Minutes, Truman Chapter of AAUP
September 5, 2008, 4:30 pm
Meetings are open to all university faculty members.
Faculty present: Betty McLane-Iles (presiding), Marc Becker, Kathryn Brammall, Roger Festa, James Harmon, Diane Johnson, Victoria Landrum, Sylvia Macauley, Judi Misale, David Robinson, Lynn Rose
1. Approval of April 25 minutes. Amended to note that officers were reelected at the end of last year.
2. Early retirement. Questions of whether health-care benefits after retirement are taxable. Human Resources Office hasn’t been very forthcoming with consistent and reliable information. The process is problematic, and HR has a lot of problems. Ending early retirement benefits is a cost-saving measure, and that end is being phased in. Several people now are caught in a trap of agreeing to a plan without having full information, and now are feeling that they were misled. Why don’t we have same benefits as other state workers? In essence, our health plan has been privatized. Retirees will have to pay $600-1200 per month for medical insurance. We should have information for those who are retiring in next 5 years so that they can make appropriate plans. There is also a new issue, the question of taxation of differed compensation, which might affect people on nine-month contracts who get paid in twelve monthly checks. Should we have a meeting or information center with benefits?
3. David’s state and national report.
Last academic year went pretty well. We were able to stop “intellectual diversity” bills in the state assembly. This and related issues have energized the MU chapter of AAUP. David received the Hopper Award from the Assembly of State Conferences, money to attend the national AAUP meeting last June. There he had the chance to report on state efforts and attend a few seminars and meetings. Important things included member authorization to reorganize AAUP into 3 tiers (the “main” AAUP defined as a professional rather than charitable organization; Collective Bargaining Congress (CBC); and a charitable/educational AAUP Foundation). The national office will work out details with IRS. Its 501(c)3 status has lately been under scrutiny for reputed political activities, while some members want AAUP to be more political. Reorganization won’t become official (nor do your dues-deduction practices need to change) until all IRS rulings are in place. (After the change, the amount that you once called “charitable” on Schedule A can at best be deducted as“business expense” on Schedule C.)
We are almost at 50,000 members now, and some of the negative publicity criticizing AAUP has probably been good advertising for us. Reorganization has potential to grow membership. Membership has been growing, partly because of an introductory dues rate that is much lower, and lasts for the first four years. See http://www.aaup.org/forms/membership/join.htm Resolutions from committee included anti-creationism (to which David spoke), there was a failed resolution from the floor to support Fulbright students held at the Gaza border. Other resolutions that were less controversial passed. Dividing out organization would allow more space for these types of political statements; officers of AAUP national could be freer to issue statements as they see the need. David also attended a meeting on partnership benefits, but it turns out that federal taxation policy is key in terms of how such benefits can be handled (and also definitions of who are included as partners).
Missouri Association of Faculty Senates (MAFS) will meet October 6-7, and David will represent MOAAUP there. State AAUP executive council usually meets in October also, but this year decided to wait until November, after the elections to decide. David is being considered for president of MOAAUP (go David!), but he will try to put that off for a couple years, if possible.
4. Do we want to have another meeting with President Dixon, and one with Piano? We will schedule a special meeting to welcome Piano, and a second one to share our concerns with Dixon. Betty will invite him to next meeting.
5. Adjournment, 5:50 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Marc Becker, secretary