associate Professor

School of Art, Art History and Design

Dr. Bedross Der Matossian

Associate Professor of History

Dr. Dave Billesbach

Dept. of Biological Systems Engineering and School of Natural Resources

Fellow, Center for Great Plains Studies

Dr. Adrian S. Wisnicki

Associate Professor, Department of English

Faculty Fellow, Center for Digital Research in the Humanities

Dr. Peter Dowben

Charles Bessey Professor of Physics

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Center for NanoFerroic Devices

Dr. Erica DeFrain

Assistant Professor, University Libraries

Dr. John Bailey

Richard H. Larson Distinguished College Professor of Music

Dr. Gerard Adams

Associate Professor of Practice, Plant Pathology

Dr. Helen Moore

Emerita Professor, Department of Sociology

Past Aaron Douglas Professor of Teaching Excellence

Dr. David M. Harwood

Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Dr. Edward F. Becker

Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Joy Castro

Professor of English & Ethnic Studies

Dr. Catherine Chia

Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences

Dr. Robert F. Diffendal, Jr.

Professor Emeritus, University of Nebraska

Past President, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Faculty Senate

Past President, Nebraska State Conference of the American Association of University Professors

Dr. Robert Brooke

John E. Weaver Professor of English

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