President Alison Byerly sent the following message to the campus community on Sept. 1, 2016.
As many of you know, Professor Juan Rojo of the Foreign Languages and Literatures Department announced at the Tuesday faculty meeting that he was commencing a hunger strike in response to the outcome of his recent tenure case. He also sent a statement to the Board of Trustees expressing his disagreement with the outcome, which the Board has received.
Our first concerns center on the health of Professor Rojo, and the wellbeing of all members of the campus community. I have spoken with Professor Rojo, and have expressed my concern for his health.
Beyond immediate considerations for the welfare of our community, this situation raises issues with regard to our tenure and promotion process. As I mentioned at the faculty meeting on Tuesday, Professors Geoffrion-Vinci, Germanoski, and I, requested in a letter sent on August 17 that the Governance Committee in consultation with PTR evaluate for possible revision the section of the Faculty Handbook that addresses what happens when the President and PTR disagree. This part of our process was last considered by the Faculty in 1999. The Governance Committee has scheduled a special meeting on Friday, Sept. 2, to begin its consideration of this request. I am fully committed to participating in and supporting the efforts of the Governance Committee in this regard.
We have, as always, a number of resources available for those who would find it helpful to talk about their reactions and feelings. Students are encouraged to consult with their faculty advisor, class dean, and/or a confidential counselor at the Counseling Center (610-330-5005). Free, confidential counseling and consultation are available to faculty and staff through the College’s employee assistance program (888-293-6948); Counseling Center staff members will also provide referrals to local mental health providers upon request.
I want to affirm the rights of members of our community to express dissent. As an educational community, we value the opportunities for dialogue that differing views allow.