Signers object to age bias expressed in email.
By Bleah B. Patterson
A petition urging the resignation of District 7 trustee Yvonne Katz is intended to call attention to her unacceptable bias against older, tenured faculty, Lang Coleman of the St. Philip’s College chapter of the American Association of University Professors, or AAUP, said Tuesday.
“A resignation petition can be signed by anyone in any place within Bexar County and prove a point,” he said in a phone interview.
Faculty have been circulating the petition through the five Alamo Colleges for about three weeks and will collect them to count the signatures the week of Nov. 24, Coleman said.
The petition at this point is not to force a recall.
Coleman said he does not know how many signatures there are yet, nor does he know where the petition originated.
This college’s Faculty Senate is not yet supporting the petition, according to an email from Faculty Senate President Dawn Elmore.
“We were aware and have not taken an official position on it. Dr. Coleman from SPC will be coming to SAC’s Faculty Senate special meeting on Monday, Nov. 24, to make a presentation on the matter,” she wrote.
Librarian Celita DeArmond, president of this college’s chapter of AAUP, said she has not seen the petition.
The petition was circulated after an email from Katz to Leslie was leaked in which she expressed a preference for hiring younger employees to replace older ones.
Inside Higher Ed, a national education publication, quoted an excerpt from her email in a Sept. 25 article: “We truly need the early retirement plan to pass so we can get some of the old farts out and let the younger, excited, enthused ones take the new teaching and leadership positions.”
The publication cited the email written in fall 2013 after the first retirement incentive began Aug. 31, 2013. The board approved a second retirement incentive, which began Jan. 9.
Coleman said the goal is to get enough signatures to make a point to the board, to Katz and local politicians.
“I’m not kidding myself, thinking that the politicians have any power. The idea is to get someone on a higher level (than the trustees) and put some pressure on them,” he said.
Coleman said he believes the bias against tenured faculty is a reflection of both Katz and Leslie or she would not have felt comfortable sending the email to him.
“We don’t know if (Leslie) responded to the emails,” Coleman said.
According to the district board of trustees policy, the only way to recall a trustee is to have a judge make a ruling based on petitions from the constituents of that district.
State law dictates there would have to be signatures equivalent to 10 percent of the voter turnout for that district’s election.
He said if Katz does not “get with the program,” it would be “easy to get enough signatures from her district. We might pursue that.”
Katz was elected May 2012, and her term expires May 2018.
The Ranger is still waiting for district to release the emails, which are public information. Also, neither Katz nor Leslie has returned phone calls requesting an interview.