Akron-AAUP files unfair labor practice and grievance over denial of tuition benefits to RIF faculty.
The tuition remission benefit is still being offered to all other employees who were laid off over the summer, making it clear that the Administration is singling bargaining unit faculty out for vindictive reasons.
Although the Administration has claimed that students won’t be harmed by the firing of 97 faculty, they have deliberately harmed students who are dependents of RIFed faculty by denying them tuition remission. These students may have to withdraw because their parents have lost both their jobs and their tuition benefits. They didn’t have the opportunity to transfer out because this most recent administrative flip-flop regarding tuition remission came so close to the beginning of the semester. To be clear, UA still makes money from these students being enrolled through state subvention, the course fees they pay (which aren’t remitted), and the money they spend on food, dorm fees, books, etc. Denying tuition remission is especially injurious for those who live on campus and may have to drop out because it is too late for them to get their housing deposits back.
We would note that providing this benefit is a net positive for the University. These are motivated and successful students whose retention helps the University gather more SSI support from the State of Ohio.
As further evidence that the UA administration is singling out these faculty members, they have also removed their email access, denied them library privileges, and forced them to clear out their offices even while an arbitration decision is pending that could reinstate them.
The email action is especially punitive and nonsensical. Lifetime email is normally given to all retiring faculty and alumni and costs the University essentially nothing. Losing this email access carries with it an enormous disruption to ongoing faculty research, grants, and other professional activities. It also makes it difficult for students and alumni to contact the faculty for job or graduate school references.
The Administration is treating the faculty on the RIF list as if they have been fired for cause. This behavior contradicts their claim that the reason for dismissal was purely financial. The Administration has claimed that the job eliminations broke their hearts. If that were true, would they really treat these faculty in this manner? They have been fired with no notice, without due process, and for no fault of their own. They are being treated as though all their years of service to the institution have no value. It’s telling.
The Communications Committee of Akron-AAUP