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April 25, 2024

Editor’s note: Below is a summary of comments made by Board of Trustees Chairperson Robert Schostak during the April 12 trustee meeting, addressing public speakers from the union representing the faculty (OU-AAUP).

“As trustees, our focus is the greater good of the entire university, including students, staff, and of course, our faculty. We understand the important and critical role you play in the everyday life of the university and its success. I know my fellow trustees take this very seriously, with sincerity, and appreciate the faculty deeply.

I also know our president and Cabinet share in the belief that together we are stronger, and that together we can be even better, and that together we will continue to have a great university. We heard from the cabinet and the President today some terrific examples of things happening at the university. Those happen because of our faculty, our great students and great leadership from our Cabinet. There’s always more work that can be done. There’s no question about it. It’s hard to be great and to stay great. But that’s our goal.

We appreciate you sharing the workplace survey and talking to us about it today. We take your points seriously, and I know the administration, to the core, believes that creating a positive working environment and fostering a positive relationship with faculty is important and critical to our success. To that end, the president has mentioned to me there are plans to conduct a full campuswide climate survey by a third-party firm during the next academic year to help us identify areas to further improve the total experience for everybody at Oakland University.

Yes, we are about to begin faculty union negotiations, and I know the administration is approaching this with seriousness, with respect, a desire to be fair, and to achieve a beneficial contract for the entire university community. I am confident that the faculty union is approaching this with the same thing in mind.

It’s important you shared your perspective, and I want you to know we appreciate it. Every one of us, to our core, we believe in the same things. I believe we are all aligned.”