In this issue:
- Click here to see the result of our letter to the President regarding the vaccine mandate
- Click here to see Did You Know.
- Click here to see Be a Part of Something Bigger
The communication below was sent in December regarding the administration’s decision to delay enforcement of the Covid 19 vaccination mandate until the end of spring semester. We are resending it as some Faculty may have missed it during the busy period at the end of fall semester.
As I wrote then, the purpose of vaccine mandates is to ensure the health and safety of everyone on all of our UC campuses, and there is no dispute that the higher the vaccine rates, the safer our community will be. This decision to delay enforcement of this policy sent a message that the Administration does not value the safety of UC faculty, staff, or students.
In the wake of this December communication, Dean Ferme offered and I agreed to schedule regular meetings to better communicate on issues such as this. The initial meetings have been productive.
We expect that UC will keep the vaccination deadline at the end of this current semester. Although Covid 19 numbers are currently declining, this is still an unprecedented health risk and a serious concern to the overwhelming majority of Faculty.
Connie Kendall Theado
Open Letter to President Pinto Regarding Vaccine Mandate
August 27, 2021
TO: President Pinto
FROM: Connie Kendall Theado, AAUP-UC President
DATE: August 26th, 2021
RE: COVID-19 Communications
CC: Provost Ferme, College Deans, AAUP-UC Bargaining Unit
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented pressure on the entire University of Cincinnati community, and it has been an exceptionally difficult eighteen months. As the professional organization representing the collective interests and workplace rights of more than 1,700 faculty at UC, AAUP-UC remains committed to being an effective partner who works with the Administration to fulfill the core academic missions of teaching and research. To that end, we are increasingly concerned about several ongoing communication issues that have unnecessarily complicated the return to campus for faculty, students, and staff.
Over the past several weeks, for instance, we have received numerous phone calls and emails asking for clarification regarding the information provided by the University about COVID-19 safety protocols and policies. A recurring concern from faculty focuses specifically on how various colleges and campuses have been receiving different and sometimes conflicting information about these very protocols and policies. The issues currently causing the most concern and confusion among faculty include:
The UC COVID Check app, specifically how and when to use it;
Mask wearing, particularly how the stated policy will be enforced and by whom;
How and when PCR testing will be requested or required;
And most recently, President Pinto’s decision to Tweet out an important announcement about the University’s position on vaccine mandates, rather than using official channels of communication.
From an institutional perspective, especially on a matter as serious as a global pandemic—which we know the Administration also takes very seriously—communication of vital information, like the concerns listed above, should be shared in a unified, consistent manner and from a centralized source. In other words, it should not be left to each college administration or individual academic unit heads to interpret and craft a message about COVID-related policy decisions or rules from the President’s or Provost’s offices. We strongly urge the Administration to revisit their communications model, which is not meeting the moment, and instead reach out to all constituent groups and shared governance bodies with unified and clear messaging.
In a recent statement on the re-opening of colleges and universities, AAUP President Irene Mulvey called on “campus administrations to do everything possible to ensure the highest level of health and safety,” noting that:Institutions of higher education exist to serve the common good. As places of knowledge creation and scientific discovery, our colleges and universities are uniquely situated to provide leadership by amplifying and promoting trust in science and CDC guidelines as well as putting in place sound public health policies and practices including making vaccination easy and convenient for all members of the campus community.”
In the spirit of shared governance, AAUP-UC is ready to work with the Administration to address the pressing concerns faculty have shared with us and that we are now sharing with you—including the critical question of vaccine mandates to protect our own health and wellbeing as well as the health and wellbeing of everyone in our UC community.
We are committed to promoting and assisting this work in any way we can.
AAUP-UC Executive Council
DID YOU KNOW…..if you are planning retirement, how and when you should ask for Emerita/Emeritus status?
Many Faculty Members who retire are interested in having Emeritus/Emerita status after retirement. That status is not automatic upon retirement. It is something that must be asked for and then granted via recommendation of your departmental colleagues and approval by Administration. While there are some benefits that apply to all retired Faculty Members, there are some additional ones that apply only to Emeriti. The most significant are continued provision of University email access and, if you were paying for University parking before retirement, free parking at the University parking facility you were using prior to retirement.
The Rules of the Board of Trustees include a definition of Emeritus/Emerita status and the mechanism for attaining it. Several years ago, we incorporated those basic provisions into the Collective Bargaining Agreement as Article 18.5. “’Emeritus rank’ is defined as a non-salaried academic title of honor of a retired or retiring Faculty Member or academic officer of the University, usually corresponding to the rank or title held by the Faculty Member during his/her last period of active academic service to the University.” The process for appointment to Emeritus/Emerita status is similar to the process for new faculty hires. The retiring Faculty Member, after notifying the University of his/her intent to retire, initiates the process by written request to the Academic Unit Head. The request then requires Academic Unit recommendation (often by vote of the departmental faculty) followed by concurrence of the Dean, Provost, and Board of Trustees.
