Some tenured faculty members at the University of Texas Medical Branch got good news yesterday, according to their union, when the university apparently decided to back away from planned cuts to their salaries.
In June, the university, which is based in Galveston, announced that it would cut about 1,000 jobs, including about 100 faculty members, and slash some salaries in an effort to cut expenses, after a review by an outside consulting group.
“Some faculty members got their salary back, and some of them have received a large chunk back,” said Charles Zucker, executive director of the Texas Faculty Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association. “I think some others did not get some relief. It’s certainly a big victory to have them backpedaling at this point.”
News that the cuts could be rescinded came late in the day, and officials from the university were not available for comment.
Zucker said that the original cuts affected at least 50 faculty members.
Zucker said that, if an institution can cut salaries for tenured faculty members with no cause, it would effectively make tenure a moot issue. He added that some of the cuts were as big as 25 to 50 percent of a professor's salary. “These are medical school faculty members,” he said. “In some cases, it was over $100,000.”
In response  to the cuts, the Texas Faculty Association contacted local legislators, and persuaded many faculty members to file grievances en masse, Zucker said.
In previous news reports, John D. Stobo, the Texas Medical Branch's president, was quoted as saying that the university was losing about $20 million a year, largely by serving uninsured patients.