AAUP Truman State University Chapter
November 5, 2010, 4:30 pm
Meetings are open to all university faculty members.
Faculty present: Bonnie Mitchell (presiding), Martha Bartter, Marc Becker (minutes), Jan Grow, James Harmon, Sylvia Macauley, Betty McLane-Iles, Peter Rolnick
1. Minutes from the October meeting approved as submitted.
2. Treasurer’s report. We have $381.54.
3. New leaders training report. Bonnie: Budgets often show less money than is the reality. We also need to look at the different amounts going to instruction versus other areas. Peter: Faculty senate is supposed to report this information to us. Bonnie: Comparatively hard to find financial data for Missouri.
4. Next AAUP faculty brownbag lunch. The next brownbag discussion will be on Wednesday, November 17, at 12:30pm in SUB Spanish Room. Wolfgang will lead a discussion of Lisa Colletta’s essay “The Ultimate Utility of Nonutility,” in Academe (September/October 2010): 29-31, http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2010/SO/feat/coll.htm. marc will send out an announcement on Monday, November 8, and a reminder on Monday, November 15. We will have fresh fruit and veggies.
5. Faculty + 1 insurance and benefits. Student Senate passed the provision with unanimous support, but the president (who was not at meeting) vetoed it because of alleged costs. Prism will draft a stronger resolution and bring it back to student senate. Department of Society and Environment will bring a parallel resolution to Faculty Senate. Bonnie, Betty, David will work on the resolution (if anyone else is interested in working on it let Bonnie know). Troy Paino will meet with us at the next meeting about this issue (December 3); Bonnie will remind him.
6. Financial exigency. Bonnie has talked to Ray Barrow and James Guffey on Faculty Senate. Paino is concerned that if faculty take too large of a role (as AAUP stipulates) that the Board of Governors will not approve the plan. Peter: is Paino being realistic, or is he using someone else’s ideas as an excuse not to act? We should ask Paino about this issue in his meetings with departments.
7. AAUP banner. Bonnie has a draft AAUP banner design from a student worker; we will continue work on the design, and bring a revised version to the next meeting.
8. Next February’s AAUP faculty brownbag lunch. The plan is to read Scott Jaschik, “The Faculty and the Fourth Estate,” Academe (September/October 2010): 35-37, http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2010/SO/feat/jasc.htm, drawing on Heidi Templeton as a resource. Maybe Diane Johnson or James Cianciola can help lead the discussion. marc will check dates February 16, March 16, and April 20 on university calendar and with SUB reservations.
9. AAUP survey on contingent faculty. Bonnie sent information to department secretaries to ask them to distribute it to faculty.
10. Proposed AAUP student scholarship fund. Normally the Development Office likes $1000 for a named scholarship, but will consider doing it for $500. We can do gifts through payroll deduction; if 4 people were willing to contribute $10.42 per month we would have $500 a year for a scholarship. What criteria would we use? Need based, first generation, first-year students? Use the scholarship to draw in more lower-class students? Maybe we should talk about class divisions in student admissions for our March Faculty AAUP brownbag lunch discussion, drawing on the September 24 issue of Chronicle of Higher Education that deals with “Diversity in Academe” and focuses specifically on the topic: “Social Class on the American Campus.”
11. Strategic planning workshops. Comments can be left at http://spac.truman.edu.
12. First AAUP faculty brownbag lunch report. Only five people were at the first meeting; the more we do them hopefully the more people will come. We are requesting suggestions for future discussion topics.
13. Half-time retirement buyouts. One faculty member who signed on for the first buyout in April reported that she felt distinctly rushed in making her retirement decision, and as a result is taking 6% less per year in retirement benefits because of last year’s sabbatical. When she asked for recourse, the matter was turned over to a lawyer in the General Counsel’s office, apparently designated to write all the retirement contracts. An adversarial position was taken toward the faculty member. A four-line letter of refusal was sent to the faculty member merely stating that the administration had met and their were problems with all three solutions she had suggested (none of which would have cost the University a dime). No other information was given the faculty member.
Legal counsel (sought after the event–much too late) suggested that the administration is deliberately rushing people into making life-changing decisions to get rid of senior faculty and may be working with MOSERS to reduce MOSERS costs.
It was later learned by the faculty member, who was planning to work the other half year through her grant awards, that one can earn only a 1/2 year’s salary. no supplement from any source that comes through Truman may be accepted. A grant for the other half year cannot be accepted. This decision was apparently made after the retirement signings. It certainly was not made clear before the buyout signings. This decision, also, was apparently made by the aforementioned contract coordinator, and is being backed by the administration. The administration has since refused to sign a grant application, that if awarded would have brought to the University itself indirect costs and tuition funds of almost $300,000 the first year, $800,000 over three years, and $1.400,000 over five years–if awarded, of course. The reason given for non-approval was that the administrator was not sure the faculty member understood she was not permitted to receive more than 1/2 her year’s salary from any source if it came through Truman. It appears the administration is cutting costs, but not looking at ways to bring in new sources of money.
It is important that senior faculty do not make the mistakes made by at least one first-round buy-out faculty member. It is important that faculty get legal and financial advice before making such life-shaping decisions. Administrative decisions are apparently being made after the signings. The university is carefully surrounding itself with legal wraps. Faculty are totally unprotected. Do not sign anything before getting both financial and legal advice. The half-time buyout contract is designed to benefit the University, and possibly MOSERS, not the faculty.
Ideas: organize a town hall meeting with a lawyer or send out a note to the AAUP list warning about this? What do we have time and energy to do? James is happy with the advice from David Bethel and Jeff Romine. Peter will meet with them and report back to us.
Next meeting: Friday, December 3, with Troy Paino.
Meeting adjourned: 6:18pm
Respectfully submitted by Marc Becker, acting secretary