The appointment process can take some time, especially at the first and last steps. Complicating the last step is the fact that the Board of Trustees may meet only once every other month, or even less frequently than that. If the timing is bad, the process may take a couple of months or more just to get Board approval. If Board approval comes before your effective retirement date, email access will continue without interruption. If Board approval comes after your effective retirement date, your email access will be terminated upon retirement. With some effort, it can be reinstated after Board approval of Emeritus status. For this reason, while you can have Emeritus/Emerita status approved either before or after your retirement, we recommend that Faculty Members ask for that status at the same time that they give notice of intent to retire, preferably at least 4 to 6 months prior to the intended retirement date. That way you can have Emeritus/Emerita status effective immediately upon retirement and without interruption of your University email.
Be Part of Something Bigger: Serve Your Union
There are so many ways to chip in and keep your AAUP strong. You can serve on a committee, run for office, participate in Chapter Meetings, and talk with your colleagues about the benefits of becoming a member. It has been difficult to stay connected and develop these service relationships the last two years, so here’s a quick overview of all the ways you can work with us to make sure we stay strong.
Committee Work: Time Commitment of Five to Seven Hours Per Semester
Political Action Committee:
Chair: Steve Mockabee, Mockabee, firstname.lastname@example.org
The PAC is charged with providing information to faculty members about political issues and making recommendations to the chapter for advocacy, endorsement, or financial support of candidates or causes. We also direct activities related to labor solidarity, and lead efforts to get faculty and students to register and vote. The time commitment is minimal but the potential impact is significant, so come join us on the PAC!
Budget & Compensation Advisory Committee:
Chair: Amber Peplow, email@example.com
The Budget & Compensation Advisory Committee is charged with researching and analyzing UC’s budget, financial planning, and employee salary and benefits packages, and relaying that information to appropriate Chapter bodies. This committee is especially charged with assisting the Executive Council and the Negotiating Team with budget analysis and the costing of proposals during contract negotiations. The work of this committee is deeply important to the success of bargaining and other advocacy issues.
The Chair of this committee is one of the four AAUP members of the joint Benefits Study Committee (M.1 of the AAUP/UC Contract).
Contract Compliance & Education Committee:
Chair: Annette Redmon, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Contract Compliance and Education Committee (CC&EC) provides several workshops for faculty throughout the academic year. Presentations include an overview of our Collective Bargaining Agreement for new faculty and RPT workshops for both faculty and RPT reviewers. Moreover, we meet with faculty to inform them of rights and responsibilities under our Collective Bargaining Agreement including protecting and promoting academic freedom, shared governance and other workplace protections for faculty. The work of this committee is key in helping faculty feel confident and educated about RPT issues, on both sides of the process.
New Triage Teams:
Contact: Cassie Fetters, email@example.com
Triage Teams are small committees that will work directly with other members on contractual issues such as Article 7 RPT concerns, Article 15 equity issues, APR reviews, and workload documents. All members will be trained in handling these issues before they begin the work. The work of these teams is so important in a post-Janus world, as the Chapter handles grievances with fewer staff. On many other unionized campuses, faculty routinely handle this work themselves.
Associates Council: Time Commitment of Seven to Ten hours Per Semester
Chair: Chris Campagna, firstname.lastname@example.org
Associates serve as the link between faculty and the Chapter leadership. Associates communicate the concerns of and advocate for their colleges’ faculty to the Executive Council, and they also communicate and advocate for the Executive Council’s efforts and goals to their colleges’ faculty. Important parts of this process involve organizing and promoting membership in the Chapter, as well as researching and advising the Executive Council on bargaining issues. Robust participation in the Associates Council ensures the long-term health of our union.
Associates Council Chair: Time Commitment of Three to Five Hours Per Week
The Chair of the Council schedules and runs meetings at least twice per semester, organizes trainings for new members, and is an active member of the Executive Council. This position generally receives 3-6 credit hours of release time per year, depending on the Chapter leadership’s other needs and the availability of release time. The Chair of the Associates Council must be a member of that council and is elected by the body in their April meeting, for a one-year term.
Executive Council: Time Commitment Varies by Position
Open Positions: President, Vice-President, At-Large Board Member (two), Chair of Budget & Compensation Committee, Chair of Contract Compliance & Education Committee, Delegate to the Ohio AAUP (non-voting member)
All EC members meet at least monthly, in addition to the duties of their position. At-Large positions are the best way to start serving on the Board, as they carry no outside duties.
If you are interested in serving as Chair of one of the Committees, the best way to get started is to serve on that committee for a year or two first, to learn the ropes.
If these seem like too large a commitment for you, you can still support the work of your union by attending meetings and events, and talking with folks about the benefits of membership. A union is only as strong as its membership, and in these times, we need strong membership.
- January 10 – Nominations open
- February 15 – Nominations close and names are announced. A second nomination period will open.
- February 28 – Deadline for additional nominations
- March 2 – Candidate statements emailed to members
- March 4 – Voting begins
- March 18 – Voting ends and winners announced
- April 1 – New officers take office