NEWSLETTER OF THE UMKC CHAPTER OF THE
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS
Vol. 3, No. 1
Faculty Senate, IFC, and AAUP
Urge Curators to Adopt Ironclad Written Protections for Tenure,
by Stuart McAninch
UMKC-AAUP Resolution: Tenure in the UM System
How to order AAUP Policy Documents & Reports
News of the Chapter
Notes from "Freedom Summer" 2002, by A. Zeh
Graduate Students Organize, by A. Zeh
Graduate Assistants Vote for AAUP Representation
Attack on SBS Escalates Threats to Faculty Governance and Academic Freedom, by Pat Brodsky
AAUP Statement on SBS 8/13/2002 (updated 9/10/02)
The Chancellor's Cabinet: Villain or Straw Man?, by Alfred Esser
From KC MO Wednesday Magazine, Sept. 4, 2002, p. 6
Fall Recruitment Drive Underway
New Dues Schedule for Local Dues, by Ed Gogol
Food for Thought, by Pat Brodsky
The Rewards of Persistence, by David Brodsky
The "Corporatization" of Higher Education, by Gary Zabel
Education for Democracy News: Accolades for Recent Articles, by Maria Alvarez
Faculty Senate, IFC, and
AAUP Urge Curators
to Adopt Ironclad Written Protections for Tenure
by Stuart McAninch
As reported by Patricia and David Brodsky in the last newsletter (Vol. 2, No. 5), the University of Missouri Board of Curators at their May 31 meeting unanimously passed an amendment to their Bylaws which allows them to circumvent existing University rules and regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment. While the reason for the amendment given by the Board was that it would enable them to adopt temporary salary reductions for all categories of employees if, in their view, deterioration of the University's financial situation necessitates them, the amendment is so broadly worded that it enables the Curators to abrogate protections of tenure and due process in the University of Missouri Collected Rules and Regulations (CR&R).
The manner in which the Board of Curators acted is also a serious concern. The resolution amending the Bylaws was not distributed (nor even announced) prior to the May 31 meeting. Consequently, neither the Intercampus Faculty Council (IFC) nor the Faculty Senates on the four UM campuses were consulted or even apprised of the resolution. Obviously, the elected faculty governance bodies in the UM system had no opportunity to raise issues or questions prior to the adoption of the amendment. The Curators' lack of consultation with faculty representatives in a matter of such critical importance to faculty certainly does not bode well for relations between the Curators and faculty. It clearly raises questions about what role the Curators see for faculty in any decision on salary reductions or on other changes in the terms and conditions of employment.
The UMKC Faculty Senate responded at its July 2 meeting by passing a resolution reminding the Curators that "[a]s educational professionals responsible for the curriculum of the University, for teaching its students, and for the research conducted within it, the faculty has a key role to play in collaborative problem-solving" in the University. The resolution also urged the Curators "to not take action through Bylaws changes or other means toward reducing salaries or altering other terms and conditions of employment for faculty without first engaging in meaningful consultation with the elected faculty representative bodies."
The Senate also unanimously endorsed a letter to Stephen Lehmkuhle, Vice President for Academic Affairs for the UM system, raising issues and questions concerning the extremely broad powers which the Curators granted themselves in the amendment: "By virtue of the inclusion of the language 'other terms and conditions of employment ... at any time during the indefinite, term or continuous appointment of all officers and employees of the University,' the amendment to 10.030.A.9 implies a much wider range of possible action than merely a temporary salary reduction in the midst of financial difficulty. Coupled with the 'notwithstanding' clause at the outset of the added language, it is not at all surprising that many have observed that revised 10.030.A.9 could be read to purport to authorize, at any time, by-pass of existing rules and regulations governing various aspects of employment contracts and tenure policies, including, for example, working conditions, benefits, and grounds for termination."
Furthermore, the Senate was aware that the prior language in 10.030.A.9 (which the amendment supplemented rather than replaced) was also problematic in that it empowered the Curators to eliminate employees in any category "at any time at the pleasure of the Board of Curators." Observing in the letter that "the pre-existing language ... could, arguably, be read to be in conflict with generally accepted and AAUP-defended rights of tenured faculty and with other rules, regulations and policies of the University affecting University employees", the Senate asked "that reconsideration of the recent addition be extended to include discussion and modification of the prior content of 10.030.A.9."
The amendment is now incorporated into the CR&R. President Pacheco has, according to a letter from Vice President Lehmkuhle to the IFC, "instructed General Counselor Wright and me to prepare an executive order that would be part of the Collected Rules and Regulations." The executive order would, according to the Vice President, "ensure that CR&R 10.0303.A. 9 does not supersede the tenure regulations, cannot be implemented for an individual, and any salary reductions would be temporary in nature." An executive order is, however, subject to repeal by the President as well as to repeal or amendment by the Board of Curators.
Dialogue between the IFC and the system administration on the amendment is ongoing. Nevertheless, as of this writing, even the President's instructions to prepare an executive order protecting tenure have not been carried out.
Faculty in the UM system do not have a contract derived through collective bargaining. Instead, we have the CR&R. Protections afforded to faculty in the area of tenure and other terms and conditions of employment by those rules and regulations were, as noted in the Senate's letter to Vice President Lehmkuhle, ambiguous prior to the amendment of CR&R 10.030.A.9. However, the amendment clearly undermines protection afforded by the CR&R for tenure rights and due process--and protection by those rules and regulations from a range of arbitrary changes in terms and conditions of employment other than tenure. Curators and system administrators claim good intentions and declare that the provisions of this amendment will only be used in the case of financial emergency to institute salary cuts for all categories of employees. Assurances of good faith on the parts of the Curators and system administrators, however, are hardly a substitute for protection of the rights of faculty specified unambiguously in a written form which the Curators and administration are bound to respect and observe. This is especially true given the lack of consultation by the Curators with faculty prior to their adoption of the amendment and what this suggests concerning their regard for faculty participation in revising the terms and conditions under which we work. It is imperative that the AAUP chapters in the UM system, the Faculty Senates, and the IFC work vigorously for revisions of the CR&R which will afford faculty genuine written protection in these areas.
UMKC-AAUP Resolution: Tenure in the UM System
The following resolution was drafted by the Executive Committee of the AAUP chapter of UMKC for distribution to academic and professional organizations:
Whereas, the Governor of Missouri, the Missouri Legislature, the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri system, and the upper administrations of the separate campuses are assaulting through various means, fiscal, ideological, and administrative, the core values of the university, namely, academic freedom, tenure, due process, and shared governance,
And whereas the Board of Curators has passed a resolution which indirectly but effectively eliminates the protections of tenure in the University of Missouri system,
And whereas the effective elimination of tenure is occurring in a context of drastic budget cuts,
And whereas the elimination of tenure is a means to facilitate drastic cuts in faculty compensation, degradation of the terms and conditions of employment, and the abolition of programs, units and entire schools,
And whereas such an assault on tenure at a major public insitution of higher education will set a dangerous precedent for all higher education institutions throughout the United States,
Be it resolved, that [the undersigned organization] urges the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri system to rescind its resolution, to strongly affirm its commitment to tenure, academic freedom, due process, and shared governance, and to call for the inclusion of independent, broadly representative, self-governing faculty bodies at the center of any discussions about the future of programs, units, or schools.
AAUP Policy Documents & Reports (9th ed, 2001), known as the "Redbook," provides valuable information for all AAUP members and is the basis for higher education policies in the US. Order direct from the publisher, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1-800-537-5487. Member price is $18 plus $5 shipping.
The entire contents of each issue of The Faculty Advocate (except for public domain material) is copyrighted. The Faculty Advocate, September 2002, Copyright 2002 by the UMKC Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. All rights returned to authors upon publication. AAUP chapters, state conferences, and the national organization have permission to reproduce and distribute. Permission for other non-profit publishers is a formality, but UMKC AAUP asks them for the courtesy of requesting it. Contact the Editor, Patricia Brodsky: 816-235-2826, e-mail: email@example.com
News of the Chapter
Several Chapter members won well-deserved awards recently. Professors Charles J. Wurrey and Y.C. Jerry Jean, both of the Department of Chemistry, were honored for their achievements in teaching. Professor Wurrey, Associate Dean, Arts and Sciences, was named University of Missouri Distinguished Teaching Professor, while Professor Jean, Chair of the Chemistry Department, joined the august ranks of the Curators' Professors. It is reassuring to have AAUP colleagues of this calibre in positions of authority, and to see them recognized for their commitment to their students' welfare. Congratulations to both of them.
During the summer chapter member and English graduate teaching assistant Amy Zeh attended the AAUP's Summer Institute at San Diego State University. Her participation was supported in part by the UMKC Chapter as well as by a Konheim Travel Grant from the national AAUP (see her report below). We urge members to consider attending next summer's Institute.
