Students protest over problems at William Peace University

Some students are upset about what they describe as a declining academic environment at William Peace University.
April 24, 2014 10:05:53 AM PDT
Some students are complaining about what they describe as a declining academic environment at William Peace University and they want the school president to resign.

According to a letter, some, not all, faculty members might agree. The letter was originally intended to be sent anonymously to the school's board of trustees for fear of retaliation, but has since been made public.

In a second letter taking credit for the first, the 14 faculty members say "We continue to believe that there are significant issues impacting the learning environment at Peace and that the institution's president, Dr. Debra Townsley, is responsible for the issues impacting the students and employees."

But many on campus disagree.

"It's been wonderful seeing the growth," said William Peace Faculty Assembly Chairman Roger Christman.

Christman, who is a 14-year associate communications professor believes things at William Peace are up and coming.

The campus is in the process of hiring five new full-time faculty members, adding several new majors, and has successfully integrated young men into the once all-female student body.

"A new cafeteria, new student services, there's been academic programs been added. There's new laboratories," said Christman.

But William Peace student Maigan Kennedy said, beneath the surface, it's been a downhill academic experience for her.

"We're upset, really, and there's not much we can do at this point, but voice our concerns," said Kennedy, who is a theater major.

Kennedy is one of five students who organized a protest Thursday just outside campus to highlight shortcomings. She said she believes the problems started with current President Townsley's tenure four-and-a-half years ago.

"We never know which faculty will remain, how many of our classes will be taught by adjunct professors," said Kennedy. "In addition to that, the small classroom sizes that they boast about don't exist."

That's motivated Kennedy and others to collect more than 300 signatures to ask Townsley to immediately resign and apologize to students and staff.

The students circulating the petition were cited for conduct code violations and could be suspended.

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