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Faculty And Lecturers Rally To Stop Private Company From Facilitating EMU's Online Program

Jorge Avellan
Faculty and Lecturers held a rally on campus.

Faculty and lecturers at Eastern Michigan University held a rally this morning to protest, what they're calling, a violation of their labor union contract.

Over 30 people gathered outside of the administration building on campus.  They're trying to convince university officials to end a service agreement with the Texas-based company, Academic Partnerships.  AP is helping Eastern facilitate its online degree program. 

Judy Kullberg is the president of Eastern's American Association of University Professors.

"There is no need for that. It's ridiculous. The university is just going to hand money over to a private company for what? We create the curriculum, we deliver it, we teach it. Why are they getting 50% of the revenue and fees?"

Kullberg refers to the revenue the company will get for students they recruit.  A couple hours later, during a Board of Regents meeting, Kullberg presented the board with a petition with over 1,100 signatures protesting the Academic Partnership agreement.

EMU president James Smith explained after the meeting why they're interested in working with AP.

"They're going to market around the country and probably around the world.  I don't have those marketing dollars to invest." 

Smith added that Eastern does not plan to outsource any jobs.

Below are other topics that were discussed today at Eastern Michigan University's Board of Regents meeting.

* Eastern Michigan University to monetize its parking operations in 35-year agreement.  Eastern Michigan University has entered into a 35-year agreement with Preston Hollow Capital to have LAZ Parking operate Eastern’s extensive parking facilities, a move that will provide the University $55 million in an upfront payment that will be used to fund needed capital improvements and bolster University reserves.

* Eastern Michigan University is embarking on three new capital projects that embrace major improvements in the areas of academics, student life and athletics.

The three projects are:

• The renovation and expansion of Sill Hall, home of the College of Technology, in support of the University’s existing, new and future engineering and technology programs – which are a crucial element in furnishing skilled professionals for high-demand jobs in Michigan. The estimated cost is $40 million.

• Renovation of the Rec/IM facility, to be initiated in summer of 2018. The extensive Rec/IM Building plan, which is a major student priority among our students, includes a variety of upgrades that will increase the facility’s physical appeal as well as the range of activities, services and student wellness initiatives available. The estimated cost is $16 million.

• Construction of a new building to provide contemporary sports medicine and performance training services. The estimated cost, which will be heavily supported by fundraising, is $20 million.

The EMU Board of Regents approved the three supplemental capital projects, with a total cost of $76 million, at its regular meeting Friday, Dec. 15.

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— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him javellan@emich.edu

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