Yesterday, Akron Poetry & Poetics editor Mary Biddinger announced her return to the reinstated University of Akron Press. Coordinator of Print Manufacturing & Digital Production Carol Slatter and Editorial and Design Coordinator Amy Freels returned to work Tuesday under the new leadership of transitional director Jon Miller and the umbrella of the University of Akron’s Library. This is a great victory for the press’s supporters who protested the University’s July decision to shut down the press and lay off its entire staff. I’m especially grateful to the Press’s staff, board, and authors. We saved the University of Akron Press!
Now that staff is back and the University has assured ongoing support for its Press, my second poetry collection Groundspeed has returned to the production calendar for publication in early 2016.
Below are statements from editor Mary Biddinger, transitional director Jon Miller, and the University’s president Scott Scarborough about the future of the Press.
MARY BIDDINGER’S STATEMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA ABOUT HER RETURN
Many, many, many thanks to everyone who helped us Save the University of Akron Press. I am very happy to be back at work making beautiful poetry books and supporting our authors, who spoke out so passionately against the closing of the press.
TRANSITIONAL DIRECTOR JON MILLER’S LETTER TO UA PRESS AUTHORS (EXCERPT)
Thank you for your patience and support of the Press these last three weeks. I’d especially like to thank Kevin Kern for his advocacy and his updates on behalf of the editorial board. I appreciate all that Tom Bacher has done for the Press, and I look forward to working with him. And I am very grateful for the poise and professionalism of Carol Slatter, Amy Freels, and Mary Biddinger as we discuss the nature and possibility of their continued work for the press. We are also fortunate to have the support of Phyllis O’Connor, our Dean of Libraries.
I am optimistic about the future of the Press–for 2015-2016 as well as for many years to come. Otherwise I would not have accepted this role.
We are working to return the Press to a condition that will satisfy authors, readers, faculty, and students. I wish our progress could have been quicker. It has been a very tough time for the entire campus, however. In this context, I think our progress has been about as quick as it could be. Provost Mike Sherman and President Scott Scarborough have responded to our arguments and recommendations in ways that would surprise their critics. They have demonstrated a genuine and patient interest in developing a deeper understanding of the great promise of this gem of a university press. I expect there will be more good news over the next few days, weeks, and months. Please bear with us. And thank you so much for your continued patience and support.
PRESS RELEASE FROM UA PRESIDENT SCOTT SCARBOROUGH
The University of Akron Press has been and will continue to be a vital part of the academic core of this institution. As we complete its transition to University Libraries, we will take all steps necessary to make sure it maintains its well-earned reputation as a vibrant, active academic press, and to maintain its full membership in the Association of American University Presses. It will honor all existing publishing commitments, continue to seek out new, high-quality works to add to its catalog, and proudly continue to support its nationally recognized poetry series.
After consultation with Professor Jon Miller, transitional director of the University of Akron Press and Phyllis O’Connor, interim dean of University Libraries, regarding staffing plans within University Libraries, we are re-engaging the services of the two staff members who will help ensure operations of the UA Press.