Thank you to everyone who participated in the AAUP-UC Town Hall meeting last week. Over 200 people attended! As a result of this very productive meeting, we are in a better position to respond to the COVID-19 challenges we face. For those unable to attend, a video of the Town Hall meeting and other COVID 19-response information is available on the website.
In a continued effort toward transparency and education, the Chapter has decided to host a follow-up Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, May 20th at 10 a.m. A link to the meeting will be sent to the Bargaining Unit, and the meeting is only open to Bargaining Unit Faculty.
Many thanks, too, to all of you who have joined AAUP-UC as full members in recent weeks. By offering a clear procedure that includes Faculty in decision-making processes, our Collective Bargaining Agreement protects us from arbitrary layoffs and furlough such as those facing other Ohio faculty including Ohio University and Miami University. Ultimately, however, it is not the Collective Bargaining Agreement that makes us strong but our collective action working to improve higher education for all. If you have not already done so, please join AAUP-UC today.
In addition to the follow-up Town Hall next week, there will also be a Twitter workshop on Thursday, May 21st at 10:00 a.m. for faculty members who are looking to use Twitter for the first time or improve their tweeting skills. The workshop is open to full AAUP-UC members.
Finally, and despite our ongoing efforts to clarify the situation, misinformation persists and continues to be communicated within and across colleges. To reiterate:
- The Provost, the Faculty Senate, and the AAUP-UC are working together in the spirit of shared governance to understand the problems and respond to the COVID 19 crisis.
- Any change to salaries or other working conditions would require a renegotiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or the declaration of a financial exigency per Article 28 of the CBA. To date, NO ONE has proposed either of these alternatives.
- Salaries and salary increases are covered by the CBA. They cannot be waived by individual faculty members.
- Faculty members cannot work “overload” without receiving compensation as defined by Article 13 of the CBA.
- Faculty members cannot switch from a 9-month appointment to a 12-month appointment without a corresponding change in compensation and duties.
- Stipends and course release outlined in an appointment letter cannot be unilaterally changed. Changes to stipends or course release covered by the CBA, such as those for unit heads, must comport with the CBA. Other types of stipends or course release can be withdrawn by the administration; however, faculty members cannot be required to continue to perform work that was being done previously for a stipend or course release, and should only do so voluntarily after weighing their own circumstances and the needs of their Academic Unit.
- Any changes to the Workload document—or to RPT criteria—must be approved by the Faculty in the Academic Unit. Nothing that has happened changes this fact.
To be clear, COVID-19 has placed the university in a very difficult situation. The financial situation, although not fully understood, is very real. AAUP-UC is willingly and actively working with the Provost and Faculty Senate on solutions. The process must be inclusive, transparent, methodical, and data-driven. Efforts by some administrators to circumvent this process while perhaps well-intentioned are counter-productive. Faculty should also remember that, although motives may be altruistic, no single individual can solve this crisis on their own. We need to work together for a solution.
Connie Kendall Theado