The Collective Effort to Resist Staff Layoffs, Pre-empt a Pay Cut, and Demand Competent Leadership

a history


The Student Association initiated the NO DONATE pledge, saying alumni cease donations until the Board of Trustees acted on the demand to remove President LeBlanc and implement shared governance at this university.


GWUFA led a No Confidence Rally and marched to LeBlanc’s house.

Hatchet article on No Confidence Rally

Hundreds of our staff colleagues were laid off in the midst of a pandemic while the federal government’s supplemental unemployment benefits dwindled. GW’s leaders enacted those layoffs instead of using other available sources of funds.

Why?

August 27, 2020: The Washington Post and the City Paper have both run stories with questions about GW’s leadership.

September 2, 2020: Calls for President LeBlanc’s departure have begun.

September 9, 2020: The Hatchet gathers petitions and statements on the lack of confidence in LeBlanc.

September 21, 2020: GW Student Association issues Executive Order calling on LeBlanc to resign.

September 23, 2020: More negative press for LeBlanc on the front page of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

October 1, 2020: GW Student Association passes resolution demanding LeBlanc’s resignation.

March 9, 2020: Dissent Over an Institution’s Future in Inside Higher Ed.

Statements of concern from alumni, deans, and faculty across the university are reprinted below.

Departments and programs wrote statements of solidarity with staff.

Statement from WGSS

Dear Members of the GW Community, The faculty of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Program opposes GW’s draconian approach to its current economic challenges. It includes layoffs, furloughs, an across-the-board 10% reduction in… Read more “Statement from WGSS”

Statement from SEAS Chairs and Associate Deans

To: Thomas LeBlanc, President Grace E. Speights Chair, Board of Trustees Brian Blake, Provost Mark Diaz, Executive Vice President & Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Cc: John Lach, Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Science… Read more “Statement from SEAS Chairs and Associate Deans”

Statement from Geography

The faculty of the Department of Geography unanimously wish to express our profound
opposition to the recent wave of staff layoffs at the university as well as our deep concern
about rumors of still more… Read more “Statement from Geography”

Statement from History

The faculty of the Department of History unanimously wish to express our profound opposition to the recent wave of staff layoffs at the university as well as our deep concern about rumors of still more yet to… Read more “Statement from History”

Statement from American Studies

The faculty of the Department of American Studies oppose GW layoffs. We understand GW’s current economic troubles, but believe the administration has other tools available to deal with them. Namely, it could increase the payout from our nearly $2 billion… Read more “Statement from American Studies”

Statement from Political Science

To: Ilana Feldman, Interim Dean, ESIA
Paul Wahlbeck, Dean, CCAS From: Bruce Dickson, Chair Re: State of GW Date: August 21, 2020 On behalf of the Department of Political Science, I am writing to… Read more “Statement from Political Science”

Statement from Sociology

The faculty of the Department of Sociology oppose the layoffs and suspension of university contributions to retirement funds implemented by the administration, as well as the proposed pay cuts and future layoffs. We also oppose… Read more “Statement from Sociology”

Statement from Law School faculty member

Dear fellow faculty colleagues: I hope you will join with me and other faculty across the University in signing the Open Letter to the Faculty Senate in the link below.  I have been a member of… Read more “Statement from Law School faculty member”

Statement from WGSS Alumni

Dear President LeBlanc, Provost Blake and Board Chair Speights, We write to you as alumni of the George Washington University’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program to express our deepest concern about budget renegotiations that… Read more “Statement from WGSS Alumni”

Statement from CCAS Chairs

Date: August 18, 2020 To: Thomas LeBlanc, President
Cc: Grace E. Speights, Chair, GW Board of Trustees
Brian Blake, Provost
Mark Diaz, Executive Vice President & Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer
Read more “Statement from CCAS Chairs”

Faculty members signed pledges saying they would NOT participate in staff layoffs.

The GW Faculty Senate conducted a survey of faculty across the university, which found little faith in the administration.


And then:

President Thomas LeBlanc announced his "retirement" on 18 May 2021.

Provost Brian Blake left GW to become President of George State University, 10 June 2021.

GWUFA assumes the rest of the Miami crew will also be finding greener pastures.


And now:

We would like to know WHEN STAFF WILL BE REHIRED and WHEN EMPLOYEE RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS WILL BE MADE WHOLE. We would like to know EXACTLY HOW THE $45 MILLION OF RELIEF FUNDS GW RECEIVED HAVE BEEN SPENT and HOW FACULTY, STAFF, AND STUDENTS WILL BE INVOLVED IN SELECTING THE NEXT PRESIDENT AND PROVOST. And we would like a MAJOR RAISE across the board for the enormous work we have put in to keep GW thriving during the global coronavirus pandemic.