Chapter Vice President/Treasurer Ed Gogol, Biological Sciences, represented the Chapter at the Annual Meeting of the Association in June in Washington DC.
A website featuring Missouri Labor Links has added the UMKC AAUP chapter web address to its page. The MO Labor Links site address is: http://xpdnc.com/links/lousmo.html
The Missouri Legislature attack on the academic freedom of chapter member Harris Mirkin was included in an editorial by Mary Burgan, AAUP General Secretary, published in the September 6, 2002 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. A report on the Legislature's assaults on Mirkin and two other faculty, at UM Columbia and UM St. Louis, as well as on the UM budget, appeared in the "State Legislative and Public Affairs" section of the national AAUP website (http://www.aaup.org/govrel/States/statindx.htm). The Legislature's punitive budget cuts were featured on page 10 of the September-October issue of Academe, the Bulletin of the AAUP.
Members are invited to send us news of their research, recent publications, awards, and activities in the interests of faculty.
Notes from "Freedom Summer" 2002
by A. Zeh
This year's AAUP Summer Institute at San Diego State University was titled "Freedom Summer" and offered over fifteen different seminar/workshop opportunities. As a new AAUP member I chose to attend "AAUP 101: Getting to Know Us," "Organizing the New Academic Labor Force," "Strategic Communications," and "What They Are Saying About Us," as well as observing an "Open Caucus: Community Colleges" forum. Each gathering gave folks the opportunity to discuss issues related to their institutions and encouraged members to work effectively toward reform. Panel speakers shared their hands-on experience, provided statistical information, and created opportunities for us to role play. For example, the "Strategic Communications Workshop" outlined effective strategies for communicating with faculty as well as the general public. The instructors discussed newsletter fundamentals, list servers, connecting with the well-established AAUP network, legal memos, and how to carefully construct media campaigns (rather than allow them to construct you). Concrete examples confirmed the effectiveness of these strategies in changing the status quo. Following the lecture and question/ answer session, we broke into groups to devise a communication strategy that moved through several clearly defined phases of operation.
In my group were representatives from schools in Mississippi, Rhode Island, New York, Tennessee and neighboring Kansas. Although it was somewhat disheartening to learn that so many problems plagued so many institutions, it was comforting to know that UMKC is not alone in its struggles.
Sandwiched between these informative sessions were informal banquets, breakfasts, lunches, drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and nightly outings to the baseball game, La Jolla Beach, and Old Town. There was plenty of activity during these few days, with boundless opportunities to meet new friends as well as reconnect with old ones.
The Institute allowed members to consider how hierarchical structures often thwart effective change. As a member of a somewhat alienated off-shoot of the contingent faculty (I am both a graduate student and part-time faculty member at UMKC), the Institute challenged my own perceptions and constructions of the university structure. The usual academic hierarchy no longer loomed before the exchange of ideas; the Institute valued community over individual production. Every member's perspective helped to shape an environment where tenured, non-tenured, full-time, part-time scholars and teachers from big-ten, no-ten, private and public universities, and community colleges across the United States worked together to achieve a common ideal: to create an educational community that nurtures shared governance and promotes academic freedom.
What I learned this summer? Do not underestimate the power of discourse that brings together many different kinds of people who are focused on similar issues. "Freedom Summer" gave me the courage to question my own preconceived notions of who is responsible for untangling the overwhelming challenges that face higher education and gather the tools necessary to implement change.
Graduate Students Organize
by A. Zeh
A new organization has arrived! The Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) was formed to face a unique set of challenges and opportunities at UMKC.
As students who are also employed by the university, we have created an open forum for the discussion of issues common to Graduate Assistants across discplines. As of September 2002 we are recognized by UMKC's Student Government Association as an official campus organization. The SGA's approval allows us certain amenities (funding, a website, access to university information, etc.) that aid in furthering our interests.
The purposes of the GEO are to:
If you would like to get involved in the GEO or have any questions, please contact Amy Zeh at firstname.lastname@example.org or Elizabeth Howard at Ebethgrace@aol.com for more information. You can also leave a message at 235-1150 (English Composition Office).
Our next meeting will be Tuesday, October 1 at 4 PM in the Plaza Room, on the second floor of UMKC's Administrative Center, 5115 Oak Street. Parking is available on the west side of Oak St. Please pass the word and join us!
Graduate Assistants Vote for AAUP Representation
In April graduate assistants at the University of Rhode Island voted 190 to 20 in favor of local AAUP collective bargaining representation in a secret-ballot election conducted by the Rhode Island State Labor Relations Board.... Unlike graduate student organizing campaigns in some states, the Rhode Island campaign was fairly uncontroversial, with the URI administration and the Rhode Island Board of Governors ... both saying that the question of unionization was a matter for graduate assistants to determine.
Excerpted from Academe (Sept-Oct 2002), p. 16
Chapter members Pat Brodsky, David Brodsky, and Fred Lee, as well as students Tyler Endsley, Adam Jungk, and Roey Rosenblith of the UMKC Campus Greens, participated in the Third Campus Democracy Convention of the national organization, 180 Movement for Democracy and Education, August 1-4 in Lawrence. Pat Brodsky presented a paper entitled "Cluster Bombs over Academe: The Case of Missouri." 180/MDE members had attended the UMKC-AAUP conference in March 2001, "Education for Democracy: Fighting the Corporate Takeover."
The name 180/MDE represents a 180 degree turn away from current trends promoting privatization of public education and the imposition of the corporate model on the academy. Besides historical presentations on John Brown and "Bleeding Kansas," topics covered during the conference included challenging the legal status of "corporate personhood," investigating corporate and military funding of university research projects, organizing a graduate student union, on-line education, community organizing, racism and corporations, and demanding campus democracy. The keynote address was given by Robert Jensen, Professor of Journalism at University of Texas Austin. Speaker after speaker underscored the need to be alert, critical, creative and proactive in defense of our democratic rights, which include the right to an education, to a democratic education, and to education in the practice of democracy.
Attack on SBS Escalates Threats to Faculty Governance and Academic Freedom
by Pat Brodsky
In the months since our June special issue the administration's assault on the School of Biological Sciences, and on faculty rights in general, has escalated. In that issue we reported on Provost Ballard's letter informing the SBS faculty that because of their allegedly "unacceptable performance" the dean search was being halted and the school given four options, all of which involved the destruction of the school as presently constituted. The destructive precedent this kind of assault establishes has grave consequences for the rest of us.
Since that time SBS's struggle has become the focus of campus and citywide attention, has drawn in the Senate, and has attracted expanded press coverage. The AAUP chapter has issued numerous statements objecting to administration actions (6/6/02, 7/27/02, 7/29/02, 8/11/02).
At a meeting on July 26 with the faculty of SBS Provost Ballard issued an ultimatum that between August 2 and 5 he would impose an external dean on the School without faculty input, and indeed did not welcome faculty input. If SBS agreed to accept the administration's dean, a person in whose selection they had no part, Ballard would release the school's funds, which have been frozen since May 24.
The AAUP statement of July 29 referred to this event as the administration's open declaration of war on the faculty, "strong-arm tactics amount[ing] to blackmail," and "a direct attack on faculty governance. It also warned that faculty resentments and the desire to settle accounts "only play into the hands of the administration. If we allow the takeover of one unit of the University, faculty in all other units can expect the same fate, and that fate will descend upon you quicker than you imagine.... It will mean the end of UMKC as a reputable academic institution, with professional standards set and maintained by professionals." An AAUP statement of June 6, referring to earlier plans to destroy SBS, noted: "The reputation, not of SBS but of the University, will be further damaged as word of this move gets out."
On July 31, 2002, over the express objections of the faculty, Chancellor Gilliland announced that she had chosen Dr. Frank Horton as the new interim dean for the School of Biological Sciences at UMKC. There are several reasons that this action is unacceptable and unwise.
Frank Horton an Unwise Choice
1. The faculty repeatedly had requested that an internal candidate be named interim dean, since such a person would be familiar both with the discipline and with the situation on campus. After former Interim Dean Bill Morgan announced he would step down, faculty repeated the request for another internal candidate and for the outside search for a permanent dean to continue.
2. SBS faculty had not been allowed to play a significant role in his selection.
3. Dr. Horton is an urban geographer, not a biologist, and has no experience with nor understanding of the work and specialized needs of the school he has been hired to direct.
4. Dr. Horton's record as an academic administrator is less than reassuring. A quick review of newspaper articles from several of the universities where he has been employed give some idea of what SBS and UMKC are facing.
