To the President and the Provost:
Through these last few weeks of separation, many of us have been thinking about what it means to have “Love and Honor.” Being away from Oxford has been more difficult than many of us anticipated, causing us to reflect on what makes being a Miami student so great in the first place.
It isn’t just the friends — every other college student we know has made lifelong friends at their respective universities. It isn’t just the Greek life, or the athletic teams, or the beautiful campus or the uptown scene. We miss all of these things deeply, but what sets Miami apart from every other university are the classes we take and the professors we learn from.
Last month, most Visiting Assistant Professors and other contingent faculty were notified that their contracts were not being renewed for next semester. We students were heartbroken by this news. We weren’t even aware that some of these professors were at risk of not returning. We face never looking our beloved professors in the face again and not getting to say goodbye, knowing it would be our last.
To us, these faculty members are not worth any less. They are our mentors, our role models, our greatest supporters and advisors. From the front lines, we have been able to see the hard work they are putting in online, making sure their students are not only safe, but comfortable and happy.
These Visiting Assistant Professors are pillars of the Miami community and exemplify Love and Honor to their students every day. We are dismayed to know that the university is tossing them to the side in such a turbulent time as a first resort in response to economic hardships. We feel that in this unprecedented time of global pandemic, it is Miami’s responsibility to take care of their own, in a time where these professors and their families need health insurance tied to their employment.
We know that no decisions are final yet, but we urge the university to investigate other areas to cut spending that wouldn’t harm the academic mission of the university. It hurts our hearts to even have to write a letter on this subject, but we feel it is important for the administration to know that we stand behind our professors and are extremely invested in the possibility of them returning to campus next semester.
With Love, Honor and Solidarity,
Jaycee Streeter, History Department
Georgia Mantel, Chemistry Department
Madeline McKinney, Engineering Department
Mackenzie Mueller, Political Science Department
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