Dear College of Education community,
The death of Jordan McNair in June of this year was a tragedy, and like many in our community, I share concerns about the events that have transpired over the past several months.
As you may have heard, the independent commission on the culture of Maryland’s football program recently completed their work and provided a report to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. President Loh and Athletic Director Damon Evans have accepted responsibility for the troubling behaviors found within the program and agreed to implement recommendations that include reforms to ensure the safety and well-being of all student-athletes.
In a press conference on Tuesday, October 30, President Loh announced his retirement, effective July 1, 2019, and the Board of Regents recommended that DJ Durkin return from administrative leave. Subsequently, there was widespread opposition to Durkin’s reinstatement by academic and student leadership on campus. Ultimately, President Loh decided it was in the best interest of the university to part ways with DJ Durkin.
I join with the academic deans of the University in expressing serious concerns about the Board of Regents’ role in this decision, as expressed in the statement that follows from the campus academic leadership. The statement firmly challenges the Board of Regents' recent actions, and calls upon the Board of Regents and the leadership of the State of Maryland to respect the legal and established governance practices with respect to the flagship campus of the University System of Maryland.
Most importantly, in all we do, the University should be guided by and realize our responsibility to educate, support and protect our students. This responsibility to our students requires a steadfast commitment to promoting an inclusive and supportive atmosphere that treats each person with respect and dignity. As a College of Education, we must do everything in our power to promote that kind of environment in which each individual feels safe and can thrive.
Jennifer King Rice
Dean and Professor, University of Maryland College of Education
November 1, 2018
Statement of the Academic Leadership of the University of Maryland, College Park
We, the academic leaders of the University of Maryland, write to express our dismay and deep concern for the events and the process that has led to the forced retirement of President Wallace D. Loh. We have been extremely alarmed for weeks by the interference of the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents into University governance matters. It is the President who is responsible for personnel matters at the University, and it is within the President’s discretion and authority to decide whether to retain athletics staff. Through its intervention, the Board of Regents usurped the President’s authority and intervened in the ability of the President to carry out his full duties and responsibilities. Neither the by-laws of the Board of Regents nor state law give authority to the Regents to take such actions.
As an institution of higher learning, the mission of the University of Maryland is to deliver excellence in teaching, research, and service that is of benefit to the state, the nation, and the world. Our strength as a University and as a community is based upon upholding our core values. First and foremost, we have a duty of care, and burden of responsibility for our students. In all we do, we must be guided by and realize our primary responsibility: to educate, support and protect our students.
The violation of the independence of the University to manage its human resources and operations compromises the governance structure of the University, impacts our credibility and our ability to deliver the educational services for which we exist as a public land-grant institution. It has already damaged the trust of students and their families, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and supporters.
Standard VII of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which accredits all institutions of higher education in this region, states: “The institution is governed and administered in a manner that allows it to realize its stated mission and goals in a way that effectively benefits the institution, its students, and the other constituencies it serves. Even when supported by or affiliated with governmental, corporate, religious, educational system, or other unaccredited organizations, the institution has education as its primary purpose, and it operates as an academic institution with appropriate autonomy.” Therefore, the recent actions of the Board of Regents jeopardizes this autonomy, and may affect our accreditation status with a number of higher education governing bodies.
We support the well-reasoned and thoughtful steps that President Wallace Loh has taken in support of these principles and upholding the independence of the campus. We hereby call upon the Board of Regents and the leadership of the State of Maryland to return to legal and established governance practices with respect to the flagship campus of the University system of Maryland.
We believe Dr. Loh’s leadership is critical for the university at this challenging time and we call upon the Board of Regents and the Chancellor to publicly affirm its support for Dr. Loh’s continued leadership of the state’s flagship university.
Mary Ann Rankin, Senior Vice President and Provost
Gregory Ball, Dean, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Craig Beyrouty, Dean, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
William Cohen, Dean, Undergraduate Studies
Lucy Dalglish, Dean, Phillip Merrill College of Journalism
Bonnie Thornton Dill, Dean, College of Arts and Humanities
Steve Fetter, Dean, The Graduate School
Babak Hamidzadeh, Dean, Libraries
Don Linebaugh, Interim Dean, School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Boris Lushniak, Dean, School of Public Health
Keith Marzullo, Dean, College of Information Studies
Robert Orr, Dean, School of Public Policy
Darryll Pines, Dean, A. James Clark School of Engineering
Jennifer Rice, Dean, College of Education
Alex Triantis, Dean, Robert H. Smith School of Business
Amitabh Varshney, Dean, College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences