Music Department Chair Glenn Webb and Professor of Music Ken Peterson, both tenured, were terminated from Dixie State University this afternoon, while students and community members gathered in support outside of the Burns Arena.
Webb and Peterson met with Michael Lacourse, the vice president for academic affairs, to discuss their future at the institution.
Lacourse sent an email to all DSU faculty and said both Webb and Peterson were terminated according to DSU Policy 371: 4.1, 4.1.3 and 4.1.4.
“I want you to know the decision to terminate a professor is never made lightly,” Lacourse said. “…We make every effort to support, invest in and advocate for our faculty and staff.”
Both Webb and Peterson said they will appeal the administration’s decision to terminate them.
As the doors to the Burns Arena opened and Webb and his attorney came out, his supporting crowd held their breath. Webb told the crowd that he had been terminated, but he will be fighting this decision. Many of the members of the crowd started to tear up, and sniffles were heard as Webb spoke.
Webb said: “Work to achieve educational goals… Turn in your homework, study, practice and keep dreaming.”
About an hour later, Peterson came out with a smile on his face and said he was also terminated.
“It’s a nice day to be fired,” Peterson said. “The administration has made its intentions clear, and nothing short of higher power is going to be able to deter that.”
Echoes of “we support you” could be heard from the crowd as Peterson spoke.
DSU alumna Stephanie Flinders said: “I took Jazz classes with Glenn 10 years ago, and he’s been a figure head in the music program here since then. He’s also been a major component to the Jazz community and the music community as a whole. He’s the best Jazz educator in the entirety of southern Utah. It’s criminal what’s being stripped away from the students; they don’t have access to him anymore.”
Flinders was not the only one there in support of Webb.
“I think everyone is generally upset that one of the greatest mentors and primary resources we have at the school has just been stripped from us,” said David Levitt, a sophomore music education major from Grass Valley, California. “If there’s a big enough reason to let someone go, it should be on the 5 O’ clock news and not something that isn’t talked about.”
Students weren’t the only ones in attendance. Friends, family and alumni were in attendance as well.
Gretchen Wiltbank, clinical health counselor at Doctors’ Volunteer Clinic of St. George from Santa Barbara, California, said: “Communication between the powers that be and the students who actually keep them in business is severely lacking. The goal here is to foster and feed a community of intelligent, educated questioners, not a bunch of sheep.
More information will be published as soon as it becomes available.