Q&A on SIUC’s Financial Challenges

I am sure that you have seen various reports in the media about problems in the state’s finances. You have probably also seen reports of various options that the SIU administration is considering for dealing with expected reductions in state funding. These reports have prompted several questions and concerns about how faculty might be affected. This series of questions of answers aims to help explain our understanding of these issues and will be updated as responses to new questions are prepared.

Question #1: Can tenured or tenure-track faculty members be laid off for financial exigency?

Question #2: Can the university administration cancel or reduce the scheduled raises for FY 2010?

Please send new questions to Randy Hughes.

Questions and Answers

Question #1: Can tenured or tenure-track faculty members be laid off for financial exigency?

Answer #1: No, those faculty members who are part of the bargaining unit of the SIUC Faculty Association cannot be laid off for financial exigency. In the agreement negotiated by the Faculty Association, layoffs of Faculty for financial exigency are prohibited through June 30, 2010. This applies to all members of our bargaining unit, both tenured and untenured.

It is also important to note that tenure-track faculty members cannot be nonreappointed for any other reason unless strict standards are first met. The Faculty Association successfully negotiated the new standards which appear in Section 11.05 of the collective bargaining agreement (contract). The contract specifies when and what sort of notice must be given for nonreappointments. The deadlines have already passed for any nonreappointments effective before the end of the 2009-2010 academic year. See Section 11.05 of our contract for further notice requirements and remediation provisions (Faculty contract).

Finally, I would stress that our contract and representation by the Faculty Association provide protection for members of our bargaining unit which was not available to the 104 dismissed in 1974.

Question #2: Can the university administration cancel or reduce the scheduled raises for FY 2010?

Answer #2: No, the administration is legally bound to honor the terms of the agreement negotiated by the Faculty Association.

It is also important to note that there are options that we, as members of the university community, can examine to ensure that financial commitments are met while maintaining contractual obligations and ensuring that our students receive quality learning experiences. In order to determine the best options, it is essential that budgeting and planning be open and transparent processes.

You should know that the Faculty Association is making an independent examination of the university budget. We rely on your involvement to form sound recommendations. Please contact either me or your FA representatives to discuss ways for you to participate in this important process.