AAUP Expresses Support for SMU Press

Member Press Facing Threat of Closure

May 2010

On April 29, the director and staff of the SMU Press were informed that the operations of the press would be suspended and all staff positions eliminated as of June 1, 2010. The decision was a surprise to both the staff and advisory board of the Press, and was made with little consultation with experts or consideration of the effects of such a drastic and sudden action. The SMU Faculty Senate acted quickly, passing the below resolutions to form a committee to review press operations and alternatives to closure and to request that the university not take action until the review has been completed.

MOTION: The President of the Senate will convene a faculty committee in consultation with the Executive Committee to review the status of the SMU Press, and look at creative options to permit the University to maintain the operation of the SMU Press.
MOTION: The SMU Faculty Senate requests that the President of the Senate will convey immediately to the Provost and the President our disagreement regarding the suspension of SMU Press, that we wish the decision to be reversed, and request that no positions be terminated until this decision can be reviewed.

The Association of American University Presses expresses its support for the SMU Press and encourages members and friends to join us in a chorus of support for the Press and its 73 years of proud publishing. Press Director Keith Gregory, along with members of the press advisory board and SMU Faculty Senate, met with the Provost on May 12. The Press collected letters of support from SMU authors and faculty, and a tremendous number of supporters from around the country. On May 19, Provost Paul Ludden announced that current publishing contracts would be fulfilled and that a task force would be appointed to review the press and recommend options for renewed press operations by the end of the year. The suspension of new publishing activity will go forward on May 31, 2010, and the status of press staff and list remains unclear.

Below are the addresses to use for continued letters of support. It may be helpful to read the appeal drafted by Russell Martin, chair of the SMU Press Advisory Board, on behalf of the Press that prompted the Faculty Senate's action, which includes an account of many recent honors for the Press, its authors and their books. [Read the PDF] We also have a collection of short messages of support for the Press from leading lights in literature and the academy; including Richard Russo, Ann Beattie, Alan Cheuse, Madison Smartt Bell,and Leslie Epstein, among others. [Read these letters of support.]

Send letters to Press Director Keith Gregory via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; address letters to:
Provost Paul Ludden
Perkins Administration Building, Suite 219
Southern Methodist University
Dallas, TX 75205

More information:

Dallas News, 5/10/10: "Clay Reynolds: Why SMU Press is central to school's mission"
Dallas News, 5/5/10: "University Suspending SMU Press Operations"

Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/19/10: "Southern Methodist U. to Consider Reviving Its Press in a New Form"
Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/6/10: "Southern Methodist U. Puts its Press on the Chopping Block"

Inside Higher Ed, 5/7/10: "SMU Suspends Its University Press"

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