The Faculty Senate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville said last week that it opposes acquisition of the University of Phoenix by a nonprofit affiliated with the University of Arkansas system, The Arkansas Times reported.
Stephen E. Caldwell said, “As chair of our Faculty Senate, it is my duty to represent and express the concerns of that body on all matters effecting our campus. I cannot think of any other issue that has so universally bound our faculty into a singular voice, and I am proud to represent that voice.”
In a letter to the Board of Trustees of the system, the Faculty Senate said, “Though you acknowledge the ‘checkered past’ of the University of Phoenix, we feel you are too quick to dismiss those problems as being in the past. We feel the reputation of Phoenix’s history will linger for years to come, and our campus is at the most risk for association with it. The University of Phoenix has proven itself, through strikingly low graduation and retention rates, to be unsuccessful at helping students reach their educational goals, anathema to what we do here on the Hill.”
The letter added, “Phoenix’s well-documented history of dishonest and predatory practices with students resulting in poor educational experiences are the defining features of the University of Phoenix brand, in opposition to ours.”
System spokesman Nate Hinkel said “that the contemplated structure of this potential deal would use no public funds and that the University of Arkansas System is not acquiring University of Phoenix.” Hinkel said those facts have been “heavily reported” and “explained in great detail,” though he said parts of the letter were “misleading” in this regard. “It’s important to be clear about that so there isn’t any confusion,” he said.