The Daily Oklahoman for June 2, 1988, under the title "Regrets, Cheers Greet OU Leader's Resignation" notes that some at the University of Oklahoma saw Dr. Horton as "an ineffective leader whose poor chemistry with some OU regents doomed him to fail." In addition, "Horton's use of OU Foundation money for a wide variety of expenditures had earned him the nickname of 'Perky Pig' among some legislators and university officials" (Daily Oklahoman, 6/3/88). The same story was repeated at University of Toledo, where Horton was known for "the vigor with which he pursued the financial benefits that had earned him the nickname ``Perky Pig'' in Oklahoma" (Toledo Blade, 12/31/98).
His excessive benefits had been the subject of an article (Daily Oklahoman, 6/28/87): "University of Oklahoma president Frank Horton draws about $180,000 a year in salary, extra compensation and expense reimbursement, exceeding a limit set in a state law, records show." After Horton's departure, the Chairman of the OU Board of Regents recommended prohibiting the next president's "access to a privately financed expense account" (Daily Oklahoman, 09/08/88). Likewise, "'former University of Oklahoma president Frank Horton's dealings with Hitachi Ltd. prompted the OU Board of Regents to alter its policies,' regent Charles Sarrat said Wednesday" (Daily Oklahoman, 09/08/88).
The University of Toledo also shelled out lavish benefits, such as "nearly a quarter-million dollars since 1989 to help set up a comfortable retirement for UT President Frank Horton" (Toledo Blade, 4/10/98). As interim president of Southern Illinois University, Horton received a salary of $20,000 per month. Chancellor Gilliland has demonstrated that UMKC can be even more profligate. Dr. Horton's salary here has been set at $22,000 a month, or $264,000 a year, plus per diem and other benefits. To add insult to injury, the money is coming from the budget of SBS.
In April 1998, Dr. Horton tendered his resignation as president of the University of Toledo. One of the main, though certainly unintended, consequences of his tenure there was the formation of a faculty union. As the president of the UT AAUP collective bargaining unit, representing approximately 550 full-time faculty, summarized it: "Conventional wisdom tells us that no organization gets a union unless it deserves one. Apparently UT President Frank Horton did not learn his lesson when the full-time faculty unionized a few years ago. He and [the] UT Academic Vice President ... might want to consider why it is that yet another group of faculty has voted overwhelmingly to unionize under their watch" (From the AAUP-UT President's Desk, http://www.utaaup.com/prespg11.htm ).
On August 31, 1998 the Toledo Blade, under the title "Angst, Anger at UT," commented on the departing Dr. Horton's record. "University of Toledo President Frank Horton may believe that he is doing what he can to leave the cupboard half full for his successor. From where we sit, the shelves look pretty empty. What gives the appearance of an almost systematic dismantling of UT's College of Arts and Sciences claimed a significant victim last week when Patricia Cummins, dean of the college, submitted her resignation.... Time will tell if anything about university President Horton's tenure was distinguished, but the slow disintegration of the College of Arts and Sciences may be making the point.... Unfortunately, mediocrity appears to be Frank Horton's legacy."
The same newspaper reported on Dec. 31, 1998: "he also left a university divided among itself, unsure of its financial and academic future and concerned about declining enrollment.... Dr. Horton was an average scholar and an undistinguished administrator--a hero mainly to a claque of alumni supporters and trustees who have to keep reassuring themselves that he was a great university president.... no amount of glossy pages can disguise that fact that his tenure here was marked by mediocrity..."
Cabinet Tries to Intimidate SBS
One of the most disturbing events in the on-going battle at UMKC was a resolution passed on August 1 by the Chancellor's Cabinet, a non-elected body made up primarily of administrators. The Cabinet is an arm of the administration and represents solely the administration point of view. Like blueprint committees, its purpose is to divide the faculty and usurp the place of independent, broadly representative, self-governing faculty bodies (see related article by Alfred Esser).
By a unanimous vote, which included the Chair of the Faculty Senate, Kathleen Schweitzberger, the Cabinet's resolution supported the Chancellor's plans for SBS and closed with the statement: "In the event that the School of Biological Sciences does not support the interim leadership plan [e.g. accept the appointment of Frank Horton--Ed.], the Cabinet recommends the immediate reorganization of the School of Biological Sciences consistent with the mission, vision and values of UMKC." That is, it repeated the ultimatum which Provost Ballard had earlier given to SBS faculty.
Faculty response has been swift and angry. UMKC Senator Sully Read among others has pointed out that the Cabinet's resolution was a barely concealed attempt at intimidation. It attacked both academic freedom and freedom of speech, since it not only demanded a positive response to the Chancellor's plan, but did not even permit faculty to withhold their participation.
Senate Denies Support to Faculty Initiative, Leaves SBS Twisting in the Wind
Recognizing both the seriousness of the situation and the widespread concern it had aroused among the faculty, the Senate scheduled a meeting on August 13, before classes began, with just one agenda item--the SBS crisis--and invited all interested parties to attend. Aside from the Senators themselves nearly fifty people attended the meeting. The Chancellor defended her position with references to core values. After she left, the Senate Executive Committee and SBS Professors George Thomas and Gerry Carlson spoke, and a statement was read by Pat Brodsky citing the administration's non-compliance with numerous AAUP principles of shared governance (see AAUP Statement of SBS).
The eminently reasonable position of SBS is that the only equitable way out of the current impasse is outside mediation, an option the administration has consistently resisted. This does not mean binding arbitration, since UMKC's faculty is not unionized. It does mean that both sides would agree to present their case to a neutral mediator in the hopes of finding an acceptable compromise. A proposal presented by SBS to the Senate suggests for this role "members of the UM central administration, the AAUP, and, possibly, distinguished scientists from outside Missouri." At its September 3 meeting, after a lengthy discussion at times both acrimonious and obtuse, the Senate voted 15-3 not to support mediation, with 2 abstentions.
The SBS faculty also presented to the Senate at the Sept. 3 meeting a vote of no confidence in the Chancellor and the Provost, which they had passed by a vote of 33 to 4 with 2 abstentions. The vote focussed on the failure of the administration to provide written documentation for the performance allegations, and their refusal both to respond to the SBS request for a moderated meeting and to repudiate the Cabinet's resolution. It further asserted that the faculty's constitutional rights to free speech had been threatened. It concluded by requesting the Curators and President Pacheco to institute mediation immediately. (The complete text is available on the UMKC Senate webpage, http://www.umkc.edu/fsenate/ , in the "Senate Report" for September 3.)
Despite the enormous pressures under which they have had to operate since May, and the loss of some faculty and staff fleeing what has become an extremely hostile work environment produced by the interim dean, the remaining faculty in SBS have maintained a remarkable sense of cohesion and solidarity of purpose. After his arrival on campus, Horton attempted to institute a managerial committee of his choosing. The faculty refused to participate, instead successfully insisting that the interim dean deal directly with their duly elected Faculty Advisory and Budget Committee.
One of Horton's first acts as interim dean was to announce that Pricewaterhouse Coopers had been hired to do an audit of SBS finances, including a random audit of faculty credit cards (pro cards). There was no explanation of the purpose of this move, but SBS was told that the audit had been ordered by Central Administration and that it was a common procedure. Correspondence with System VP for Academic Affairs Stephen Lehmkuhle revealed that UM Central Administration had not requested an audit of SBS. In addition, an external audit of a unit of the University is apparently an extreme rarity.
The audit appears to be a tool to harass and publicly discredit the SBS faculty. But if any unit of this university deserves an audit, it is the administration, which continues to squander untold millions of the shrinking university budget. This should be a legislative audit rather than a private one, after the exposure of massive corruption by private auditors like Arthur Anderson.
SBS faculty continue to request mediation, and it appears that despite the betrayal by the Senate, SBS steadfastness and the support of the AAUP and other faculty may have had some effect. Recently President Pacheco and Chancellor Gilliland approached former UM President (and former UMKC Chancellor) George Russell to "intervene" (the word "mediation" was never uttered). President Russell would have been acceptable to SBS as a mediator, and plans had been made for a preliminary meeting. However at the last minute Russell entered the hospital for observation, and until it becomes clear whether he will be able to keep his commitments, negotiations cannot even begin. We can only hope for all participants that the delay is temporary.
AAUP Statement on SBS 8/13/2002 (updated 9/10/02)
The attack on SBS mirrors a broader assault in the state of Missouri on faculty governance, academic freedom, and a democratic system of education. The following passages from the Redbook (AAUP Policy Documents and Reports, Ninth Edition, 2001), make clear that the administration of UMKC is in violation of AAUP principles in its dealings with SBS.
