Reinstate Larry Lee and Kyle Podziewski
We the campus community is writing to express grave concern about the non-renewal of Mr. Larry Lee and Mr. Kyle Podziewski as instructors in both the Business Department and School of Education, respectively. Both Mr. Lee and Mr. Podziewski have been vocal with their concerns about this administration, which has agenda to both increase control over shared governance and institutional policy, both directly and indirectly. As educators, Mr. Lee and Mr. Podziewski have been campus community voices in recognizing how this administration’s agenda threatens the status of the college’s accreditation and shared governance. News of Mr. Lee’s and Mr. Podzeiwski’s non-renewal by the college president comes just months after articles featuring their criticisms of the administrations ineffectiveness in addressing faculty concerns on transparency, accountability and institutional policy were presented in many news outlets, like this one published in the Pacific Islands Report (http://pidp.org/pireport/2012/December/12-24-02.htm). The campus community is extremely disturbed that this appears to be a case of retaliation. The cornerstone of academic freedom is free and open exchange of ideas. Everyone should be alarmed by the censoring of faculty members who voiced ethical concerns about education and institutional policies. This damages the central mission of the NMC. We urge you to take the following actions immediately: 1. Reinstate Mr. Larry Lee and Mr. Kyle Podzeiwski in their respective faculty position. 2. Make a public commitment to promoting an environment of critical dialogue and inquiry within your administration, to examine the processes and effects of shared governance and institutional policy at the college. As many of us have learned in ED 282 Multicultural Foundations, education is the foundation of a democracy, whose principles must be the core of why we educate and how we educate. We oppose any reform to shared governance and institutional policy that place increased control over decision-making in the hands of those driven by self-interest. We support Mr. Lee and Mr. Podziewski for they are part of the increasing number of educators, parents, and citizens from across the CNMI who are building a movement to reclaim democracy as a foundational purpose of public education by opposing so called reforms that remove or threaten democratic practices. The Northern Marianas College must develop a reputation for educational leadership. Faculty should be allowed to take unpopular stands as afforded by academic freedom in order to make socially just education possible. It is our hope that you embrace these principles and respond promptly to our requests.