Photo courtesy of Corrin Kliewer
To President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, Chief of Staff Joshua Merchant, Provost Britt Rios-Ellis, and the Board of Trustees:
My name is Corrin Kliewer, and I am a fourth-year student completing my degree in Flute Performance at Oakland University. The reason I came to OU was because of a singular professor I had known while in high school. I knew my education would be in good hands with her. I had no idea of the immense support I would receive from every other professor. When I walked into Varner Hall and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance for the New Student Orientation, several professors knew my name. I didn’t even know most of these professors, but they knew me. They took the time to know who I was and where I came from before I even started my education. That is the level of dedication and the power of the professors at OU: to make students feel welcomed and heard.
The news of a decrease in livelihood for the faculty members, not the administration, at Oakland University is cataclysmic beyond belief. It’s unfortunate to begin this year with bureaucratic corruption rather than excitement for education. I was proud to call Oakland University my school. I am still proud to be a Golden Grizzly but only because of the community of professors and students. This new contract undermines the people who are the backbone of this institution, is unacceptable, and must be amended. After 18 months of faculty pulling us students through the trials of this pandemic, I find it inhumane for the administration to treat the faculty with disregard.
To the professors reading this, thank you for everything you have poured into your students. My greatest moments of growth have come from your kindness and dedication. I will always remember the profound impact each educator has had on my studies and outlook on life. Each and every single professor I have encountered at OU has given me the courage to keep moving forward and continue chasing my dreams. Some even helped me discover new dreams, for which I am eternally grateful.
To the administrators reading this, please consider how your treatment of the professors is a poor reflection of the university. If you are putting the weight of your emphasis on business, student enrollment, and profits, what are you trying to teach us as students? If the goal of higher education is to open the minds of students, what are you filling our minds with? How can future students be encouraged let alone be interested in attending a university unwilling to fairly treat its faculty?
To the students reading this, use your voice. We must use the voices we have been given to bring light to this appalling situation. They cannot ignore us because we will not be silent.