The role of the President of this University is one that cannot be taken for granted. The president is supposed to be a steward for those that constitute this University, beholden to the needs of the faculty and student body. Eric Kaler has been nothing but a complete failure in this regard.
Why should we believe that Kaler has our interests at heart when, time and again, his actions show otherwise? Kaler claims to be fighting tuition hikes, but he continues to take a [$625,250 salary] with pay raises while students take on more debt with increased tuition. It isn’t hard to imagine why the state Legislature isn’t willing to give adequate funding when his administration hasn’t even taken a pay cut. However, when his administration needed to find hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight faculty unionization, he had no trouble finding an available slush fund.
The only responses Kaler has had toward the needs of students have been empty gestures. It was no surprise that Kaler [hasn’t officially] declared this University a sanctuary campus — why should anyone expect him to when he has repeatedly defended and tacitly endorsed the same hateful rhetoric that created this threat to undocumented students and staff in the first place? Instead, he hides behind shallow rhetoric about what is “legally” possible, which is nothing but cowardice when students need courage in the face of a Trump presidency that will try to change what is legal.
We need to have a radical imagination about what our president could be tor this University. The president could be chosen in part by the students and faculty and could have real accountability to them. We could have a president willing to fight for students and staff, one who is willing to put his or her administration on the line in order to stand up to the Board of Regents and other forces that threaten livelihoods, and most importantly, willing to give students and workers a real voice in the decisions that affect them the most. Though it is unclear who could be a future president, it is apparent is that Eric Kaler is incapable of fighting for us. He needs to go, now.
Students for a Democratic Society
Editor’s Note: This letter has been lightly edited for style conventions and factual accuracies