Administration should stand behind University faculty

Faculty Columnist and Faculty Columnist

This past Tuesday was the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in US history; also, the US embassy was attacked in Cairo, among other brutal assaults on US diplomats; also, some terrible things happened to me personally; plus, it was the day the administration presented its compensation proposal to the University faculty.

So I say screw it. September 11: I am done with you. You’ve had your last chance to mess with my life. In future years I am going to proceed straight from Sept.10 to Sept. 12 and I encourage everyone else to do the same. If we work together we can stamp out the scourge of 9/11.

Please give generously to the cause at www.nonotreally.com.

The fact that the administration made its proposal on this ill-omened day does not, in retrospect, surprise me. Probably there would not be a faculty union at the University now if the past administration had not treated faculty with so much reckless contempt, constantly breaching the Academic Charter and the principles of shared governance, and the new boss has been pretty much the same as the old boss.

The administration doesn’t even make its own negotiating positions public. In contrast, the University faculty has posted its proposals at its website for all interested parties to see and evaluate. (http://bgsu-fa.org/wp/bargaining/).

But the administration finally plopped its proposal onto the negotiating table, and it is yet another strike against toward the people who do the teaching and the research at this University.

The administration proposes a deep pay cut, of more than 50 percent in the case of non-tenured faculty, for summer courses.

It proposes a merit pay increase of an average of only one percent during the course of the new contract, well under the rate of inflation. It proposes dramatically increasing the percentage of faculty contribution for health and dental plans — and it reserves the right to determine the total cost of those plans itself.

All this amounts to a loss of compensation — a pay cut across the board for faculty, falling especially hard on nontenured faculty (instructors and lecturers), but with plenty of pain for everybody.

University faculty already rank dead last in compensation compared to peer institutions. And the administration is proposing to rectify that by a further pay cut. No wonder it doesn’t want to make this stuff public.

The administration can always find money for a new fortress of uglitude, like the Stroh Center or the new student health center (which seems to be primarily a pretext to outsource student health care to Wood County Hospital).

It can find the resources to destroy parts of University history like Williams Arena and the Popular Culture House. It can add layers of administration by creating more schools and administrative offices. But when it comes down to paying the faculty who do the work this University was created to do, I think its ingenuity deserts it.

Maybe this is why the University has fallen out of the top 100 public universities in the US (according to US News & World Report).

I think it’s time for the administration to wake up and understand that it can’t have a strong university without a strong faculty.

It’s time for students to wake up and understand that their futures are at risk: if the University’s reputation continues to decline, the value of the diploma they’re working so hard for will also decline. And it’s time for the faculty to wake up and make a little noise. Join the BGSU-FA, if you haven’t already.

Show the administration that we are a force to reckon with — one of the best things the University has going for it, if the administration could bring itself to support the faculty instead of undermining them.

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