Saturday, 4 August 2012

University of New Orleans Press

Keep Bill Lavender as Director of UNO Press
[Apologies -- I have gathered together material from several sources though I have tried to avoid duplication
Bill Lavender -- don't worry if you haven't heard of him -- is being treated appallingly by dungheads. The first few paras give you the basis and then there's a petition...
But you might like to read on and see the delightful email of dismissal he was sent -- and a bit further to see what the students think]

The University of New Orleans Press has be put on "hiatus" and its motivating editor, Bill Lavender, fired. The presumptive reason was that of budget constraints, but in fact the Press was cost free. It also published an international range of writers, many of them prize winners or otherwise notable. Bill Lavender had, in fact, taken a rather lifeless creature in 2007 and enlivened it with over 100 publications, a remarkable achievement.

After 15 years of service as an instructor at UNO, building a highly successful and self-supporting Low-Residency MFA program and rehabilitating UNO Press from 10 years of neglect, making it also self-sustaining and publishing some amazing contemporary poetry, translation, and scholarship, Bill Lavender has been given the sack under the guise of "budget cuts", though both the programs he participates in at SELF-SUSTAINING.

In support of UNO Press and in support of Bill Lavender and in support of fine literature and good reading, please visit UNO Press's site and then consider signing a petition indicating your support.

UNO Press:

Petition site:

You may also wish to write personal letters to the President and Provost of UNO:

Provost Louis Paradise,

President Peter Fos,

From: Susan E Krantz

Date: Fri, Jul 27, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Subject: FW: low res committees in the Fall

To: Bill Lavender

Cc: Peter A Schock , Fredrick P Barton

Dear Bill—The news I have for you is not good, and I apologize for relaying it through e-mail, rather than face-to-face. But I completely understand your wish to know the disposition of your employment as soon as possible.

Your position will be eliminated. We have put the Press on hiatus and are relocating the CWW Low-Res to an existing faculty member.

I would very much like you to work through the month of August, so that we can make the transition as smooth as possible. By working through August, you will also complete 15 years of employment at UNO. I encourage you toseek advice from HR as soon as you return from your trip to understand what benefits you are entitled to.

I am very sorry to bring you this news; although it does not make the news any easier to swallow, I want to assure you that you are not alone. During this period, 19 Liberal Arts employees—both faculty and staff—are losing their jobs. I am afraid that there will be more to come.

Please make an appointment to see me at your very earliest convenience when you get back.


An open letter to

Fredrick Barton, Director of Creative Writing,

Susan Krantz, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts,

University of New Orleans

Cc: President, Peter Fos

Provost, Louis Paradise

From: Students of the Low Residency MFA Program

We are now in receipt of Rick Barton's communication to the UNO on-campus MFA community notifying students that Bill Lavender's position has fallen victim to the "draconian budget cuts" of the Jindal administration and thanking him for his service at UNO. The message was forwarded to us by a concerned on-campus student, for Bill Lavender's reputation is not limited to the low res program. If you have not seen this email, please see it pasted below this message.

While we can appreciate this, virtually the only recognition Bill has received for his 15 years of selfless service to UNO, we will not stand by and see his dismissal blamed on "budget cuts." You, Barton and Krantz, know that his dismissal was plotted by you in advance; the "budget cuts" were merely a convenient screen to hide your true motives.

This is proven by several facts, the most damning of which is the fact the Barton was actually in San Miguel de Allende at the time Bill's dismissal was announced, planning to move the study-abroad program there. It is obvious, then, that Bill's dismissal was a pre-ordained fact, that Barton was assuming he would no longer be a part of the program at the time he bought his tickets. Rick Barton, would you like to produce the receipt that shows the date of purchase of your tickets?

The dishonesty of blaming this unconscionable take-over on budget cuts by the Jindal administration, while cast as a polite, white lie, perhaps even as a kind gesture to spare Bill's feelings and ease the enormous emotional loss that this must be for him, it is in fact the lowest form of capitulation. The Jindal administration, and the national cartel of corporations from which he draws his support and his policy, have set their sights on nothing less than the destruction of public education. When you lie and blame his dismissal on "budget cuts" you are in fact supporting this policy, acting as Jindal's emissaries on campus, plotting the destruction of the very thing you purport to save.

Everyone, of course, in privileged America and Europe, plays the role of assassin's assistant to one degree or another. We shop at Wal-Mart; we pay our bills to AT&T; our retirement funds are all invested in the very corporations which, through ALEC and the other conservative think tanks, are now writing education policy for conservative politicians. But today we ask you to give the devil his due, to pull down your masks and tell the truth.

So now, right now, you two, for the record, in front of all the writing students at UNO, CWW and low res alike, in front of these alumni, in front of all these faculty at UNO and all the visiting faculty who have taught online and in the abroad programs Bill led, faculty at universities all over the US and Europe, in front of your Provost, President, and Governor, in front of all the authors Bill published at UNO Press, writers and poets from America, Italy, Japan, Spain, Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Brazil, England, France, Algeria, Venezuela, in front, too, of posterity, those who will come after us seeking truth the way we did when we first came to the university, having faith that it would be found, in front of all those who will look back at you and know that you held the keys to knowledge, to truth, in your time, in front, in short, of the whole world, please tell us why, after fifteen years of service during which Bill Lavender created and gave to UNO a degree program of national prominence and high profitability, generating millions of dollars in tuition that would not have been there otherwise, and built a press of international distinction that is now in the unheard-of position of being self-supporting, he has been dismissed with less notice than is normally afforded to a janitor, and four professors who were hired less than a year ago have been retained.


Anonymous said...

Hello, I just read your blog post and was thrilled to see your analysis of Lavender's firing and the Jindal administration.

I'm one of the organizers for a protest at UNO Wednesday at 8 and am also a UNO CWW and Low-Res alum.

I would love to quote some of your demands and wanted to make sure you knew about this protest.

Rally for Transparency at UNO

Skip Fox said...

You can quote anything you wish, Skip Fox

I just wrote a letter to the President, Provost, and Dean: