Letter to the editor: Faculty needs a new, fair contract

On March 28, speaking as President of the SIUE Faculty Association, I told the new SIU Board of Trustees that two years is too long for SIUE faculty to wait for a new contract. We have been negotiating longer than the Mueller investigation.

This new board could signal a new day for the SIU System and fair treatment of SIUE — if they so choose.

Last year, the former Board of Trustees commissioned an expensive allocation study which, it was hoped, would provide clarity about SIUE’s financial future. Instead, the study was stalled by the previous board and now is being used as an excuse for continued inequitable system allocation.

Further, a report that should have reassured SIUE administration that fair funding is coming is instead being “spun” to support the administration’s claim it has no idea when, or if, the “risk” of investing in faculty can be taken.

Investment in people is not a risk. It is a requirement for any institution that hopes to grow and be successful.

Is a prudent investment in faculty too expensive at this time? No.

SIUE holds a cash reserve of $27 million, partially amassed during the budget impasse. Each 1- percent raise for faculty would cost approximately $255,000. A fair contract for faculty is easily affordable.

The faculty are the backbone of SIUE. The administration must act to continue to attract and retain high-quality faculty. Our students deserve a high-quality faculty, and our faculty deserve a fair contract.

The time is now.

 

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