Six female faculty members in the philosophy department at the University of Colorado at Boulder have issued a statement expressing concerns about the impact of a recent report detailing instances of sexism and unprofessionalism in the department. The statement, published on the Feminist Philosophers blog, doesn't take issue with the conclusions of the report. But the statement notes that the report (which was released by the university although the authors of the report didn't intend for it to become public) could unfairly damage the reputations of some in the department. To avoid that problem, the statement says the following: "Despite differing perceptions regarding both the report’s details and the overall impression it gives, all of us are united on a few things. First, we are all distressed that the report may damage the reputations of male colleagues who are completely innocent of sexual misconduct. It could also harm the prospects of our male graduate students currently on the market. We faculty women strongly believe that none of our currently untenured male colleagues or current male graduate students has engaged in sexual misconduct (nor, indeed, have most of our tenured colleagues). We believe that many have heard about the problems, if at all, only through the rumor mill. The second thing that unites us all is our determination to rebuild the department and its reputation."
After 18 months of trying to negotiate their first union contract, faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago moved forward on Tuesday with a planned, two-day strike. Hundreds of classes were not held Tuesday as a result of the strike, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Joe Persky, professor of economics and president of the United Faculty, an American Federation of Teachers- and American Association of University Professors-affiliated union representing both tenure-line and, full-time, non-tenure-track faculty, said the strike was a last resort to which the union had been “pushed” by the university. Major unresolved issues for the union include a proposed $45,000 baseline salary for full-time, non-tenure track lecturers, many of whom teach large, first-year courses, Persky said. “We’ve got lecturers here making $30,000 a year, and they’re filling up classes with $300,000 worth of students. There’s something wrong there.” The union also wants various “blanks” in the contract, such as those for future merit raise pools, filled in with real dollar amounts, and a 4.5 percent pay increase starting next year.
In an email, a university spokesman said the union also wants payment for out-of-pocket insurance costs and special allocations to address salary compression -- when longer-serving professors are paid similarly to newer peers because raises haven’t kept up with the outside market. He said the estimated cost of those proposals, including the $45,000 base salary for lecturers, would equal a hefty, approximately 25 percent personnel cost jump to the university, over four years. A side-by-side university chart comparing the its and the union’s bargaining positions, including their costs, is available here.
“The university believes that a work stoppage or strike is not in the best interest of the faculty, the university, or our students; however, we acknowledge the faculty’s right to strike under Illinois labor law,” reads a university statement on the strike. Despite offering a “fair” contract already, the university said it will continue to bargain with the union until an agreement is reached. Additional negotiating sessions have been scheduled through March; the next is on Friday. Persky said he was confident that the strike, which shut down classes and was accompanied by on-campus rallies and picketing by professors and students, would help the union’s cause.
“Everything has changed,” he said. “We’ve shown them what we can do.”
Bowling Green State University and its faculty union have reached an agreement regarding 40 planned job cuts for non-tenure-track faculty on one-year contracts. Under the agreement, those faculty members who have worked at Bowling Green full-time for four or more years will be offered severance packages based on salary and years of service. Some 18 faculty members are eligible. David Jackson, president of the Bowling Green State University Faculty Association, an American Association of University Professors-affiliated union representing both tenure-line faculty and adjuncts, said the association had hope to preserve all jobs but legal analysis suggested that was unlikely. He described the severance deal as making the "best out of a bad situation." In a statement, the university said: "We are pleased that we were able to reach an agreement with the Faculty Association. The decision to not renew the contracts of any of our colleagues is always difficult, and was done with the best interests of the university in mind."
The faculty union at the University of Illinois at Chicago is planing a two-day strike, starting today. The union, affiliated with the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers, is staging the strike after 18 months of negotiations for a first contract. "UIC professors did not want it to come to this, but the trustees’ proposals continue to short change both faculty and students," said a statement from the union. "UIC administration continues to hike tuition to the point it has amassed hundreds of millions in profits each year and more than a billion dollars in reserves, yet refuses to pay professors what they’re worth. Many members of the faculty who teach first-year students only make $30,000 a year!"
A statement from the university, released in advance of the expected strike, said: "The university values its faculty and has offered a fair contract to each of its collective bargaining units. We will continue to bargain in good faith, now with the help of a federal mediator, until a settlement is reached. The university believes that a work stoppage or strike is not in the best interest of the faculty, the University, or our students; however, we acknowledge the faculty’s right to strike under Illinois labor law."
In today’s Academic Minute, William Cooper of Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne explains why species that inhabit island are less frightened of human intruders. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
Oregon State University announced Friday that the engineering dean and the head of the electrical engineering and computer science program were both being removed from their positions immediately, although they remain on the faculty, The Oregonian reported. The dean, Sandra Woods, had earlier moved to dismiss the head of the electrical engineering program, Terri Fiez, but had agreed to let Fiez finish out the academic year. Many faculty and business leaders criticized Woods for dismissing Fiez.
The University of Saskatchewan has told David Williams, an associate professor in the business school, to remove posters with profanity and blow-up dolls in business attire from his office, CTV Saskatoon reported. Daphne Taras, the business dean said of the nontraditional nature of his office: “It’s not a little bit. It’s a lot. The entire thing crosses a line from sort of edgy to creepy. An office provided on public funds that is part of an employment setting should not be such that students, faculty or staff should be offended when they walk in.” Williams has filed a grievance asking for permission to keep his office decorated as he sees fit.