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March 4, 2024

The following is a statement from Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz 

As a campus community, we have a shared commitment to our mission, which is to cultivate the full potential of a diverse and inclusive community. As a public doctoral institution, we impact Michigan and the world through education, research, scholarship and creative activity. It is in this cooperative spirit that the OU administration is looking forward to continuing to work together with faculty in all our endeavors.

Our faculty members’ contributions are critical to student success, research, community engagement and achieving OU’s strategic goals and long-term success as a University of Choice. We are eager to begin negotiations with the faculty union this spring with a forward-looking perspective, and we share the common goal of reaching a fair and equitable contract that addresses key issues in a way that benefits the faculty as well as our entire community.

The administration has assembled a bargaining team with the knowledge and expertise to have productive and successful discussions with the faculty union, aiming toward collaborative solutions. It includes key members across academic and faculty affairs, as well as human resources and finance and administration. The team also draws on the knowledge of outside counsel, as well as a recently retired dean, both with extensive experience and understanding of the key issues facing the university.

Members include (view bios):

  • Joi Cunningham, VP, Human Resources
  • Peggy Cooke, Assistant VP of Academic Affairs 
  • Nivedita Mukherji, Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs  
  • Tom LeMarbe, Associate VP for Finance and Administration 
  • Judy Didion, retired School of Nursing Dean
  • Rob Boonin, External Legal Counsel

In the coming months, despite potentially differing viewpoints, the administration is committed to engaging in a thoughtful and respectful process. I have full trust and confidence in both our bargaining team and union leadership to negotiate in good faith and reach common ground. I am committed to fostering transparency and open communications within our community during negotiations.

I strongly believe that a healthy relationship between faculty and the administration is vital for Oakland University’s  long-term success, and I will do everything in my power to personally ensure that a healthy relationship is nurtured. Thank you for your commitment to our shared mission and your contributions to the vibrant academic community that is Oakland University.