English Matters

Save Wilfrid Laurier University Press: Petition

Hello all,

The ACCUTE office has been alerted to a potential threat to Wilfrid Laurier University Press, a press with which several of our members have published, and which has worked with ACCUTE’s “Celebration of Research” at the last two conferences–WLUP is part of the larger ACCUTE community.  Universities and provincial and federal governments should be supporting the full range of knowledge and culture producers: such support is not only a net good for provinces–and the country as a whole–for economic reasons, but also helps to improve the cultural and personal lives of our larger communities, whether directly or indirectly.  ACCUTE supports the amazing work done by WLUP and all university presses in this country.    –Jason

Below is a statement from the petition that is being circulated.  Click here to sign the petition:

“With the recently released Integrated Planning and Resource Management report, it has come to the attention of Laurier faculty, and the broader Canadian and international scholarly community, that one of Laurier’s true marks of distinction, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, has received a recommendation of “Phase Out or Minimize.” Severe cuts to the Press have been recommended due to immediate budgetary pressures. We find the recommendation to phase out the press highly problematic for a number of reasons: 1) The group in charge of ranking the Press was the “Administrative Priorities Team”—comprised 86% staff, but WLU Press is not, properly speaking, an “administrative program within the university.” 2) WLU Press, as the foremost press of its kind in Canada has an international reputation that puts Laurier at the forefront of the dissemination of scholarship and knowledge mobilization, the second of which is critical in breaking down barriers between academic institutions and the broader public. By phasing out the press, Laurier will be stepping back from the most visible sign of its commitment to this priority, rather than, as it has until now, leading the charge. Since the primary purpose of the university is education, and the press is at the forefront of that, we think that it should remain a priority. 3) The Press elevates and puts Laurier on the national and international map. In Social Sciences and the Humanities, many researchers know Laurier because they have seen or read a book published by WLU Press. Books published by the Press have won numerous awards, particularly awards from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. The press has successfully become the first choice press in some key areas that further the University’s vision of “diversity and inclusivity.” 4) In recent years the press has made moves to trim costs, to embrace digital delivery of scholarly materials, and to broaden its scope with the aim of engaging a wider community of readers. WLU Press deserves a chance at finding a new model of sustainability rather than a phase out. This letter is undersigned by scholars, authors, and critics who would like to see Wilfrid Laurier University’s commitment to its press to continue at least into the near future. All of us recognize the importance of the press to Canadian and international scholarship, and its enormous contribution to the reputation of Laurier as an institution whose cultural and intellectual outreach is thereby made more than the sum of its parts.”

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