Some graduates to give letter to UE president instead of handshake

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EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – The University of Evansville held its 162nd Commencement Friday in honor of the Class of 2020. The 163rd Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2021 are scheduled to take place Saturday at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Some graduates have chosen to give UE President Christopher Pietruszkiewicz a letter regarding the Institutional Realignment Plan instead of the traditional handshake as they walk across the stage.

The letter can be read below:

Christopher Pietruszkiewicz,

With the introduction of the Institutional Realignment Plan in December 2020, students, alumni, faculty, and the Evansville community rose up in protest in many forms against your plan that was created without abiding to the faculty handbook or the official AAUP guidelines, including the observance of shared governance and transparency among the bodies of the University and community. And the dictatorial methods you and the Board of Trustees used to get this plan passed have not only driven a wedge between you and the rest of the stakeholders of the university, but it may have irrevocably damaged the University’s reputation, academic quality, and any chance of financial stability in the future. If you had just been transparent with us and explained that there was a problem from the beginning, we could have all worked together for the good of our school, but instead you decided to take a path that could be its ultimate downfall.

Rest assured that we are not going anywhere; not only will we continue to be the voice of the students you refuse to hear, but we will use our new-found unity to hold you and all the Trustees accountable for your actions. The time of your breach of fiduciary responsibility to the students of The University of Evansville must end and if you and the Trustees refuse to take responsibility for your mismanagement of our school, we will make sure you and the entire Evansville community knows about it. You want to promote us being Changemakers? We hope that change is you.

We deserve a President that listens to students instead of sitting in their 2nd floor office looking and talking down to them. We deserve a Board of Trustees that knows what the issues of students are and is transparent with them as to how those issues will be solved. We deserve an executive team that gives us opportunities to increase the notoriety of our school and degrees across the world, not create circumstances that lead to the division of the entire school.

We are asking once again for complete transparency, starting with audited financials and the re-adherence to shared governance for the good of our school and its future. If you refuse to treat us with respect as invaluable members of this community, expect to hear much from us into the future.

True & Loyal,

The Fighting Aces

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