I. Primary Faculty Responsibility in the Choosing of Administrators
The administration has arrogated to itself the appointment of Frank Horton as interim dean, over the express objections of the faculty. The AAUP, on the contrary, expects that:
"faculty members will have a significant role in the selection of academic administrators, including the president, academic deans, department heads, and chairs." (p. 228)
"academic administrators, such as the dean of a college ... are by the nature of their duties more directly dependent upon faculty support.... the composition of the search committee should reflect the primacy of faculty interest, and the faculty component of the committee should be chosen by the faculty of the unit or by a representative body of the faculty. The person chosen for an administrative position should be selected from among the names submitted by the search committee.... sound academic practice dictates that the President [in this case, the Provost and the Chancellor] not choose a person over the reasoned opposition of the faculty." (p. 229, emphasis added)
II. Central Faculty Responsibilities in Changes in the Institutional structure
The administration has proposed the dissolution of SBS, either by liquidating the school entirely, or dispersing its faculty to other units. In either case, SBS will cease to exist. Among the options presented to the faculty of SBS by the Provost in his ultimatum of May 24, 2002 were "creation of a new research entity," with SBS faculty receiving "appointments in one of the basic sciences or a health sciences school;" integration of SBS "into existing health sciences schools;" creation of "a new school of Natural or Basic Sciences, to be comprised of four or five basic science departments at UMKC;" or turning the "current school of Biological Sciences " into "an independent research institute, not affiliated formally with UMKC." The administration has refused to allow the faculty of SBS to participate in these deliberations. On this subject the Redbook is very clear:
"The faculty should play a fundamental role in any decision which would change the basic character and purpose of the institution, including transformation of the institution, affiliation of part of the existing operation with another institution, or merger, with the resulting abandonment or curtailment of duplicate programs. Before any decisions on curtailment become final, those whose work stands to be adversely affected should have full opportunity to be heard." (p.236, emphasis added)Elsewhere the Redbook states:
"There should be early, careful and meaningful faculty involvement in decisions relating to the reduction of instructional and research programs.... Given a decision to reduce the overall academic program, it should then become the primary responsibility of the faculty to determine where within the program reductions should be made.... Among the various considerations, difficult and often competing, that have to be taken into consideration in deciding upon particular reductions, the retention of a viable academic program should necessarily come first." (p. 230)
III. Primary Faculty Role in Budget Decisions
From May 24 until late August the entire operating budget (not just hiring and travel funds) of the School was frozen; individual faculty members were required to apply to the Provost directly for day to day purchases such as supplies or gases for their laboratories. Now an external firm, Price Waterhouse, has been brought in by the Campus Administration to perform an audit on the school's funds, including on selected "random" credit cards (pro cards) held by faculty members. Contrary to what Dr. Horton told SBS, this audit was NOT mandated by Central Administration.
There was no faculty participation in the decision to pay an interim dean a monthly salary of $22,000. In stark contrast, unit budgets for faculty functions (instruction, research, travel, etc.) are being cut, and the faculty is facing a de facto pay cut (no raises for the 2002-3 school year and increases in insurance premiums beginning in January). These measures pointedly illustrate the lack of meaningful participation by faculty in budget decisions at UMKC. The Redbook states:
Budgetary decisions directly affecting those areas for which ... the faculty has primary responsibility ... should be made in concert with the faculty." (p.233, emphasis added)
IV. Primary Faculty Responsibility for Teaching and Research
Undocumented claims by the Administration that the faculty of SBS are poor teachers and have been uncooperative and unproductive in the conduct of their research are being used as pretexts to liquidate the School. AAUP guidelines state:
"a sound system of institutional governance is a necessary condition for the protection of faculty rights, and thereby the most productive exercise of essential faculty freedoms. Correspondingly, the protection of the academic freedom of faculty members in addressing issues of institutional governance is a prerequisite for the practice of governance unhampered by fear of retribution." (p.224, emphasis added)Insisting that "the faculty's voice should be authoritative across the entire range of decision-making that bears, whether directly or indirectly, on its responsibilities," the Redbook states:
"since the faculty has primary responsibility for the teaching and research done in the institution,... the administration should 'concur with the faculty judgment except in rare instances and for compelling reasons which should be stated in detail'." (p. 225, emphasis added)
In "decisions about the institution's long-range objectives ... the decision-making process must include the faculty, and ... its voice on these matters must be accorded great respect." (p. 225)
"scholars in a discipline are acquainted with the discipline from within; their views ... are therefore more likely to produce better teaching and research in the discipline than are the views of trustees or administrators." (p. 225, emphasis added)
V. Dignified treatment of the faculty
The administration has treated SBS faculty with disrespect and arrogance. The Redbook states:
"it is in the public interest that the office of faculty member should be 'one both of dignity and of independence'." (p. 226)
It is the faculty--not trustees or administrators--who have ... the expertise to form judgments of faculty competence or incompetence ." (p.226, emphasis added)
VI. Recommendations of the UMKC Chapter AAUP
To remedy the situation in SBS and as a first step toward reestablishing AAUP principles on this campus, the UMKC-AAUP urges the immediate implementation of the following actions, which are in accordance with both AAUP guidelines and the rules and regulations of the University. The administration must:
1. Abandon all plans to dissolve, restructure, or disperse the School of Biological Sciences, its programs and its faculty. SBS faculty should determine the future direction of the School.
2. Solicit from the faculty of SBS a list of internal candidates and select an interim dean from this list. An academic unit should be led by persons with expertise in that unit's disciplinary field.
3. Reopen the search for a dean. A search committee made up of SBS faculty must be the principal judges of the competence and appropriateness of any candidates. Faculty must have a primary voice in choosing their own leadership.
4. Commit to meaningful participation in budget decisions by faculty at the unit level and the Faculty Senate at the Campus and University level.
5. Cease the harrassment of the SBS faculty and staff, including the unnecessary micromanagement of spending and the unprecedented external audit, which, N.B., is costing the University money that would be better spent elsewhere.
6. In the interests of a fair and expeditious settlement of the conflict, agree to mediation by a mutually acceptable external mediator, as requested repeatedly by the School of Biological Sciences.
The Chancellor's Cabinet: Villain or Straw Man?
by Alfred Esser
According to the gospel of Gordon Starr, for UMKC's blueprint for the future to be successful, architectural alignment is essential. That is, "architecture that is inconsistent with the strategic intent or values must be modified or dismantled. New architecture that calls for actions that empower the strategic intent and values must be implemented." The first requirement has been met: six deans who espoused different values are gone. Next, to ensure implementation of her blueprint strategies the chancellor established a Cabinet. While the exact gestation process is somewhat nebulous--it appears to be more creationist than evolutionary--its raison d'etre however is crystal clear. The cabinet's sole function is to provide pseudo-legitimacy for the chancellor's actions that frequently violate the spirit if not the letter of the Collected Rules and Regulations of the University of Missouri.
This carefully selected august body had its day in the sun on August 1, 2002 when it passed a resolution demanding that the faculty in the School of Biological Sciences (SBS) support the chancellor's interim leadership plan for SBS, or SBS would join those six departed deans! Do faculty have a constitutional right to disagree and voice their opinion, one might ask? Who cares. A testimonial from one motivated cabinet member described "a power in the room"--not in the form of administrative pressure but more Elmer Gantry-inspired--that simply brushed aside such annoying concerns.
Nevertheless, this egregious act packed enough punch to awaken the UMKC Faculty Senate from its summer hibernation and compelled it to devote an entire meeting to the "SBS affair." To the amazement of its scribe about 50 visitors showed up on August 13, and it did not take long before the senate's executive committee was seriously questioned about its role in moving along the chancellor's agenda to reorganize SBS. After all the chair of the Senate is a co-signer of the August 1 resolution and the rest of the group (the vice chair, secretary, and IFC delegate) did little to defend shared faculty governance and resist the illegitimate dean selection process. The vice chair made a valiant effort to defend her actions and motives but when the audience remained unconvinced she switched from defense to offense. Obviously, it must be the cabinet that deserves to be blamed: what is its legitimacy? what process was used to select its members? whom do they represent?
The flood gates had been opened and speaker after speaker attacked the cabinet. Excellent strategy: shift the attention, create a straw man--just what one would expect from a good lawyer. Forgotten in the process was the real culprit: the cabinet is but the voice of its master, nothing more, nothing less. There are two ways to confront a dangerous situation: one is by an open attack in open discussion--the other, by subversion, that is, by disguising the root of the problem, setting up a straw man and then refuting it. The Senate's executive committee did the second. The senate received a draft stating that the cabinet "does not give good advice" and that it "is an unrepresentative unit with a grandiose name, and is used primarily to give a patina of legitimacy to administrative decrees".
