February 5, 1990: Volume 1, Number 4
“General Faculty Meeting Recesses in Protest” [by Mariann Regan]
To protest a new round of actions and inactions by the administration, the General Faculty meeting of February 2nd was recessed sine die before any regular business was conducted. The vote was overwhelming, with only one negative vote cast. Here is the information that prompted the motion to recess:
The administration canceled the previously scheduled February 1st negotiating session with the Salary Committee, claiming that they didn’t want to come to the table “unprepared.” They said they wanted more time to refine their salary proposals. But what they wanted time to “prepare” was a public challenge of the validity of Dr. Richard Weber’s report: Their intentions became explicit in conversation as they (unsuccessfully) pressed Faculty Welfare Committee officers Kevin Cassidy and Mariann Regan for a copy of the complete document. At the same time, the head of the administration team indicated that they were not yet fully “prepared” to discuss the crucial non-economic issues, involving the contract preamble and an arbitration provision for disputes over contract violations. Yet they had received in early December a statement of the faculty position on these matters, prepared by our legal counsel. Moreover, the Salary Committee had officially reminded the administration, two weeks ago, that these non-economic issues were paramount to the faculty and that they should be discussed at the next meeting, February 1st.
A routine benefits information package from the Office of Human Resources, which appeared in our mailboxes February 2nd, outlines—as THE Century 90 Blue Cross medical benefits plan—the very same plan that was unilaterally imposed on us by the administration last summer in violation of the 1989-90 contract…. Since the promised reimbursements are not mentioned, this is an inaccurate description of the current policy. With this notice, the administration is not only once again in violation of the Handbook; they are also utterly disregarding, or perhaps seeking to pre-empt, current salary negotiations on the matter for next year. The notice reads as though the administration does not recognize what the faculty has been saying and is now saying about medical benefits, about compliance, and about legal contracts.
On February 8th, Thursday afternoon, the Salary Committee will meet again with the administration. The next day, February 9th, the Salary Committee will report to the Faculty Welfare Committee the results of this negotiating session. We will discuss whether the administration negotiators have handled to our satisfaction the non-economic demands, and whether they have given up their posture of disregard and delay. If they have not, we will be discussing what further actions to take. For that purpose, we will have proposals from our Action Subcommittee as well as the advice of Alan Neigher and Mark Blum, who will attend the meeting.
“The Weber Report: Go 55 and Stay Alive” by Phil Lane and Fred Mis
We appreciate the fine job Dick Weber did in his presentation to the faculty on January 26th. We would like to reinforce a couple of points that were made in the presentation.
First, the share of the total revenue of the University that is allocated for expenditures for instruction has been declining since 1986. Using the 1986 share as a base, the cumulative shortfall totals $1,598,484 as of June 1989. Furthermore, if we use the National Average of 35%, reported in the last Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Company study (1985), this cumulative shortfall totals $3,405,922. Regardless of what base we use, the instructional side of the University is losing ground. We are even approaching the minimum amount allocated for instruction for schools of our size. [Table follows.]
Second, since 1986 the University has allocated or reallocated $1.5 million to what Dick Weber calls quasi-endowment. The University has made a decision to put some of its surplus resources into this unique form of endowment. Unlike a true endowment, however, these funds can be allocated in any way the administration chooses. They are not restricted.
Finally, Dick Weber’s report provides the faculty with information demonstrating that our demands are feasible. We are not seeking to damage the University’s financial position. All the University’s financial indicators show healthy growth, and we want them to continue to show healthy growth. Rather, we are simply asking for the faculty’s share of the budget to grow a little more rapidly, while other parts of the budget grow a little more slowly. We can make an appropriate analogy to the relative speed of cars on a highway. The faculty would like to see its share of the budget increase up to the speed limit of 55 mph: To accomplish this, some other parts of the budget might have to slow down a little—but only from 70 mph to 65 mph.