An organization of independent, concerned, and committed members of the Canisius College Community—alumni, students, past and current faculty and staff—has come together to reassert the principle of shared governance in higher education, to reinvest in the Jesuit mission and identity of Canisius College, and to help lead a transparent and collaborative movement to restore trust and confidence in the college in the wake of its remarkable decline in financial stewardship, enrollment, and morale of faculty, staff, and students.
We are a group of alumni, students, benefactors, and current and past faculty and staff of Canisius College who are alarmed by financial and spiritual turmoil that has plagued the college for the past decade, and that now threatens its very existence.
We are dismayed at the perfunctory charade of shared governance at the college, and are fearful that its current course will lead it to ruin. We do not believe that the college is on the right path, and we do not believe that the college will be able to reform itself without significant involvement of the faculty, alumni, students, and members of the greater Canisius community. We are determined to help the college look both to its historic, Jesuit identity, and to look forward into a rapidly transforming educational landscape; to implement meaningful reforms at every level; and to restore trust and confidence in its leadership and in the principles and processes of shared governance.
We seek to give voice to students, alumni, faculty, staff, benefactors, and other community members who share our frustration and alarm about the state of the college. We seek to educate the broader community about the state of the college and to empower its most committed members to participate in shaping its recovery and renewal. We seek to instill in all parts of the community a refreshed commitment to the principles of shared governance—including necessary shared sacrifice.
We come forward in a spirit of faith—faith in Canisius College and faith in the collective ability of its community to envision a bold but sustainable way forward.
We believe that all members of the Canisius College community—faculty, staff, and administrators; alumni and students; lay and ordained; members of the Boards of Regents and Trustees along with friends and benefactors—are called to create together a new culture of leadership and management that is transparent, accountable, competent, and grounded in justice in order to restore trust and safeguard the essential mission of the Canisius College.
We wish to enlist the entire Canisius community.
We want to hear and listen to the people of color who feel they do not currently have a voice.
We want to hear from current students who have not had a meaningful role in the discussion, even though tuition revenue generates the lion’s share of the college’s operating income.
We want to hear from the faculty and staff who have dedicated their lives to serving the college but who have not had the opportunity to review decisions and have not been involved in substantive debates over the college’s direction.
We do not raise our voices to offer a rigid and finalized set of alternative solutions, but to call on the entire community to help in finding the best way forward together. However, we do hold four broad commitments that we believe will guide this process.
A commitment to shared governance: the return to a place where faculty, staff, students, alumni, and benefactors work hand in hand with the administration in an equal partnership;
Complete transparency about financials, enrollment management, athletics, curriculum, and all other aspects of the administration of the college;
New transparent structures for functioning of the administration and Board of Trustees;
Openness, transparency, and accountability: a way of addressing leadership failure and eliminating outdated and secretive management practices.
Further, we seek to accomplish the following goals, which we believe to be prerequisites for bringing about meaningful, sustainable, and mission-centric transformation:
A public commitment by the college administration and Board of Trustees to develop and invest in a new culture of leadership and moral management that is transparent and accountable;
Implementing a leadership and management model based on standards outlined by both the Association of Governing Boards and the AAUP;
Convening and including independent experts from a range of disciplines in the operations of the college, with an emphasis on matching responsibilities to relevant subject-matter expertise;
Establishing mechanisms for full financial transparency and accountability;
Ensuring human resource practices that include effective selection, training, assignment, remuneration, and evaluations;
Rebuilding trust based on transparent and measurable change in the new leadership and management culture.
In all that we do, we are committed to six basic principles: co-responsibility, transparency, accountability, competency, justice, and trust.