So far, so good; this is certainly an accurate description. However, the next step, logically, should have been a request to void all such administrative decrees by Gilliland or at least open them up for discussion by the full faculty and not a hand-picked group of cheer leaders only. No, the executive committee simply urges her "to appoint a representative group that can do the job well". (Appointed representatives, of course, are a contradiction in terms; representatives are not appointed but elected by their constituency). This was a clever move. Cut down one straw man and help the chancellor to erect the next one, but make sure that this time he does the job well and doesn't bungle it by infringing on constitutional rights.
What can we expect? It is likely that the chancellor will "dig down deep" and declare that she has "listened to your concerns", then proceed to remove a few low level administrators, add a few faculty--properly selected from Spielvogel's list of the transformed and trustworthy [see "Food for Thought"]--and insist that the newly renamed group support and sanction her quest to gain control by using the power of the purse. The Pirelli Tire Company's slogan is correct: "Power is nothing without control." The chancellor has all the power she needs, what she has difficulty with is the control of the faculty. She has tried brain washing ÿag la "EST" but that only netted her a small number of true converts. As the SBS faculty is painfully aware, she is now using intimidation and retaliation through unjustified audits, freezing and shifting budgets, plundering what is left by paying an expensive consultant, and planning to place state-of-the-art core facilities acquired predominantly from faculty-derived grant income under the control of outside parties with vested non-academic interests.
It is up to the UMKC faculty to make a conscious decision: do we want to be controlled or do we want to retain our right to work and teach in a free and open university?
Cartoon "Dean's List" by John Darkow. Columbia Daily Tribune , Aug. 14, 2002
From KC MO Wednesday Magazine, Sept. 4, 2002, p. 6
"Editor: Concerning a recent report on the on-going debacle between UMKC administration and the faculty. It would restore some community faith if the Chancellor would have some open-minded and public dialogue with those in the school of Biological Sciences who want to mediate the issues they're arguing about. Seems to me, what could be wrong with that? Isn't that really what an academic institution is about? It seems like we've got two groups of people here with two very different points of view. I have some grave concerns from what I've heard about the Stowers Institute and the goals of Life Sciences Initiative with the community. It is little more than a pipe dream. It seems to me that this is just more of the same smoke we've been hearing for years.
[Signed] "Where There's Smoke"
1. Wednesday, October 2, 3:30 PM, Royall
Hall, Rm. 111
Senate All-Faculty Meeting on Governance. Panelists: Chancellor Gilliland, Ellen Suni, Gary Ebersole, Pat Brodsky
2. Friday, October 11, 7:30-10 PM, Party/get
together, at 1022 West 64th Terrace
The UMKC Chapter of the AAUP will host an informal get-together to renew old friendships, welcome new members, and help get the creative juices flowing as we face the Fall Semester. Members and their spouses, partners, and significant others are invited to join us for a "post-prandial potluck," i.e. anyone who wants to bring snacks, desserts or drinks is encouraged to do so.
3. Friday, October 25, 2-4 PM, 115 Education
Bldg. Symposium, "Putting the Faculty back into Shared Governance"
The AAUP will present a symposium on Faculty Governance and Shared Governance. Invited speaker is Dr. Muriel Poston, formerly of Howard University, now a member of the national staff of the AAUP. Her talk will be followed by a panel discussion of specific governance issues at UMKC and a question and answer session.
4. Teaching Tolerance Teach-ins
In conjunction with the campus student group "Shifa," and the Education for Democracy Network, the AAUP continues to co-sponsor its successful series of teach-ins on topics of current interest.
The first Teach-In will feature Peter Stauffacher speaking on Chiapas and Globalization, Friday October 11, 3:30 PM, University Center, Alumni Room.
Fall Recruitment Drive Underway
On September 11 and 12, thirteen Chapter members participated in intensive workshops in preparation for launching our first coordinated membership drive. The workshops were conducted by Dr. Richard Moser, Associate Secretary and National Field Representative of the AAUP.
The goal of the drive is to inform as many of our colleagues as possible about the role of the AAUP and to ask them to join the local chapter and the national organization. The AAUP not only defends the faculty against assaults from various quarters. Above all it promotes a positive vision of the academic life, based on the principles of academic freedom, tenure, due process, faculty governance in areas of faculty expertise (curriculum and faculty affairs), shared governance in all other areas, the rights of the entire academic community, and the public interest (e.g. the public service mission of a public university). Although our membership has grown over 250% since we began two years ago, strength lies in numbers, specifically in large numbers of informed and active members, and we want our other colleagues' ideas and active involvement. So over the next weeks you will see chapter members walking the halls, making office visits and handing out AAUP materials.
Everyone can play a role in the campaign. Email anyone on the Executive Committee (listed below) and suggest names of colleagues who might be interested in joining. Better yet, become an organizer and recruiter and talk to them yourself. For latest dues information, go to the AAUP national website: http://www.aaup.org, or contact Pat Brodsky or Ed Gogol. New members who sign up for automatic bank debit of their national dues receive a special discount: half-price for first-year membership.
Chapter Executive Committee
Ed Gogol, VP/Treasurer, GogolE@umkc.edu
Pat Brodsky, Secretary, BrodskyP@umkc.edu
Marino Martinez-Carrion, Membership Chair, MartinezCM@umkc.edu
Bibie Chronwall, At-large representative, Chronwall@umkc.edu
Susan Adler, Chair, Grievance Committee, AdlerS@umkc.edu
New Dues Schedule for Local Dues
by Ed Gogol
As a measure to simplify the collection of chapter dues, particularly in light of expectations of membership growth, the Executive Committee approved a uniform renewal date for chapter dues, coinciding with the beginning of the school year. To start this schedule, all members who have paid their local dues in the 2002 calendar year will not be assessed again until next August/September. Those members whose last dues payment was in 2001 (or before) have received or will soon receive requests for 2002-03 dues, which remain at $10 annually.
The major chapter expenditure over the past year has been the costs of photocopying issues of The Faculty Advocate, which our chapter dues have covered. With the planned symposium on academic governance, and other initiatives generated by the members during the upcoming year, the chapter certainly welcomes any contributions above the modest annual dues, which a small number of members have provided in the past.
Ed Gogol is Vice President and Treasurer of the UMKC Chapter of the AAUP.
Food for Thought
by Pat Brodsky
A great deal has happened at UMKC since the last "Food for Thought" column appeared in April. In this issue I'm going to discuss several items epitomizing the atmosphere of threat and hypocrisy prevailing on campus these days.
1. What kind of university would I like to work in?
But first I would like to to reflect for a moment on the sort of place I would prefer to work in. Since my rather modest desires are very likely shared by a great number of my colleagues--and I include as colleagues not only the minority who are tenured or on the tenure-track but the majority who are hired on terminal contracts--I believe that my personal preferences are representative rather than exceptional. What I have to say concerns the faculty as a whole. The "I" of what follows could be any one of you.
First of all, where I work I would like to be treated with respect and dignity. By colleagues in my department or unit, by colleagues in my field, by colleagues in other disciplines, by my students, by the staff, and by the administration. Respect is conditional on my reasonable performance in my job. Every normally conscientious worker deserves and should expect to be accorded respect. And of course I would like to reciprocate. Respect from one side breeds respect from the other.
Second, I would like others to accept the value of my discipline, just as I accept theirs. Not that every project I or my discipline undertakes is valuable, just the basic fact that I teach and research, for example, foreign languages and literatures, while others do chemistry, sociology, engineering, history, dentistry, law, biology, education, music, etc. Universities can't operate or exist without mutual respect for all its disciplines.
Third, I would like my job to rest on a solid social foundation, that the very idea of quality education, from nursery school to the post-graduate level, is regarded by my society as a self-evident good, as a given, as a universal human right. Not a "privilege" for the few. That is, I want education, including higher education, to be respected and valued by my society. Not in cheap clichÿeas but in hard fact.
Fourth, a culture of mutual respect does not preclude justified criticism. But criticism must come first in the form of self-criticism--academics, after all, are educated to live the "examined life"--then from peers and students. Only in exceptional cases should the administration intervene, and not as a matter of standard policy. The public, of course, cares deeply about education, but it often has to form its opinions with incomplete or skewed information. Education exists to serve the public, which should regularly make its views and desires known. But the public should also be informed rather than misinformed about what academics do. If everyone's voice--not merely voices of the privileged, and of those intending to profit materially or politically by stealing or destroying universal public education--were fairly reported in the mass media, public discussion about education would be more diverse, intelligent, and constructive. And out of this predictable diversity of opinion some rational criticism rather than destructive ideology might emerge.
Respectful and dignified treatment are not simply a matter of style or image, a public pose of decency contradicted by behavior or policies that communicate a message of dismissal or outright contempt. Academics work long and hard to learn their profession and earn a degree, work harder to pass through peer review for tenure, and--contrary to anti-tenure propaganda--work harder still after they have achieved what enemies of tenure misrepresent as a sinecure.
