By Laken Franchetti, Editor-in-Chief
President Bob Iuliano began Thursday’s faculty meeting by addressing the recent termination of the Gettysburg Review.
Iuliano said the Review is something any institution would be proud to have. He stated that the Chairperson of the English Department Christopher D’Addario was made aware of the decision to end the Review before it was made.
Iuliano then explained why he believes the decision was the right one. He said that the publication does not directly or substantially support the student experience at Gettysburg College. Iuliano also noted that the Review is not financially independent and is subsidized by the college. This funding has involved transferring student tuition dollars to pay for the publication.
Iuliano stated that the path forward requires the administration to reduce costs without significantly undermining the student experience. He said that the greatest impact of the Review was on an external audience more so than on current or prospective students. Iuliano shared that he found the decision to end the Gettysburg Review necessary and appropriate.
Professor of biology Véronique Delesalle took to a microphone to share her heartbreak over the decision and to say that her trust in the institution did not currently exist.
Remarks from the Provost
Provost Jamila Bookwala spoke about the study abroad programs that were on the docket for motion. She reminded faculty that the Provost’s Office is looking closely at the study abroad program to find new ways to restructure it, to think about short-term programs, and to implement home-grown programs.
The three study abroad programs being voted on are already active, and students are on these programs now.
Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Jeanne Hamming then spoke on gathering information about faculty advising. A survey will be sent out to first-year advisees through Navigate to establish a baseline to assess faculty advising. In the spring, a similar survey will be open to all class years.
Hamming also said that the Curricular Implementation Committee (CIC) has been created. The selection of the individuals on this committee was made keeping in mind representation and ensuring that the individual can bring expertise in the areas of data and society as well as the instruction of writing for first-year students.
Professor of English Christopher Fee asked if this was a new body put together ad hoc outside of the service requirements in the handbook. Hamming responded by confirming that it was.
Academic Policy and Program Committee Motions
Chairperson of the Italian Studies Department and Chair of Academic Policy and Program Committee (APPC) Lidia HwaSoon Anchisi presented three Center for Global Education (CGE) motions.
The study abroad programs voted on were in Trinidad and Tobago, the Intern Philly program through Arcadia University and in Singapore. All three motions were passed.
Political science professor Bruce Anders Larson questioned why the faculty was voting on these programs if they were already active. Interim Director of CGE Jesse Phillips said that these motions were from last spring, yet faculty did not get to vote on it then as they were deliberating on the new curriculum.
Chairperson for the Religious Studies Department Deborah Sommer questioned why the study abroad program with CET Academic Programs in Beijing was not being run at Gettysburg. She also questioned what the cost per student for study abroad programs is and how the college is able to spend money on these programs when they cannot afford the Gettysburg Review.
Phillips explained that for the past few years, it has been difficult to find a program where East Asian studies students could go to study Chinese where it was spoken, and this was the reasoning for activating the Singapore program.
Hamming clarified how the college pays the difference of what a student pays in tuition and how much the study abroad program costs.
The motion to delay the implementation of the new curriculum was voted and approved. This curriculum will now be rolled out during the fall semester of 2025 rather than 2024.
A motion was proposed by Chairperson of the Physics Department Bret E. Crawford for the faculty handbook to be modified on voting privileges for adjunct faculty. Crawford ceded his time to speak for further discussion about the Gettysburg Review. This motion would be discussed and voted on at the next faculty meeting.
The Self-Study Steering Committee’s Report
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Co-Chair of the Self-Study Steering Committee Amy Evrard asked faculty to look for an email containing a draft of the self-study report. She said that the committee will want feedback on the report. Evrard ceded her time as well for more time left to discuss the Gettysburg Review.
The English Department’s Response to the Gettysburg Review’s Termination
D’Addario made a statement regarding the administration’s decision to end the Gettysburg Review. He expressed his disappointment at the end of the publication and said that the college had not recognized what it had with the Review. D’Addario said that he was informed of the decision to close the Review shortly before the closure itself, yet the Provost instructed him to keep that information confidential, thus not allowing him to discuss the matter with anyone prior to the public release of the decision.
In his statement, D’Addario said that the Review is how the majority of people in the publishing and creative writing world have learned about Gettysburg College. He also shared that a disappointed writer in response to this closure likened the actions to Penn State University closing their football program.
D’Addario said that this decision directly impacts student learning and experience on campus. Because of the Review’s reputation, D’Addario shared that the English Department has had the ability to attract a variety of writers to serve as the Emerging Writer Lecturer for the past 20 years. He also acknowledged that the student internship opportunity given to students through the Gettysburg Review is gone.
D’Addario said that many members of the faculty have been left wondering how much the college’s administration values the humanities in a liberal arts education.
Delesalle then commented on what she believed to be a poor decision to close the Review. She acknowledged her understanding that hard decisions have to be made yet expressed disappointment in how this decision was made and announced. She thought that the email sent by the college administration was disrespectful in its lack of acknowledging the names of Gettysburg Review Editor Mark Drew and Managing Editor Lauren Hohle. She concluded by saying this decision does not represent her values.
Associate Professor of English Stefanie Sobelle spoke on how alternatives could have been explored to save the Review financially and to use it to bring in alternate forms of revenue. Sobelle said that by publicizing the information of its closing, there have been massive amounts of support from the community, including promises of donations. She also stated that she did not agree with the administration’s statement that the Review was not significant to student success.
Professor of English and Graeff Chair Christopher Fee spoke on how he has been at the college for 27 years, and he recognized that hard choices and decisions are inevitable. However, Fee said that the decision to close the Gettysburg Review was not good business practice. He stated that if the Gettysburg Review is not important enough to save, the arts are not important enough to save.
Fee claimed that the numbers and Review budget Iuliano cited at the faculty town hall meeting on Oct. 4 were incorrect as they supposedly included the salary for an employee who has not worked at the Review in years. Fee also said that this budget did not take into account the publication’s grant money or the funds that the Review would pay back to the college that it did not spend. Fee recognized that it still took a lot of money to run the publication, yet he did not support the firing of Drew and Hohle, who have been at the college for a combined time of 30 years.
Iuliano disagreed with Fee’s claim that the cited budget was incorrect. Adjunct instructor in interdisciplinary studies Matt Greene argued that Iuliano had not been listening to what the faculty just discussed and brought to his attention.
A round of applause, called for by Delesalle, was held for Drew and Hohle to recognize their work on the Gettysburg Review.
Iuliano then adjourned the meeting.
Editor’s Note: The author of this article served as an intern for the Gettysburg Review last spring semester. On request from Chairperson of the English Department Christopher D’Addario, this article was edited at 5:52 p.m. on October 6, 2023 to clarify his remarks on his prior knowledge of the Gettysburg Review’s closing.