Administration, faculty association discuss misinterpretations of new contract

Dylanne Petros and Dylanne Petros

Even though the faculty’s new contract was decided in May, the faculty association and the University administration are still discussing the contract due to misinterpretations.

According to the contract, professors who taught summer classes this year were supposed to get paid the same amount they received in summer 2012. The administration didn’t follow through, however. Professors were paid less if they had fewer students, said David Jackson, president of the faculty association and an associate professor.

“We are working with the administration to get the problem solved. People should be getting paid the same [as summer 2012],” Jackson said.

Patrick Pauken, former vice president for Faculty Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, could not comment on the issue because the administration and faculty are currently undergoing negotiations.

“From the administration perspective, we feel we’ve paid and honored all the payments for the summer,” said William Balzer, vice president of Faculty Affairs and Strategic Initiatives.

Since there are still some misinterpretations, the faculty association plans to meet with the entire body to go over and explain the contract once the school year starts.

“[The association wants to] make sure everybody on campus understands the contract, even though it is 150 pages,” Jackson said.

One thing that the administration did not live up to, however, was the cutting of 100 faculty members. Instead of the 100 members, only 73 were cut.

“The pressure that we put on the administration …. persuaded them to cut fewer faculty,” Jackson said.

However, the administration determines staff levels by the number of students, Balzer said.

“Of the 99 reductions, 27 faculty members retired and 29 left for other opportunities,” Balzer said.

Since 99 faculty members were cut, class sizes may increase.

“Many of the faculty that were cut taught eight classes a year. That’s about 600 fewer classes. Other classes are going to be bigger this year because of that,” Jackson said.

While Jackson believes class sizes will increase, it is not a guarantee.

“There should be a number in reduction in classes [this year] because of fewer students,” Balzer said. “It should have a very little impact [on current students]. Fewer course sections are typically reduced when student demand decreases. New class sections are added as appropriate based on student demand.”

The administration recognizes the importance of the faculty and is working to make sure that the contract is honored completely, Balzer said.

“Faculty are critically important to the success of the University,” Balzer said.

While the administration and the faculty association are working together on issues with the contract, that is not the main concern for both sides.

“We want to make sure both sides are living up to the contract,” Jackson said.

The administration on the other hand, has different goals.

“The highest priority is serving the undergraduate students and helping them be successful,” Balzer said.