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Authors condemn US university decision to fire publishing staff

In the US, around 60 authors, reviewers and publishing figures have penned an open letter condemning Wayne State University (WSU) over the firing of three longtime senior employees from the university’s publishing house.

Wayne State University Press (WSUP) editor-in-chief Annie Martin, editorial/design/production manager Kristin Harpster, and marketing/sales manager Emily Nowak were all dismissed from their roles last week, effective immediately.

The open letter demands that the university reverse its decision and reinstate the three staff members immediately, describing the firings as ‘tantamount to the destruction of this venerable institution’, and ‘a breach of trust with the authors who have built relationships and served as ambassadors of the press in the academic and wider community’.

‘This decision by Wayne State’s provost and library governance threatens the existence of the press [and] the relationships that it has built with authors, reviewers and editors over decades of patient and careful publishing. Moreover, these decisions will undermine the ability of Wayne State Press to recruit and serve scholars and writers at all stages of the publication process,’ said the letter.

In a statement sent by WSUP interim director Tara Reeser to the publisher’s editorial board, Reeser said that ‘management changes were made’ at WSUP ‘after careful and deep consideration at every level’, adding that the university ‘remains committed to [WSUP]’s mission and continued success’.

WSUP’s annual output of approximately 35–40 frontlist releases comprises about 35%–40% trade titles.

 

Category: International news

 

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