The 1st one will be Sunday, October 30th at 5pm at Buena Vista United Methodist Church
Please bring a some food or drink to share!
Former PANA staff and community are still in motion! Subscribe to the new Critical Faith Project mailing list to get news and updates by email: send a blank message to email@example.com
About this Site:
Post Pana is an independently run blog that is not officially affiliated with the Institute for Leadership Development and the Study of Pacific and Asian North American Religions (PANA Institute). It is based on the contributions of former staff of the PANA Institute and by constituents and participants of former PANA Institute programs.
This site is to serve as a space for discussion and information related to the termination of former PANA Institute staff and the suspension of former PANA programming,by decision of the PSR faculty, PSR Administration, and Trustees effective August 21, 2009.
The official PSR explanation states that the reason for the layoffs of PANA staff is due to both financial difficulties and the need to restructure PANA. PANA’s financial difficulties includes PSR’s lack of overall investment in PANA and problems in financial management. Restructuring refers to the “internal conflicts” about power and programs between PSR’s current Asian American faculty members and the PANA under Dr. Fumitaka Matsuoka the past 9 years.
We are angered and saddened at the sudden suspension of PANA programs and the termination of staff jobs. Since staff first found out that this might be the case one month ago, on July 14th, they have asked the PANA Executive Director, Dr. Benny Liew, PSR President Bill McKinney and Dean Mary Tolbert, to consider other alternatives – other than a complete lay-off of all staff and suspension of all PANA programs.
Staff and Oversight committee members made numerous suggestions including job-sharing, reducing hours and emergency fundraising. Staff asked to be a part of finding alternatives and problem-solving the crisis. Suggestions and requests to be part of a collective problem-solving conversation were denied. If this were only an economic issue, with political will and imagination, there were countless options that could have been explored. If current staff and programs were really considered of value to the faculty and institution, another way would have been found without eliminating all of them and their work.
On July 17th, staff were told by Dr. Liew told that “barring a miracle” they would all be given lay-off notices by the end of July. Despite that fact that PSR and PANA are faith-based institutions, it is clear that no one in positions of power believed in miracles. Supporters, past participants of programs, students, alumni and community constituents and partners wrote letters of support, telling the PSR Administration and PANA ED, that we too had a stake in PANA, that much would be lost by dismissing staff and closing programs. Many of us offered our services and assistance in finding other solutions. In all, over 50 letters and 275 people signed the petition.
Effectively a week after Dr. Liew began as ED of PANA, PSR’s accounting came up with a different set of numbers that were not as bad as the first set, including a significant balance in the R2W budget (under which the remaining PANA staff fall). This could have been seen as a positive sign and a possibility to consider alternatives, but instead, this was followed by the abrupt and dramatic resignations of Dr. Liew as ED, and Dr. Kuan and Dr, Boyung Lee from the PANA Oversight Committee on July 31, 2009.
Instead of being able to address this new economic picture within the PANA’s Oversight Committee – made up of API PSR faculty, local pastors, community and trustee members- all 3 faculty members of the Oversight Committee including the ED resigned with disturbing and denigrating statements made towards the PANA staff posted on the PANA website and PSR communications emails. Their resignations effectively disempowered the Oversight Committee and transferred decision-making power regarding PANA affairs to the PSR Faculty, where the 3 API faculty would have unfettered influence on PANA decisions.
The remaining members of the Oversight Committee made a strong recommendation to the PSR faculty as they voted on PANA’s future in an emergency summer meeting, August 5, 2009. This recommendation was also supported by the affected staff members. (See oversight section of this blog.) This recommendation was rejected by the faculty. The recommendation of the faculty was approved by the Executive Committee of the PSR Trustees, August, 2009.
PSR has continuously repeated- that “PANA was created by the faculty as a PSR center and has, from the beginning, been accountable to both the faculty and the API community.” Where has the accountability to the API community been in this process? Where is the accountability of PSR for its lack of timely and adequate financial reporting going back years? Where is PSR’s institutional commitment to fulfilling its pledge to make an in-kind/cash match to the Lilly Foundation’s grant signed in 2006? What efforts, if any, were made? PSR’s VP of Institutional Advancement acknowledged in a public meeting at PSR on July 27th that “there was no plan” created to match the Lily Foundation grant.
PSR’s API faculty will attempt to restart PANA in the next 6-12 months without any of the current staff, and after unceremoniously closing programs such as R2W. Perhaps they think it is easier to do so unhindered by prior staff , programs and commitments. Perhaps they believe that the complexity of issues will go away – as current staff goes away.
We believe that there is a better way to treat people who have built effective and valued programs;’ a better way to treat a community of constituents; a better way to address complex problems rooted in issues of institutional racism and power based on class and rank.
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