FA News: Announcements (4/5)

Dear colleagues,

Pardon the number of announcements: let us take all this activity as a good sign of positive activity on campus, despite the budgetary gloom.

1. FA Promotion and tenure workshop 4/7

The FA is sponsoring a workshop on Promotion and Tenure this Friday from 12-2 in Communications 1032 (a.k.a. Dean’s Conference Room). If you plan to come, please RSVP to Jyotsna Kapur at jkapur@siu.edu so that we can order enough food for lunch (which will be provided). My apologies for the late reminder. Walk-ins are certainly welcome.

2. Chancellor search begins on-campus 4/11

The on-campus phase of the Chancellor search begins next Tuesday, 4/11. Details on the campus visits can be found here. We urge faculty to attend the open forums and provide feedback on what they observe. Those forums are scripted (i.e., no questions from the floor), but the FA has a seat at the table for smaller group sessions with candidates: members with particular questions they would like us to ask are welcome to send them to me and I will try to work them in. I also encourage members to pass on any feedback they have on candidates not only to the administration but to us: we may be able to amplify faculty views if there are common themes in comments.

3. FA DRC meeting Wednesday 4/12

On Wednesday, April 12th, the Faculty Association’s DRC (Departmental Representatives Council) will meet at 5:00 pm in Parkinson 212. All members of the FA are welcome to attend. Topics to be discussed include:
A budget update, and its contractual ramifications
Distribution of new contracts to faculty
Planning for the April 27 rally (see below)
Discussion of the wider FA role in the budget crisis
4. General Faculty Meeting 4/13

On Thursday, April 13, the Faculty Senate, Graduate Council, and Faculty Association are sponsoring a General Faculty Meeting to be held at 3:00 pm in a room to be announced shortly. Planned speakers include Interim Chancellor Colwell; Interim Provost Ford; the new Associate Provost for Academic Programs, Lizette Chevalier; and Dean Lee of the Graduate School. Topics for discussion will include the budget, program prioritization, and non-instructional program review. Look for an update on this meeting through official channels.

5. April 27 “Teach Out” rally for higher education

On April 27th, a coalition of higher education unions is sponsoring a rally in Springfield to advocate for higher education funding. The IEA can provide transportation, and we would also like to sponsor some events on campus. The theme for the event is a “teach-out”, and all members of the SIU community are welcome to attend (we should be able to provide transportation for all). So please spread the word to your students. For more on this event, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TEACHOUTIL/

Anyone interested in reserving on seat on the bus (or buses!) we’ll take to this event should RSVP with J’Neita Fassel in the IEA office in Carterville: JNeita.Fassel@ieanea.org.

6. Program changes

As part of the process outlined in Article 9 of the contract, the FA receives notice of significant changes to programs on campus, and has the right to respond. One problem with program changes is that it is sometimes unclear whether all faculty potentially impacted by a change are fully informed of what’s in the works. To aid in spreading the word about such changes, we will post brief notices of all such changes we’re informed about on our website. And if anyone catches wind of a potentially controversial change, we’d appreciate being informed about it, in hopes of intervening sooner rather than later: simply drop me a line to do so.

7. State Supreme Court rejects Rauner request

A bit of good news on the legal front. The Illinois Supreme Court has rejected a request by the Rauner administration to immediately take up the case about Rauner’s supposed impasse in bargaining with AFSCME. After the Illinois Labor Relations Board agreed with Rauner’s claim that the two sides were at impasse in bargaining, AFSCME appealed, and last month the 4th Circuit District Appellate Court ruled that Rauner could not impose his terms until the courts had decided whether AFSCME’s appeal had merit. The Supreme Court announcement means that the legal process will continue for rather longer, preventing Rauner from imposing massive cuts to state employee health insurance–cuts that would directly affect us here at SIU. Given that the 4th Circuit ruling signaled that they believed AFSCME would win on the merits, there is reason to hope that Rauner will be forced back to the bargaining table (in a somewhat weakened condition) or that the legal process could last through the end of his term–a good thing for us if he is replaced by a governor more interested in working with unions than destroying them.

– – – –

As you’ve seen over the past weeks, we in the FA are hard at work communicating with the administration, ensuring that the contract is followed, promoting shared governance and academic priorities, and advocating for public higher education in Illinois. But our strength depends, now as ever, on the work of our members and volunteer activists. So if you’ve ever considered joining the FA, now would be a great time to do so. Contact our Treasurer, Joe Shapiro, for details on how to do it.

If you are a member (or become one), we are looking for people interested in serving any of the following capacities:
FA budget committee: study the university’s finances and help shape the conversation about budget cuts.
FA membership committee: help share the news about what the FA is doing and urge others to join up and get active. Their next meeting is Friday at 10 in Library 510A: any members interested in helping out are welcome to join them.
Planning group for the April 27 rally: help us make a big impact in Springfield.
Contact me if you are interesting in helping in any of these ways. There will be many other opportunities to help the FA shape the campus decision-making process as we face this crisis: we may soon find ourselves deeply involved in deliberations about program changes or negotiations about furloughs or layoffs. You can do your part to ensure that this campus makes wise decisions in the face of the budget crisis by aiding the FA’s efforts to represent faculty. So do please consider joining and getting active, if you have not done so already.

In solidarity,

Dave Johnson

About Dave Johnson
I'm an Associate Professor in Classics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Among other things.

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