The Ohio University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (OU-AAUP) today announces, in the renewed spirit of shared governance on campus, the release of a comprehensive white paper (attached) detailing its proposal to bring the university’s athletic academic support programs under the control of an academic entity. OU-AAUP makes this request to President Dr. Duane Nellis, Interim Provost Dr. David Descutner, Director of Athletics Jim Schaus, Faculty Athletic Representatives Dr. Ann Gabriel and Dr. Jim Colvin, and Dr. Heather Lawrence, Chair of the Ohio University Intercollegiate Athletics Committee.
OU-AAUP believes that in light of ubiquitous academic scandals in NCAA Division I athletics the faculty, as guardians of the curriculum and of academic integrity, must resolutely urge changes to how Ohio University manages athletic academic support and advising. These proposals do not intend in any way to impugn the integrity or motivations of anyone associated with Ohio University or the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics; rather, they are in line with trends across NCAA Division I athletics. The proposals are a necessary risk management measure to protect everyone on campus, most notably the athletes and academic advisors, and to prevent an eligibility driven culture from forming and undermining the university’s primary academic mission.
The changes proposed in these recommendations will prevent a range of problems, including limiting the freedom of our athletes to explore the full range of curriculum at Ohio University and subverting the integrity of the academic experience for the athlete and for the student body as a whole. The OU-AAUP is asking specifically that the supervision, financing, management, and control of the soon-to-be finished Sook Center cease to remain under the control of the athletic department in any way. Instead, we recommend structuring the center as an auxiliary service under the direct supervision and funding of an academic office. Separating advising from the Athletic Department will protect what is often called our “Front Porch” (the Division I athletics programs) by preventing scandals associated with athletics and preserving the academic reputation of Ohio University as a whole.
Finally, the OU-AAUP urges that every Ohio University student, athlete and non-athlete alike, receive full access to the Sook Center services as restructured in accord with our recommendations. OU students substantially support athletics through the hefty activity fees that they are required to pay. They therefore deserve full access to the Sook Center. Additionally, opening the new center to all students will help integrate athletes into the wider university community.
OU-AAUP held a press conference Tuesday, October 17th at 2:00 PM at Ohio University in Lindley Hall S338 to discuss the white paper and the proposals.
Click here to download the OU-AAUP White Paper on the Sook Center and Academic Advising.