Following President Connie Book and Provost Steven House's public statements, three of Elon University's deans have released their own statements to the faculty in their respective schools.
In their emails, the deans clearly expressed that they were not in support of Elon Faculty Forward's movement to unionize.
Deans Rochelle Ford of the School of Communications, Raghu Tadepalli of the School of Business and Gabie Smith of The College of Arts and Sciences, released their statements in that order from Dec. 5 to 6.
Both Tadepalli and Smith's stances were strongly against the movement.
"I oppose the unionization efforts because of the impact it would have on all of us, even those who would not be in the union," Tadepalli wrote. "I feel it would drastically change the Elon culture. Personally, if the unionization effort were to succeed, it would be a very sad day for me."
"As many of you would expect, in my conversations I have openly shared my thoughts about the petition for a union. I am not in support of the petition," Smith wrote. "While I have not asked anyone to share their own views with me, many have done so during our conversations."
Ford was less direct, in her email she expressed her agreement with Book's and House's statements.
"I have trust and confidence in our shared governance model and trust in the ability of the Elon community to work together to address issues and support its faculty, students and staff. I also have trust and great respect for President Book, a member of our faculty, to continue to lead our campus community to address issues that may have led to this desire to unionize," Ford wrote. "Therefore, I too urge our faculty community to discuss and solve issues facing Elon together, as we have in the past."
Ford began her duties as dean in June and believed that releasing a statement was part of her duties.
"As a new dean, I want our faculty to know I trust in Elon's leadership to get through this," Ford said. "What attracted me to Elon was our ability to work together without outside entities."
The two previous institutions Ford worked at, Howard University and Syracuse University, both had non-tenure-track faculty unions. She doesn't believe this is necessary at Elon.
"I have never seen a place as invested in the faculty of all ranks and improving their professional development and quality of life at Elon," Ford said.
These statements from administration come in response to Elon Faculty Forward's first public event hosted on Nov. 29. Several days before the event, a “Dear Colleague” letter was sent to all non-tenure-track faculty members explaining the purpose of the union and encouraging them to join.
The letter was signed by 50 faculty members in all three of these colleges.
Sharon Eisner, adjunct instructor in communications, is one of the public faculty members and is also on the Organizing Committee of Elon Faculty Forward.
"I want Elon, just like we're in the forefront in terms of the environment and terms of service, to be in the forefront in terms of equity and equality," Eisner said. "I don't want to be one of the schools that is left behind, so that adjunct professors and non-tenure-track faculty are treated with less dignity and respect than they might deserve."
Updated at 6:01 p.m. on Dec. 6, 2018 to include the public statements from Dean Raghu Tadepalli and Dean Gabie Smith.
Updated at 6:39 p.m. on Dec. 5, 2018 to include exclusive statements from Dean Rochelle Ford.