News of the University of Arizona’s planned acquisition of Ashford University did not go over well for many Arizona faculty members.
Thousands of faculty members at the University of Arizona were blindsided Monday when they learned of their institution’s plans to purchase Ashford University.
On social media, questions quickly arose about why Arizona professors didn’t know about the deal in advance and what the arrangement would mean for the university’s reputation.
“I felt sickened,” said Leila Hudson, a University of Arizona professor of Middle Eastern and North African studies and faculty senate member, recalling the moment she found out about the planned acquisition of Ashford on Twitter.
Hudson, like many of her colleagues, had no idea the announcement was coming. She questioned why a public institution would want to associate itself with an institution such as Ashford, which she said has a reputation for preying on vulnerable students.
In a three-hour Faculty Senate meeting late Monday, many professors echoed these concerns, expressing frustration and anger at what they characterized as a lack of transparency demonstrated by university leaders. Aside from discussing the Ashford acquisition, meeting attendees also scrutinized the safety of the university’s reopening plans and questioned whether looming faculty furloughs are necessary to offset a projected $250 million budget shortfall caused by COVID-19.