Monday, April 18, 2011

Administrative response to Why We Teach part 1

[A communication between me and George Schedler, Chair of Philosophy, and Alan Vaux, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.]

Hello George (and Alan). I regret to inform you that your action in the case of assigning my furlough days to the second week of May, apart from being illegal to begin with, is also not in even in accordance with the provisions of the imposed offer, and as such, I consider it null and void.

First, I have no contract with the University of the sort specified in your memorandum. A contract implies and requires the agreement of both parties. I have not agreed to the imposed offer, nor has any other agent legally authorized to speak for me. An imposed offer is not a contract and it does not bind me or anyone else.

Second, I have a workload assignment I intend to fulfill, regardless of what "days" I am assigned for "furlough." I am not paid by the hour, day, week, or month, as you well know. The imposed offer, even if it were valid, states that "Faculty members may not work during that period," and as a person with legal training, you know the meaning of "may" as well as I do. If I were being positively forbidden to work, the word would have been "shall," or it would have said that I am forbidden to work, or not permitted to work, and since that language would commit the Board of Trustees to the equivalent of a lock-out, which is still more obviously illegal than the imposition of the offer itself, the word "may" has been employed (possibly in the hope of deceiving those less well informed). To this effort, I reply as you might well expect. I "may" not work, and then again I "may," and nothing in your current language actually forbids it. If I am being forbidden to work, positively forbidden, I demand to see official language locking me out, in no uncertain terms. Otherwise, rest assured, I will work on any day you attempt to designate as a furlough day, and I will do so in my assigned office at the university.

Third, your memorandum reads, in part, as follows:

"Because I received an email from the Dean's office on April 7th stating in part that the "administration asserts the authority (via the chair), in the best interests of our students, to require that furlough days not conflict with direct teaching . . . [W]e are asking chairs not to select days that conflict with direct teaching," I have designated a different set of days for you. I have also been directed to include the following paragraph in all cases where the form is not signed by the faculty member. Let this serve as notification that I have designated (pursuant to Section 18.01 of the terms of the one-year contract implemented by the Board of Trustees) four unpaid furlough days for you. The desingated days appear on the attached form. You may not work during the period of the furlough days. The days selected are intended to avoid impact on your direct teaching duties."

Section 18.01 of the imposed offer states that "the days shall be those days selected by the Faculty member and his/her immediate supervisor." This has not occurred. I do not select the days you have assigned me. I reject those days and if days are to be selected, I select instead the days I turned in, which (as you know) are teaching days for me, and I hereby declare my full intention to hold class as scheduled, and to attend the faculty meetings you have scheduled for two of those days. If you believe you have the authority to remove me from my classroom or my office on those days, or on any other days, I invite you to try it. If you do not consent to the days I selected, then we, you and I, Faculty member and immediate superior, have as yet selected no days selected at all, as specified by the imposed offer. The meaning of "and" is very clear to me as I believe it is to you.

If the administration reduces my pay, it will have broken its legal and prior obligation to me and I will certainly seek legal recourse.

Randall Auxier
Professor of Philosophy

1 comment:

  1. I have not selected any days either and have 4 imposed so would like information about legal action also.


I will review and post comments as quickly as I can. Comments that are substantive and not vicious will be posted promptly, including critical ones. "Substantive" here means that your comment needs to be more than a simple expression of approval or disapproval. "Vicious" refers to personal attacks, vile rhetoric, and anything else I end up deeming too nasty to post.