From the mailbag by UA Press Board member Kevin Kern: Dear Mr. Zaidan, As you may have heard, the President and Board of Trustees at the University of Akron have chosen to lay off the director and staff of the University of Akron Press. They later claimed that they were not closing the Press, and that Press operations were going to be transferred to an already understaffed library. But because the Association of American University Presses requires that its member presses all have a director and at least three employees, this policy would mean the end of the University of Akron Press as a legitimate academic publisher, compromising any titles that might be published by it. We, the members of the UA Press Board, believe this decision ought to be reversed. To do so, we are asking for your help. As an author published by the UA Press, you can speak from a unique position in advocating for the restoration of the Press. This would include—but is not limited to—sharing the Save The UA Press Facebook page with your friends and social media, letters to the editor, op-eds, comments on stories online, and especially letters to the president, letters to the trustees, and a willingness to come to events. We believe that the President and the Board of Trustees did not fully understand the significance of the Press or the potential ramifications of their actions when they made their decision. We would like your help in explaining to them and to the public about why reversing it is in the best interest the University, the community, and the wider academic publishing world. There will be a protest in front of the Board of Trustees meeting on August 12. The more media attention, letters, and editorials that we can generate by then, the stronger the argument will be for them to restore the Press. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Thank you for your time and any efforts you may be able to spare on behalf of the UA Press. Sincerely, The University of Akron Press Board
Abe Zaidan has been a professional journalist and freelance writer for more than forty years. He was the Ohio correspondent for the Washington Post, as well as a political columnist at the Akron Beacon Journal.