Readers Write: LIU Post’s firing of top professor raises serious questions

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An open letter to: The board of trustees, LIU Post

The ignominious firing of Hutton House Lecture Series Director, Dr. Kay Sato, on Friday Oct.12, mid-month, midwinter class session, without stated cause, raises many serious questions.

As someone with an advanced degree, teaching experience at the university level, and over three decades in banking finance, I feel qualified to comment that the Hutton House courses I took over the past four years were given at the highest level of teacher and academic excellence.

How Dr. Sato corralled such excellence remains a wonder. It is my deep regard for her and for the program that prompts me to write this letter.

  • Was Dr. Sato fired for lack of performance? Are there performance reviews to substantiate this?
  • If there was a restructuring with a reduction in force why has her position been taken by a person with notably less experience in Lifelong Learning?
  • Did the program lose money for LIU? Last year the enrollment topped 8,400 registrations with expenditure by students averaging $100-$500. The math suggests a program that is a profit enter, not a losing proposition for the University.
  • While it is apparent that freshmen enrollments below 600 are a cause for concern and as board members you must be looking for ways to reverse that decline, how can ravaging the Hutton House series by summarily firing its director attract more freshman? Hutton House has won a “Model Program” award and engenders thousands of brand ambassadors praising its excellence. The shameful firing of Dr. Sato can only turn satisfied adult education students into an army of critics.

There’s nothing like injustice to get tongues wagging.

Rumor has it a Veterinary School is planned – if the approximately $50 million can be found somewhere and LIU/POST is deemed more suitable than SUNY Farmingdale. Or, students might be attracted by a degree in communications.

Perhaps the university should start by developing its own communication strategy which, according to many faculty members and administrators, is non-existent.

Certainly, we Hutton House students are eager to hear and understand the reasons for the University’s and president Kim Cline’s action.

This program is a wonderful calling card for LIU/Post, given the high caliber course offerings and content established and monitored by Dr. Sato.

Why is its future being endangered?

I respectfully request that as board members you fulfill your obligation to investigate this situation and explain your findings to your several constituencies.

Reina Teeger

Port Washington

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