FA News: 1/26/2017

[The day after this email was sent out, SIU announced some budget cuts in athletics.]

Dear colleagues,

Welcome back for the spring semester.

Last week, Interim Chancellor Colwell released the final report of the Non-Instructional Program Review Committee.  We commend the committee for their work, and hope that many of their recommendations will be put into effect. What follows are some ideas on how to further the conversation they have started.

  • We can save millions in non-instructional costs—and should make such cuts before trimming academics.
  • We should prioritize among non-instructional expenses.
  • We should eliminate the massive subsidy and deficit spending in athletics.
  • We should involve all staff in designing ways to improve efficiency on campus.

Savings for academics

The report includes few specific dollar totals, but even the limited figures provided identify savings on the order of $13 million. Savings here can and should help us preserve our academic mission; we should get working on these cuts now, in time to eliminate or at least substantially reduce cuts to academic areas.

Priorities: campus centers vs. athletics

We have heard much talk about prioritization among academic programs, but there is no emphasis on prioritization in this report. Consider the rather different treatment of campus research and service centers (section 6) and athletics (section 11).

The report provides a partial list of research and service centers on campus “that should be self-supporting,” and identifies $5.5 million in potential savings if we eliminate subsidies to these units (i.e., no longer provide them with funds from tuition and general state appropriations). Given the budget crisis, all such centers that can be self-supporting should be self-supporting. But the committee does not say why all centers can be expected to succeed without any subsidy.

The report notes that athletics receives an annual subsidy of $1.5 million, and reveals that athletics ran a deficit of some $3 million dollars in FY2016. Athletics is not the only unit on campus with a deficit, but its $3 million deficit is almost as much as all other units on campus combined ($3.8 million).

The report does not mention that athletics also receives $11.5 million in student fees each year (FY 2015 SIUC Budget Book, table B6), with each full-time student paying $800 per year in fees to support intercollegiate athletics. The total subsidy for athletics at SIU thus totals at least $13 million dollars, with a $3 million deficit on top of that. We are often told that athletics represents a small part of the university budget, but the $16 million in state money, student fees, and deficit spending dwarfs any other figure for potential savings identified in this report.

The committee is therefore right to call for a “major review of the athletic operation.” We would go further: athletics should be subject to the same scrutiny applied to campus research and service centers—not to mention the ongoing scrutiny of academic programs. We find it difficult to believe that it is in SIUC’s best interest to continue massive subsidies of athletics while cutting academic programs and eliminating subsidies for all research centers, the SIU museum, SIU press, WSIU, the Clinical Center, and Career Services.

Buy-in

Committee members represented numerous constituencies on campus, and the next steps in this process must also involve people from across campus. As the report itself notes, we already have numerous money-saving policies in place, but many of these policies are routinely ignored. A new set of top-down directives would likely meet a similar fate.

Staff in effected units must play an integral role in designing measures to improve efficiency. To incentivize involvement, staff must be assured that their suggestions for change will not result in layoffs, and that units will retain a significant proportion of the savings for other aspects of their work.

This more inclusive approach could do wonders for morale on campus. And without buy-in from staff across campus, cost-saving measures will not only be resented as yet more administrative penny pinching, but will be ignored and remain ineffective.

In short, we welcome this report as an important first step in identifying ways for SIU to protect its academic mission in the face of the continuing budget crisis. It is absolutely vital that this report lead to real changes, and do so promptly.

In solidarity,

Dave Johnson
President, SIUC-FA

Official TA

Attached here you will find a final draft of the Tentative Agreement agreed to by the FA and the administration in December 2016.

As of this date (12/14), the Tentative Agreement has been approved by the FA membership, but awaits final ratification by the SIU Board of Trustees.

December 2016 TA between FA and SIU Administration

FA News: 12/12/2016

Dear Colleagues,

I am happy to report that the members of the Faculty Associated have voted overwhelmingly in favor of the new agreement with the administration. Upon formal ratification by the SIU Board of Trustees, presumably at their next meeting on February 9th, the Tentative Agreement will become the binding Collective Bargaining Agreement between SIU and its faculty.

Just about half of FA members voted, not a bad turnout at this time of year, especially given that the agreement did not generate much controversy. Thanks to all who turned out to vote, and to FA Vice President Aldo Migone for running the vote. And thanks in particular to the members of our bargaining team, for their countless hours working on this new contract:

Cade Bursell
Anne Fletcher
Judith Green
David Lightfoot
Rachel Stocking (chair)

We’ll say more about the agreement in a press release in the next day or two, which I will share on this list, but I wanted to release the results promptly. In the meantime, the best of luck to all as we navigate the last week of the semester.

In solidarity,

Dave Johnson
President, SIUC-FA

Bargaining update: 12/2/2016

Attached you’ll find some documents relevant to the new (2017-2018) CBA.