The scope of a faculty member's investment in time and effort, as well as the very nature of the labor of thinking and teaching, makes his work a vocation, a long-term and intensely personal commitment, not just a series of routine tasks easily interchangeable with thousands of generic jobs. But if disrespect for the academic vocation demoralizes the tenured minority, those without the chance to achieve tenure work under the sword of Damocles, the likelihood--recurring with clockwork consistency--of seeing their life work terminated. And an increasing number of graduate students know their commitment to the intellectual life will never even gain them a toehold in the academy.
Fifth, I would like my pay and working conditions to be adequate to support the work I do. My salary and benefits should allow me to pay my bills, receive health care coverage, be protected in case of injury, illness, or disability, and give me enough left over for normal amounts of sleep, recreation, and vacation. It should also guarantee a dignified and productive rather than an impoverished retirement.
As for working conditions, material needs differ by discipline, but the basics are fairly standard. I need an office with a telephone, to hold professional materials, meet with students and colleagues, and to do all manner of university business. I need functional classrooms equipped for my teaching needs. My students should find the books they are assigned waiting on the bookstore shelves before classes begin--at prices they can afford. The library collections (i.e. budgets) should support quality undergraduate education and perhaps even house some materials in my field. The xerox machine should be in working order. If I do research at distant libraries because my own doesn't have what I need, or give scholarly presentations at out-of-town conferences, since my salary doesn't cover these obligations of my job, I would like my professional travel paid for.
Material conditions are an essential foundation supporting my work, and they can't be dismissed as beneath the notice of a thinker. But the best material conditions in the world are no substitute for respect on the job (and vice-versa). I would like to go to work every day knowing I am not living in a constant state of siege. That the work to which I have devoted my life cannot be degraded by degrees or nullified in a moment--at the stroke of a pen, or computer keyboard. Genuine respect--respect demonstrated in everyday behavior and in institutional policy--and everything that follows from genuine respect, for all the people who do the hard work of teaching, research, thinking, and writing, and for students, staff, and the rest of the academic community, is my first, essential, and non-negotiable desire and demand. It entails, among other things, democratic decision-making, academic freedom, job security, due process, and shared governance. That is the kind of university I would like to work in. I suspect many other colleagues feel the same way.
2. When is a hitlist not a hitlist?
This August faculty were astonished to hear the news that Gordon Starr had been rehired by the university. Why is Gordon Starr and his "transformation process" back? The Blueprint or Vision, under any alias, is a thoroughly discredited "program." It deploys crude individual and group psychological manipulation techniques and implied threats of reprisals. With an agenda entirely controlled by the administration, its purpose is to replace legitimate faculty decision-making bodies and powers with purely administrative governance.
The governance model being imposed on UMKC is corporate or military. Only the administration really makes policy, and everyone else passes on orders from the top down the chain of command. Faculty are assigned at best a pro forma "advisory" role, and their governance bodies become administrative window-dressing. When certain faculty "suggestions" predictably are twisted to the advantage of the administration, the faculty thereby dig their own graves.
In 1926 the Belgian surrealist Renÿea Magritte made a realistic painting of a pipe. Under the image he painted the words, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe"--"this is not a pipe." While this kind of flouting of rationality may have titillated the art world of the 1920's, in the world of university governance, it is merely disingenuous. The "Employee Participation" document, which began to circulate on campus at the end of August, has elicited this kind of surrealist response from at least two administrators, but faculty reactions remain wary, and rightly so.
The "Employee Participation" document lists every faculty and staff member at UMKC, along with the department or office to which he/she is answerable, tenure category (for faculty), and participation in three types of blueprint activity: completion of a workshop, membership in G-80 (the original group of people, mostly administrators and staff, that Chancellor Gilliland brought together in the Summer of 2001 to meet with Gordon Starr) or the Extended Cabinet, and membership on a project or theme team. It also provides totals for each department or unit, with the percentage of persons in those units who participated in any way.
The first question that occured to many readers was "what is this going to be used for?," followed quickly by "who benefits, and who is targeted?" Some faculty, notably those with a row of blanks after their name, asked themselves whether, as they come up for tenure and promotion, raises or research leaves, the list is going to be trotted out and scrutinized for proof of enthusiasm and loyalty. Others wondered whether those who can show checkmarks in all the right boxes would be favored in those same situations. This kind of suspicious reaction is the product of two years of propaganda and pressure to get with the program (see previous issues of The Faculty Advocate for evidence of the coercive nature of the blueprint).
Faculty have turned to the administration for clarification of the purpose and function of the list. Arts and Sciences Dean Bryan LeBeau responded to the suggestion that the list might be used to "punish the untransformed" in the following fashion: "I have received a list of 'Workshop Participants.' It is intended to help me follow up on their participation, to keep them in the planning process, and to work toward greater involvement in the future [emphasis added]. The list does not include the names of those who have not participated and, needless to say, there is no mention of--not even a hint--to my reading, that we are supposed to take any action against those who have not participated. That is absurd."
Unless Dean LeBeau received a different list from that circulating among the faculty and staff, he is mistaken about one crucial fact: that list does include "those who have not participated." But more importantly, the Dean reveals that part of his job--which he seems to find perfectly legitimate--is to monitor the participation of university employees in "transformation activities" and to join the upper administration in applying pressure on them to participate.
Provost Steve Ballard's response to questions about the threats implied in the document was as follows: "The Deans asked for a list of participants ... I cannot imagine any retribution resulting from this information request [emphsis added]. We have distributed information about the workshops and campus reactions to the transformation process several times before. This is in line with our values and a pretty routine circumstance."
Did "the Deans" (all of them?) actually ask for this information? If so, one wonders what purpose it is meant to serve on the unit level. We know that the deans are all automatically members of the Chancellor's cabinet, whose recent meddling has been widely criticized on campus (see Alfred Esser's article). But are they also under orders to "push transformation?" Particularly in the case of the new deans, some critical distance is called for in relation to a totalitarian plan to "transform" a university against the will of a majority of its employees.
This brings me to the totals cited in the document. If it was generated to demonstrate the success of the Transformation process, it must be rather embarrassing. After two years, only 21% of all employees have participated in the activities listed--despite veiled threats and an expensive PR blitz. Even in the Chancellor's office, only 32% have done so. When one factors in the number of people who were detailed by their departments or units to attend meetings to gather information, those who went to one workshop and never returned, and those who went out of fear, the number of true believers shrinks even further. Some figures are misleading in other ways. The School of Education shows a 55% participation rate, but the School was "given" its very own workshop, and members were under intense pressure to attend.
It seems clear from what Provost Ballard said that this document was not intended to be circulated to the general campus community. That it was, and that it has raised so many questions, may have come as a surprise to the administration. When viewed in the bright light of day, its usefulness should shrivel away to nothing.
(My thanks to Faculty Senator Harris Mirkin for sharing the written responses of Dean LeBeau and Provost Ballard.)
3. Some pigs are more equal than others
We have been overwhelmed since early spring with news of a state financial crisis, budget cuts both external and internal, and dire predictions for the near future. Most of us on campus have felt the results on our own skin. The students can tell of the effects of a $9/credit hour surcharge on top of a 14% tuition raise. Faculty and staff are going without raises this year, and probably next year as well. Departments had their adjunct faculty budgets cut, forcing the cancellation of classes, larger classes, and heavier teaching loads. A new system-wide workload policy is under discussion. Hiring and travel have been frozen. The University dispensed with traditional academic regalia at the fall convocation--too expensive to rent. The Senate minutes will now appear online only--too expensive to print.
But not everyone is suffering from financial drought. We needn't look far to find projects that are receiving lavish funding. The most infamous is the salary ($264,000 plus per diem) of Interim Dean of SBS, Frank Horton. Challenged about how she could justify this kind of expense, the Chancellor (at the August 13 Senate meeting) replied that one has to pay for quality. This is even more distasteful when we realize that Horton, selected over the express, unanimous wishes of the school he was hired to subjugate and probably disperse, is to be paid out of the existing budget of SBS.
Then there is the fact that the Chancellor has invited Gordon Starr back this fall for another series of transformation workshops. When asked how this expense could be justified--especially in light of last year's expose of Starr's insulting EST-based program--she replied that it was because he does such good work for the University.
September 3rd saw the beginning of an external audit of the School of Biological Sciences by Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Despite SBS's request for a copy of the contract, to which it is entitled under the Sunshine law, a response has not been forthcoming. No one as yet knows how much this is going to cost the university. Yet during the Senate discussion of SBS's request for an outside mediator, Senator Ellen Suni noted that "mediation is not free," and emphasized the costs in time and money that mediation would entail. She added, "After all, we are already spending money on another option." Two other options, actually--Horton's astronomical salary, and the pricetag for Pricewaterhouse--neither of which was requested or desired by the faculty.
