We have consulted with our legal counsel about the legality of the survey sent by your Dean earlier this week which solicited faculty recommendations for retrenchment. Akron-AAUP believes the Administration has violated the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in its new attempt to invoke retrenchment under Article 15. You can read our reasons for this in the grievance we filed yesterday, and in the response to the Provost by President Pam Schulze. You can see additional related documents here. We recommend that any response you give to the survey be done under protest that the procedures violate the CBA.
The survey asks what factors you think should be used. Even if retrenchment had been properly invoked, this is an improper question because the factors are set forth in the CBA. The factors listed in Section 6(C) of Article 15 are applied with respect to faculty in the same category. These factors cannot be used to supersede rank or tenure status. The only issue for debate is how to balance or weigh the listed factors when evaluating faculty of the same tenure status and rank.
The second question in the survey asks about alternative proposals. That would be a proper question if retrenchment were invoked, however, the CBA does not require proposed alternatives to necessarily achieve the same budget reduction “goal” as the Administration is requesting. If you do answer this question, we urge you to do so under protest. It is our position that the Administration needs to look to expenses that are not core to its academic mission, especially in light of the substantial reduction in full-time faculty in recent years, as well as in the last couple of months. We continue to believe that peripheral expenditures – such as athletics – need to be reduced further before considering any additional cuts to academics. The Administration also needs to look at reducing the number of administrators, or furloughing those individuals, or having them take deeper pay cuts, as they have at other institutions. You may agree with the Chapter or have your own ideas, we leave that to you.
The Communications Committee of Akron-AAUP