Ad campaign seeking reform in UA governance

By Grant Morgan, Managing Editor

A new campaign is in progress to reform the way top decisions are being made at The University of Akron.

Paid for by “Advocates for The University of Akron, Students and Faculty,” the campaign has so far included five three-quarter-page black-and-white ads printed in the Akron Beacon Journal.

“STOP” was the word printed in enormous letters on the first ad run last Friday, Dec. 11.

Addressed to The University of Akron administration and Board of Trustees, and signed on the bottom by more than 300 community members, it read, “we are gravely concerned about the direction you are taking our beloved institution. Dubious decisions relative to job eliminations, contracts, budgets and program changes are diminishing the quality of our University and the value of the education offered to its students.”

In just as large letters as the first, the second ad printed on Dec. 12 read, “PLEASE…re-evaluate the current course of action so that we may continue to carry out the University’s mission and vision.” This ad included the results of the Akron chapter of the American Association of University Professor’s survey results released earlier this year. (Check out the survey here.)

The third ad on Dec. 13 attempted to capture the paradigm of students, saying their morale is deflated and their career prospects threatened by “questionable decisions being made regarding the University.”

In Dec. 14’s Beacon Journal was a rerun of the first ad; Dec. 15’s, the second ad. Each ad is being printed twice.

“We believe that what is best for the University of Akron and the greater Akron community is for those who care about both to work together to ensure the university’s long-term success and continued positive impact on the community,” UA spokesman Wayne Hill said in response to the campaign.

These ads are in the wake of a full-page ad printed in the Beacon Journal on Nov. 29, which was signed by seven of Akron’s prominent business leaders and urged the community to give the changes at UA some time. That ad was paid for by The University of Akron Foundation through private, non-scholarship funds. (Find more information here.)

UA grad student Tom Guarino at Dec. 9's Board of Trustees protest, holding up a $5,000 check to parody the UA Foundation's payment of the Nov. 29 Akron Beacon Journal ad.
Kristina Aiad-Toss
UA grad student Tom Guarino at Dec. 9’s Board of Trustees protest, holding up a $5,000 check to parody the UA Foundation’s payment of the Nov. 29 Akron Beacon Journal ad.


One day later on Nov. 30, UA announced that these same business leaders would be part of a new Business Executive Advisory Council formed to advise President Scott Scarborough and the Board. The council met for the first time on Monday, Dec. 14.

According to a Dec. 10 article in the Beacon Journal, UA has also hired Falls Communications of Cleveland to help the school’s leadership build a better communication strategy. Hill said the firm will be paid up to $50,000.