Finally, Governor Holden seems to have found an unsuspected source of funds despite the state's "budget crisis." On September 18 he announced the release of $1.7 million in state funds as start-up money for planning a life sciences building at UMKC (which will exclude the School of Biological Sciences). This was the first step in a state commitment of $31 million. The project had already been authorized two and a half years ago, and the money approved by the Legislature in 2001, but the funds had been held back because of the budget shortfall. Where is $31 million coming from for the building, when funding for instruction, research, and basic services has been cut to the bone? The timing seems politically unwise, and the action itself seems more symbolic than serious. As one knowledgeable source puts it, these days, in terms of a state of the art science facility, $31 million will get you "a good-sized outhouse."
4. Beyond the Call of Duty?
In September Chancellor Gilliland became the recipient of a Hubert H. Humphrey Award from the Policy Studies Organization. Not, please note, the Hubert H. Humphrey Award, which is given by the much larger American Political Science Association.
The award, which named her "most outstanding public policy practitioner," was given for her championship of academic freedom in the case of Harris Mirkin. In her rather ambivalent defense of Mirkin's right to publish his research, she says: "While I personally find statements attributed to Dr. Mirkin by the press to be offensive and highly insensitive to the magnitude of this critical issue," she asserts that "peer review and the court of public opinion determine the validity and acceptance of academic work." In fact, as the Chancellor surely knows, only peer review determines the validity and acceptance of academic work. Public opinion determines its acceptance beyond the academy. That is one reason academic freedom exists, to protect faculty from the threat of reprisals, including censorship, associated with hostile public opinion.
In defending Professor Mirkin's academic freedom, the Chancellor was just doing what any university administrator would have been expected to do in her position. Why she deserves an award intended for extraordinary achievement is a mystery.
For other responses to the award, see Kendrick Blackwood's discussion in the "Kansas City Strip" column of the Pitch, (Sept. 12-18, 2002) , as well as Mike Ferrari's satirical treatment, published in the Pitch (Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2002, p. 7) and in the University News (Sept. 23, 2002, p. 9).
But much more important than symbolic awards is the Chancellor's dismal overall track record with respect to academic freedom. To mention only examples reported in The Faculty Advocate: her 1996 essay equating dissent with "terrorism;" her administration's continuing to foist the EST/blueprint brainwashing process on the university, which chills free speech and has driven scores of faculty away from UMKC; its downsizing of the tenured faculty (whose tenure protects academic freedom) and replacing them (if at all) with contingent workers unprotected by tenure and academic freedom; its removal of six deans; its installation of a host of loyal retainers in administrative positions; its imposition of an SBS dean not chosen by faculty, and its attempted imposition of a rejected candidate for division chair in the School of Education; its undermining of faculty governance (likewise a weakening of academic freedom) through blueprint committees and the Cabinet, and by interfering in faculty elections; its silence about President Pacheco's imposition of post-tenure review, or the Curators' recent de facto abolition of tenure and intent to ignore all other university rules and regulations, a direct assault on academic freedom; its brokering the Stowers Institute bid to privatize education and research in the life sciences (academic freedom is non-existent within corporations); its ultimatums; its hit lists; its refusal to give straight answers to straight questions.
These and other examples all disqualify her and her administration as steady champions of academic freedom. And, to end where I began, they exemplify the consummate disrespect with which the Chancellor and her administration treat faculty, and, by extension, the entire university and greater Kansas City community.
So what conclusions do I draw? It's time for us to fight for the kind of university we want to work in.
The Rewards of Persistence
by David Brodsky
From the immediate perspective of the current moment, the situation for faculty, students, and staff at UMKC, in the UM system, and indeed in higher education throughout Missouri, does not look promising. Forces like the Legislature, the Governor, the UM Curators, and campus administrations appear to be arrayed against the employees and students in their institutions.
At UMKC the Gilliland administration is practicing open warfare on the faculty while claiming that the recipients of its bounty will only benefit from administrative assaults on their jobs, careers, wages, working conditions, and dignity.
This is how the Chancellor responded to a faculty member at another institution. The original message read:
"As a fellow academic I am writing to urge you to end the funding freeze in the School of Biological Sciences and to rescind your decision to shut down or privatize the School. I would also urge you to involve faculty at the center of decision-making about the School's future. Academic self-governance is fundamental to academic freedom and democracy in this country. Without democracy this country has no future."
The Chancellor replied:
"Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding the freeze on spending at the UMKC School of Biological Sciences.
I want to assure you that I am fully supportive of our life sciences faculty, their teaching and research. In my view, the faculty in the School of Biological Sciences and in the other life and health sciences schools are terrific; we are working to help them be even more successful by enhancing the opportunities available to them.
Thank you again for sharing your concern."
The Chancellor redefines assaults as "opportunities." This tactic not only flatly denies what the administration is actually doing. Nor does it simply deny that it is doing the opposite of what it claims. Above all, it exemplifies the sophistry of "destroying the village in order to save it."
Nevertheless, the moment when things appear bleakest is also the best time to organize. Hard times clarify the situation, weaken illusions of sole reliance on higher authorities, and raise the idea that independent, self-reliant, collective activity and the broadest grass-roots outreach are the only remaining options that are realistic. The history of successful struggles based on these strategies, which had to overcome a series of apparently insurmountable obstacles and sustained themselves over long years, can remind us that what seems to be impossible today may not necessarily be an accurate perception if viewed from a longer perspective. Academics should recall, for example, how distant and formidable the attainment of an advanced degree appears from the perspective of, say, a high school senior.
A remarkable and simultaneously typical story of persistence rewarded with success describes the fight for recognition of the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). It endured the vicissitudes of temporary gains and setbacks throughout nearly a decade of organizing and maintained its continuity and determination over several generations of student activists.
After part-time faculty, whom institutions generally treat as expendable contingent labor, graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) are the next most vulnerable academic workers and thus hardest to organize. Turnover is assured because grad students cannot stay at an institution indefinitely. Squeezed between the roles of student and employee with large job responsibilities, GTAs organizing a union can find both their roles jeopardized if their mentors, who are also senior teaching colleagues, oppose their efforts. But even when supported by the tenure-track members of their unit, GTA organizing can be demoralized or derailed by intransigent university administrations and state governments, student apathy, and competing administration-sponsored student organizations which are designed to be toothless.
The UIUC GEO faced all these hurdles and one by one managed to overcome them. In the course of its decade-long campaign, strong support for GEO came from the American Federation of Teachers, Illinois Federation of Teachers, sympathetic legislators, the faculty, undergraduate students, and local clergy and others in the community.
More than 5600 graduate
students at UIUC teach one-third of all courses and one-half of the
beginning courses at the university, and many others work as research
for faculty. Organizing began in fall 1993 when union activists
elected to the English Graduate Student Association, and it soon spread
other units. The GEO union affiliated with the Illinois
Teachers in 1995 and by April 1996 3,226 graduate assistants had signed
supporting GEO's petition for a union election. GEO won its
election in 1997 with 64% of the vote. But instead of recognizing
the union the
administration went to court, arguing that graduate employees were not
but students and thus ineligible to unionize.
In 1998 the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) ruled against the union, asserting their jobs were primarily educational, and GEO appealed to the Illinois Court of Appeals. The union's "Brief History" relates the next stage of their fight. "In April of 1998 the GEO held its first 'Work-In,' a massive event that brought over 400 graduate employees to the Henry Administration Building to teach classes, grade papers, and educate the public about the goals of the GEO. Over the course of the next year we worked on passing legislation affirming graduate employees' collective bargaining rights and in March of 1999 our bill passed the lower house of the General Assembly with bipartisan support. Due to the lobbying of the university administration the bill was buried in the Senate Rules Committee and never came to a vote."
A student referendum in March 2000, sponsored by student government, supporting grad employees' right to union representation, passed by 77%. A few weeks later "55 graduate employees and supporters (including clergy, union members, and student government leaders) held a 20-hour sit-in at the Board of Trustees."
Meanwhile the union increased its membership by fighting for and winning additional health care and professional benefits for grad employees, lobbying the legislature, and running a series of organizing drives and events to maintain pressure on the administration for recognition. The organizers sustained their morale and continuity, in the face of predictable student apathy, turnover, and loss of enthusiasm in a long campaign, by networking closely with organizers from already established GTA unions at the University of Iowa and at University of Wisconin campuses in Madison and Milwaukee.
