AAUP Responds to University of Akron Press Announcement
July 29, 2015—The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) was shocked by the announcement Tuesday afternoon that the University of Akron would close its Press. The University of Akron Press, founded in 1988 and an AAUP member since 1997, publishes a small but vibrant list in the areas of regional history and culture, politics, business, and poetry. Although the University is undertaking a significant transition, the UA Press has posted sound results while developing a respected publishing program—closely tailored to its mission, community, and resources. AAUP believes the Press can play as vital a role in the University’s new future as it has in the institution’s recent history.
In the Press’s most recent catalog, posted only days ago, one can find forthcoming titles of great national, state, and community significance: including two titles exploring what the 2012 presidential election can tell us about the shifting national political scene; several titles (such as the essay collection Public Space, Public Policy and Public Understanding of Race and Ethnicity in America) that speak directly to one of the most important public conversations in Ohio and the country today; and, books about Akron’s political scene, Cleveland’s sports teams, and the history of soccer at the University. The Akron Poetry Prize series is a much-anticipated annual publishing event, with 2015 judging only just begun on more than 400 entries.
The University of Akron Press, through the books it publishes and the teaching work of its staff, the hosting of student interns, and the development of the UA digital repository, provides a case study in how to serve the mission of a regional university.
Sudden and unplanned press closures are not a solution to budget crises. Such a top-down approach produces breached contracts, alienated faculty and staff, and culturally impoverished communities. AAUP understands from recent statements that the University of Akron is willing to explore alternatives to closure, and we pledge our full resources to helping them find a better outcome for their authors, their employees, and the people of Akron.