We like to joke about financial problems here at the UIP blog, in part because most of our sibling presses can relate, in part because the gods created comedy to allow humans to express pain in socially acceptable ways. But on occasion the money issue fights its way into the frontal lobe of the AAUP collective and must be taken seriously.
On Wednesday, August 12, trustees at the University of Akron will discuss the fate of the school’s award-winning university press. The Akron staff and its allies are mobilizing to lobby the trustees with signs, music, and love; meanwhile, social media is already on the job and lays out the brief on what’s going on:
The actions by the University of Akron administration in laying off the UA Press director and staff and proposing to transfer operations to an already-understaffed library would mean the end of the Press as a legitimate academic publisher.
I have known and worked with, and I continue to know and work with, administrators who work toward the greater good and serve as true stewards. But as is so often the case, the facts of this situation include the usual bloated salaries at the top of the university food chain, alongside a troubling lack of clarity as to where the university’s money is being allocated.
Anyone who follows what’s happening in academia is familiar with the stakes, the adversaries, and the motivations behind this brand of budget cutting. It’s hard to believe that closing a university press—in all but a few cases a small number buried in a gigantic budget—will make any difference to a school’s bottom line. Actually, “hard to believe” gives administrators too much credit. It won’t make any difference.
Fortunately, there are ways to help:
- Sign and share the Change.org petition “Restore Funding for University of Akron Press“
- Tweet your thoughts using the hashtag #SaveUAkronPress
- Write to the University of Akron Board at BoardOffice@uakron.edu
- Write to University President Scott Scarborough at email@example.com, or tweet @PresScarborough
- Buy books from the University of Akron Press