The first legal breakthrough came on June 30, 2000, when the Appellate Court ruled that graduate employees in Illinois have the right to collective bargaining. On October 4, 2000 the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's decision and rejected the administration's appeal. But this victory was reversed barely six months later when the IELRB issued guidelines (suggested by the university administration) excluding 95% of the 5200 graduate employees from eligibility.
In response to this legal and bureaucratic impasse, knowing it had majority support from the students, the union changed tactics from litigation to direct action. On November 28 and 29, 2001 the union staged a two-day work stoppage, in which it claimed 70% of classes taught by GTAs were cancelled in five targeted buildings (including English and Foreign Languages) affecting 10,000 students each day. "Hundreds of GEO members and supporters picketed, chanted, and sang in the cold and rain on the Quad and around main administration buildings." Sympathy actions included a sit-in at the Chancellor's office by the GEO at University of Illinois, Chicago, and an Illinois House of Representatives resolution calling on the Administration to bargain with graduate employees.
But despite the successful work stoppage, the administration remained intransigent. The GEO then scheduled a three day strike for April 2002, and caught the administration off guard on March 13 with a meticulously organized sit-in which entirely closed down the UIUC administration building, on the same day the Board of Trustees arrived in town for a meeting. The occupiers vowed to stay put until the administration agreed to negotiate with the union or they were arrested. Only 8 hours into the sit-in the administration agreed for the first time to negotiate.
On June 6, 2002 the administration finally recognized the right of the GEO to hold an election as the collective bargaining agent for grad students. The bargaining unit covered about half of all graduate employees, excluding Research Assistants and those with the newly created title of Pre-professional Graduate Assistant. Nevertheless, the GEO has chosen not to rest on its laurels, instead committing itself to continue fighting for representation for all graduate employees.
The successful strategy of mass rank-and-file participation and decision-making, ceaseless organizing, and frequent mobilization has become a permanent feature of the GEO, which still faces the hurdles of winning an election and a first contract. Thus the organizers wrote to the membership the day after the sit-in: "The victory yesterday would not have been possible without many years of work by hundreds of GEO activists, unwavering dedication to our issues, and your participation in direct actions like the Sit-In and our fall walkout. The power of direct action to put pressure on the administration means that a walkout THIS semester is something that we must keep on the table. We need to hold them to their commitment to negotiate in good faith toward a mutually acceptable agreement and be prepared to continue the pressure if they fail to live up to their end of the bargain."
For an excellent history and analysis of the UIUC GEO campaign from its inception until spring 2001 see: William Vaughn, "Learning and Labor," Workplace 4.2.(February 2002) [http://www.louisville.edu/journal/workplace/wp42.html]. For a brief history of the GEO, see its website-- http://www.shout.net/~geo/geoabout.html. For a selection of other recent academic union victories, go to the UMKC AAUP website (http:// cas.umkc.edu/aaup/) and look under "News Flashes--Archived news".
The "Corporatization" of Higher Education
by Gary Zabel
Higher education is in the grip of a process many refer to as "corporatization." Unfortunately, the expression is misleading. Colleges and universities have been dominated by corporations since the period following the Civil War. That is when such robber barons as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller established foundations whose purpose was to spark the development of managerial and technical programs suited to the needs of the rising industrial sector. It is also when businessmen began to pack boards of trustees. However, the robber barons and their immediate descendants had to pursue their agendas while more or less respecting the traditional governance rights of the faculty. In recent decades, corporate domination of higher education has entered into a new, more intensive phase.
A similar development occurred in manufacturing a long time ago. In the earliest stage of industrial capitalism, manufacturers were content to assemble workers, raw materials, tools, and machinery in factories. They allowed workers to exercise their traditional craft skills in a self-controlled production process, while taking possession of the fruits of their labor in exchange for a wage. Subsequently, manufacturers and their management surrogates devised strategies (such as time and motion studies) for gaining control of the work process.
Capitalists are now pursuing similar strategies in colleges and universities. The endowment of corporate chairs (such as the Federal Express Chair of Excellence in Information Technology at the University of Memphis), first bidding rights on patents generated by corporate-funded science departments, the transformation of continuing education programs into institutes of corporate training, the development of Internet-based distance education divisions, and the adoption of industrial management techniques are the academic equivalent of Taylorism. They transfer the power to determine curriculum and the direction of research, as well as to shape institutional structures, from the faculty to the representatives of "free enterprise."
The most dramatic expression of the weakening of workers' control in academia is the creation of an enormous contingent professoriate which does not participate in governance. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 1970 22% of professors worked part time. By 2001, that number had grown to 43%. In the same year, 17% of all faculty worked in full-time but temporary, non-tenure track positions. In all, 60% were employed on a contingent basis. This does not include the large number of graduate student teaching assistants who increasingly teach the introductory courses once taught by tenure-track faculty. When these graduate employees are added to the ranks of temps and part-timers, the contingent faculty comprises well over three-quarters of the entire teaching workforce. When regarded in this context, recent attempts to destroy tenure are exercises in gilding the lily. Tenure and the intellectual freedom it is designed to protect have already been abolished for the overwhelming majority of college and university teachers.
Other branches of the academic workforce have experienced parallel forms of restructuring. Many clerical and technical staff now work as temps, while janitorial, food service and bookstore employees are routinely "outsourced," or subcontracted. These new employment relationships are accompanied by falling pay, loss of benefits, and general degradation of the conditions of work. Through replication of the staffing patterns pioneered by Japanese auto and now widespread in global manufacturing, we are securely in the era of the "lean and mean" university.
Campus, Inc. has created the forces capable of replacing it with a more humane, democratic, and egalitarian institution. A broad coalition of contingent faculty, increasingly beleaguered full-timers, other campus staff, and students (many of whom now work their way through college) is the key. Such a coalition can be created only by bridging the gap between hand and brain, between professional and "mere" worker, between the "distinguished" and the "common," with the recognition that everyone who works and studies at our institutions of higher learning makes an indispensable contribution to the educational process. (If you think I'm overstating the case, ask yourself how long the educational process would be able to continue if the toilets weren't cleaned for a couple of weeks.)
The only way to challenge the recently intensified capitalist domination of higher ed is by also challenging the elitism of traditional academic culture. This is the problem with the idea of "corporatization." It tends to be associated with nostalgia for the good old days. But we cannot restore faculty power except by regarding it as one instance--no more nor less important than any other--of the control that all workers should be able to exercise over their conditions of work.
Gary Zabel is a part-time professor and long-time union activist. Reprinted by permission from Adjuncts Unite! 2 (2001-2002): 2, newsletter of the Boston Chapter of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor-- http://omega.cc.umb.edu/~cocal
Education for Democracy News: Accolades for Recent Articles
by Maria Alvarez
I came upon your articles in Workplace while researching for my own article and absolutely have to write and thank you for articulating so many of my concerns. I am the director of our language lab and a member of the Spanish department faculty here at Stetson. I have watched academic administrations across the country (including our own!) adopt the corporate model--a model which subsequently encroaches on academic freedom and undeniably compromises real learning. After a recent interview with a "scout" from our own academic computing department regarding language learning and distance education, I bristled as I answered his questions and negated his concepts regarding the benefits of distance learning as it applies to languages.
Administration incursion is a reality--subtle but real--and I reacted intuitively. When I read your articles I realized that I was not alone in my understanding, that my intuition was accurate. I appreciate the fact that there are others "out there" reacting to and speaking out against ideology and practices that compromise sound pedagogy. We have had our own recent wave of students who believe they are a paying public--a customer--and that we are the service providers: "we paid for this grade and you best give it to us because we also pay your salary." It is a tragedy unfolding. Thanks again for your voices. I will add mine and hope to alert the rest of our department as well as others bold enough to fight the good fight.
E-mail message May 15, 2002 to Education for Democracy Network, reprinted by permission of the author. Maria Alvarez teaches Spanish and directs the language lab at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. The articles she refers to are the cluster of 17 essays entitled "Education for Democracy: Fighting the Corporate Takeover", edited by David Brodsky, Patricia Brodsky, and Ali Zaidi, Workplace 4.2. (February 2002)-- http://www.louisville.edu/journal/workplace/wp42.html
AAUP Dues Information
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Go to the AAUP chapter home page-- http://cas.umkc.edu/aaup/ and click on the direct link to the national dues web page; or go to the national dues page-- http://www.aaup.org/membership/02dues.htm.
Please note that National dues also cover Missouri State Conference dues (but not local UMKC dues)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 1 (September 2000)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 2 (December 2000)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 3 (February 2001)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 4 (April 2001)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 2, No. 1 (October 2001)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 2, No. 2 (December 2001)
The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 2, No. 3 (February 2002)
The Faculty Advocate,Vol. 2,No. 4 (April 2002)
The Faculty Advocate,
Vol. 2, No. 5 (June 2002)
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