Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One Tuesday news item

Lot's of press coverage, letters to the editor, etc. leading up to the votes--too much for me to keep track of this morning, though I may return to this tonight.

One misleading summary of something FA President Randy Hughes in the DE this morning (unless Randy mispoke, which I rather doubt, on a matter of this importance) deserves quick correction. Here's the misleading bit:
Hughes said under the terms the administration imposed on the union in the spring, a faculty member could be laid off when deemed necessary if the university declared a state of financial exigency.
The last clause--if the university declared a state of financial exigency--is not in the imposed terms. All those terms say is that if Board deems fit (for whatever reason), it could lay off tenured faculty with 30 days notice (and, after a two year period of unpaid limbo, permanently terminate them). The Chancellor has insisted that the BOT would only do so in the case of financial exigency, but that's not in the imposed terms, and it needs to be clarified in contractual language. 

Again, the argument is not about whether the university can lay off faculty in the event of a bona fide financial exigency. Under the traditional understanding of tenure, as codified by the AAUP, universities do indeed have such a right, if they follow the proper procedures and allow for adequate faculty involvement in the process. The problem is that SIUC's current policy, even under a very charitable reading, fails to meet this standard. See my earlier post on SIUC tenure policy for the details. 


  1. From SIU's Facebook Page today:

    Student Question: So, SIU. What do you guys plan on doing about this faculty strike? Are negotiations happening? What is your plan if the strike happens?

    Southern Illinois University's Answer: Mark, you are right. The students should be a top priority and it is our goal to minimize any impact on their education. Providing significant raises in this economic environment would require major increases to the tuition, we certainly want to avoid this.
    There are many times we work to fill in for faculty who are out on leave, attending conferences, etc. The individuals who fill in these positions are very qualified. Many of our administrators also hold faculty rank and have spent much time in the classroom.
    Again, we are very concerned for our students and work to make them a top priority.

  2. This is what is exactly needed. Send the administrator back to classrooms, cut their salaries and make them equal to faculty salaries, and remove their tenure. If the Chancellor and Provost are willing to give up their tenure immediately, I will not be at the picket line.

  3. The same article states "Cheng said the SIU Board of Trustees has always been able to call for financial exigency, which is a board policy". First I'm not sure what this sentence actually says but if it implies that layoffs could always be called for financial exigency, its incorrect. Our previous 2006-2010 contract (not imposition)had a clause which specifically prohibited layoffs due to financial exigency.

  4. I am with you Anonymous 1:57. Students could also save money in the bargain because their fees would not be paying the bloated salaries of people they scarcely see.


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