Draft CBA for 2017-2018

FAQs for new CBA

Key points in the new CBA

 

FA News: 12/2/2016

Dear Colleagues,

Last night (Thursday, December 1) the FA’s Departmental Representatives Council unanimously approved the draft of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the administration. Here are the next steps in the ratification process:

On Wednesday, December 7, at 5:00 in Wham 105 we will hold a meeting to discuss the Tentative Agreement.

On Friday, December 9, and Monday, December 12, voting (via secret ballot) will take place to ratify the new agreement. We will announce the exact location and hours for voting next week. If approved by the FA membership and by the SIU Board of Trustees, the Tentative Agreement will formally go into effect as the new binding contract.

Attached to this message you should find three documents. Read more of this post

FA News: 11/30/2016

Dear Colleagues,

Lots going on right now, so pardon the length of this message.

1. Faculty Town Hall this afternoon

The town hall the FA is co-sponsoring with the Faculty Senate will kick off at 4:00 this afternoon in Parkinson 124. Please join us for a conversation about the role of faculty in addressing the budget crisis.

2. DRC to vote on draft contract

The DRC will meet at 5 pm Thursday evening in Parkinson 202 to discuss the new tentative agreement between our bargaining team and the administration team. We anticipate a vote by the DRC on whether to recommend approval of the agreement. All FA members are welcome to attend.

3. Diversity on campus

One of the purposes of the FA is to promote diversity on campus. Here is the relevant goal from our bylaws:

2-G. To promote the attainment of a diverse faculty and student body and to resist any unreasonable discriminatory practices in the hiring, promotion, or retention of faculty because of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, or political affiliation. Read more of this post

FA News: 11/23/2016

I have three announcements for you, two of which can I think be characterized as things to be thankful for.

1. The SIUC Faculty Senate and SIUC Faculty Association are sponsoring a Faculty Town Hall on Wednesday, November 30, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm, in Parkinson 124.  Faculty Senate President Judy Davie, FA President Dave Johnson, NTT-FA President Shannon Lindsay, and NTT Faculty Senator Deborah Burris will be on hand to lead a discussion of the faculty’s role in helping to shape SIUC’s response to the budget crisis. We will make brief opening statements, then open the floor for questions and discussion about the future of SIUC. Please join us if you can.

Read more of this post

FA News: 11/9/2016

Dear colleagues,

This is a somber day. Not everyone on the faculty will have the same reaction to last night’s results, and this is not the place for reflection on the qualifications of our new president. It is, however, undeniable that our state and country are deeply, painfully divided, and that those divides, including divisions along lines of class, educational level, gender, religion, immigration status, and race will play out on a campus which was already facing the greatest fiscal crisis in its history.

Read more of this post

FA News: 11/2/2016

Dear colleagues,

Some good news

I am happy to say that after bargaining session held Monday between our bargaining team and that representing the administration, we have now essentially reached a tentative agreement for a new contract that will last until 2018. We have finalized all the contract language, save for a few sentences that may be required to clear up some ambiguous wording in the new SIU system policy on intellectual property. Once we get that last bit of wordsmithing completed, we will share the full contract with all faculty, and dues-paying FA members will vote on whether or not to approve it.

Thanks again to the members of our bargaining team, who have worked so long and hard negotiating this agreement: Rachel Stocking (chair), Cade Bursell, Anne Fletcher, Judith Green, and David Lightfoot.

Read more of this post

FA News: 10/18/2016

Dear Colleagues,

Sabbaticals

We’ve received a number of troubling reports from faculty regarding sabbaticals. The application process for sabbaticals is outlined in the current contract (section 15.03), and is essentially unchanged in the working draft of the contract under negotiation. We have been told that faculty are being required, if they are to apply for sabbaticals, either to identify other colleagues willing to cover their courses during their leave (with no compensation) or to themselves agree to teach unpaid overloads before or after their sabbaticals. It appears that such requests are particularly prevalent in the case of faculty applying for one-semester sabbaticals, which are generally more expensive for the university, as faculty are paid their full salaries, and thus no money is freed up to cover their teaching.

No requirement of this sort is sanctioned by the contract or university policy. If you have been required to do either of these things in order to apply for a sabbatical, please get in touch. This year’s deadline for applications has passed, but if you’ve been misinformed about the rules by a supervisor it may not be too late for a remedy.

MAP grant postcard campaign

Fund Our Future Illinois, a coalition of unions and other like-minded groups, is gathering postcards to send to state legislators to push for MAP grant funding during the lame duck session after the election. FA members will be staffing tables in the Student Center Wednesday and Thursday. So if you’re in the building, stop by and fill out postcards to send to your State Representative and Senator. If you’d like cards for yourself and/or to distribute to others, drop me a line–I’d be happy to get you some.

In solidarity,

Dave Johnson
President, SIUC-FA