The Wisconsin chapter of the American Association of University Professors has asked for the University of Alaska president to be removed as a candidate for president of the University of Wisconsin.
A Tuesday statement from the AAUP reads: “AAUP Wisconsin expresses its strong opposition to the selection of University of Alaska System President Jim Johnsen as the sole finalist for the position of UW system president. The faculty at both the Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses of the Alaska system voted no confidence in Johnsen’s leadership in 2017, and the Anchorage faculty called on their board to suspend Johnsen in 2019.”
Johnsen has been UA president since 2015.
In 2017, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Faculty Senate, when voting no confidence in Johnsen, cited a desire to be included in decisions made for the university. The University of Alaska Anchorage’s call for suspension was spurred from concerns that an administrative consolidation and expedited academic review violated Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities standards.
The Wisconsin AAUP noted that these are disqualifying attributes in any candidate, adding that it opposes Johnsen’s candidacy in the “strongest possible terms."
“The problems here are compounded by the search committee’s decision to name Johnsen as the sole finalist. This is a departure from accepted academic standards. It suggests either a weak candidate pool or a fixed search,” the statement reads.
“The regents chose to pursue an unprecedented search process that excluded faculty, staff, and non-regent students. This is its predictably egregious result," it reads.
Instead, the organization asked the Wisconsin Board of Regents to remove Johnsen’s candidacy and declare a failed search.
The full statement is available here.
In response to a request for comment, UA spokeswoman Robbie Graham provided the following statement:
"President Johnsen will meet with the University of Wisconsin staff, faculty and community next week and is looking forward to engaging with them on all topics," she wrote.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct that Johnsen will not be traveling to Wisconsin. He will be meeting with members of the University of Wisconsin community through online means.
Contact staff writer Kyrie Long at 459-7510. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/FDNMlocal