Promoting Quality Higher Education– An Investment in Oregon’s Future


President’s Weekly Message: Is PSU Broke? Yes!  No!  YES!  NO!- November 4, 2013

November 04, 2013 / Phil Lesch

1.  Is PSU Broke?  The Story Keeps Changing...
2.  Faculty Senate, Monday, Nov. 4th, 3 - 5 pm, CH 53:  Bargaining Updates from
     PSU-AAUP VP for Bargaining Ron Narode AND Admin Chief Negotiator,
     Carol Mack, VP for Academic Personnel & Leadership Development
     Open Meeting:  Join us there!
3.  Would you like to speak at the Bargaining Table?  Tues., Nov. 5th, 1 - 3, Open Mike
4.  Stark Results for PSU Progress Survey - Shaking Confidence in PSU's Direction

Is PSU Broke?  The Story Keeps Changing.......

The message from PSU Administrators lurched back and forth this year between sanguine news and abrupt calls to cut, CUT, CUT!

We're flush!  Between Fall '11 and Spring '13, PSU's administrative payroll expands by 13%.

We're broke!  Fall 2012, PSU reports enrollment growth has stagnated, even fallen in terms of SCH.

We're flush!  Fall 2012, Provost announces the "Provost's Challenge" - we have $3 million to develop new ideas on tech use.

We're broke!  Spring 2013, we must cut 2 to 4% from departmental budgets for the coming year.

We're flush!  May 2013, VP Rimai forecasts for Faculty Senate Budget Committee
1.  3% salary increases across the board for '13/'14 and '14/'15, and
2.  "Auxiliaries" bleed millions of dollars, subsidized by tuition and academics; that money
    could be re-directed.

We're broke!  June 2013, 81 Summer Session classes cut, many within 1 week of start date.

We're flush!  Sept. 2013, OUS Board shows PSU Ending Fund Balance of 12.6% in June 2013, or 14.4% in absence of new OUS policy to write down old student debt that may not be paid.  OUS guidelines call for Ending Fund Balances between 5% and 15%.

We're broke!  Oct 2013, President Wiewel tells Leadership Summit we must cut $15m next year, largely from personnel.

We're really broke! Oct 2013, CLAS Dean Beatty informs CLAS Chairs they must cut 5% of their budgets for next year, proposing to reduce Chairs' pay and responsibilities - along with Dept staff - to be replaced by 4 - 6 "Directors" and 4 - 6 "Fiscal Officers" (though how could that save $$$?).

We're really, really broke and it's all the fault of the classified staff!  Oct 2013, VP Carol Mack tells PSU-AAUP Bargaining team that VP Rimai's projected 3% across the board pay increases are off the table - only 1% is doable - because of the expense of the SEIU settlement (which is arithmetically impossible.)

We're really, really, really broke!  And yes, it IS SEIU's fault....  CLAS Dean Beatty tells Chair that an 8% cut - not a 5% cut - will be needed in departmental budgets, due to the expense of the SEIU settlement...

I'm beginning to understand the mantra of one senior administrator:  "Never let a good crisis go to waste!"  Though maybe we should be hearing, "Never let the chance to create a crisis go to waste," especially at bargaining time.

Please join us at the Faculty Senate - always an open meeting - to hear Bargaining Updates and ask Questions of PSU VP for Bargaining Ron Narode and Chief Negotiator for the PSU Admin VP Carol Mack.  Monday, Nov. 4th, 3 - 5 PM, in CH 53.

"Open Mike" for PSU-AAUP Members at the Next Bargaining Session:  Tues, Nov. 5th, 12:30 - 3 pm, 6th Floor MCB
Would you like the chance to speak at the Bargaining Table about issues important to you, perhaps:
* multi-year contracts for fixed-term faculty
* loss of contract protections for promotion & tenure and other evaluation language
* recruitment and retention problems in your unit, due to workload, pay or other issues
* need for a promotion ladder for Academic Professionals
* potential loss of research days for fixed term faculty in the Library currently receiving
  "gratis days"
* importance of paid parental leave as exists at UO for teaching faculty
* other????

Please contact PSU-AAUP VP for Bargaining, Ron Narode,

Stark Findings by PSU Progress Survey - Confidence is Shaking

Three-quarters of PSU faculty responding to an on-line survey, completed last week by the PSU-AAUP, indicated they “somewhat disagree or completely disagree” that “PSU Administrators have a good feel for our mission, understanding of conditions at PSU and are taking us in a positive direction.”

Comparable numbers
* Disagree that they are “well supported by PSU to do a good job for PSU, to develop
   professionally and to be competitive for a comparable or better position elsewhere.”
* Disagree that “PSU Administrators are visible, effective advocates for PSU and public
   higher education in Oregon.”
* Disagree that "salaries and workload in my department or unit are competitive."
* Disagree that "the priorities and concerns of PSU faculty, including academic
  professionals, are reflected in PSU’s policies, priorities and direction.

Other evidence of the depth of concern was the very high response rate – 42% of the 950 people contacted responded to the survey – full results available soon on the PSU-AAUP webpage,

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