Systems Science Grievance Settled

October 29, 2020 / Phil Lesch

We are pleased to report that we have reached a settlement with administration to resolve the System Science Grievance. PSU-AAUP submitted a demand to arbitrate the grievance on June 19, 2020 after the grievance had been denied at Steps One, Two and Three. Arbitration was scheduled for October 22, 2020. We were able to cancel the arbitration hearing and incurred only 50% of the charges for the arbitrator’s cancellation fee.

The settlement agreement provides for an ongoing dialog between the new CLAS Dean and the faculty members in Systems Science about the future of the System Science program. It also provides assurance to PSU-AAUP and the faculty members that the administration will not reduce the Systems Science program through retrenchment, or cut the unit’s budget to a point of dysfunction, without following either the CBA Article 22 process for retrenchment, or the new faculty senate processes for the elimination of an academic unit, and/or the procedure to impose a moratorium on admission to a program.

The grievance was filed in March 2020 after the Interim CLAS Dean informed the two tenured faculty members in System Science that should they choose to retire, their positions would not be refilled. After years of budget cuts that eliminated adjunct positions and graduate student support, the decision to not replace the retiring faculty members would shut down the System Science program. PSU-AAUP found that these reductions went far beyond the normal adjustments departments make by “attrition and not renewing appointments” allowed in the CBA because it created a “serious distortion” or elimination of the System Science program. As such, the administration was required to follow all the processes in Article 22 regarding the reduction or elimination of a unit, which included seeking input from faculty councils about the action, creating a provisional plan which PSU-AAUP could react to, and thorough consideration of all of the elements listed in the article that are essential criteria to the decision to reduce or eliminate a unit.

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