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Faculty Welfare
Reluctant Environmentalist

Public Writing

Faculty Welfare

April 23, 1990: Volume 2, Number 1

 

“Prospective” [by Mariann Regan]

 

We realize that this has been a difficult year for the administration as well as for the faculty. Both groups have been engaged in the arduous process of forging a newly cooperative and professional relationship, and it has not been easy. We would like to express our sincere hope that we can all emerge from our struggles this year with more of a genuine ability to work together as co-equals, faculty and administration. The faculty take seriously their charge to formulate and carry out the educational mission of the university. The FWC/AAUP, as the voice of a strong faculty, will continue to work in support of educational excellence, and we trust that our relationship with the administration will become increasingly and genuinely collegial with the passing of time.

 

We have taken note that the administration has made a good faith effort this year, to a greater degree than in preceding years, to place the faculty salary increases in a truer perspective in relation to the general tuition increase. Nevertheless, despite the administration’s efforts, we feel that there are still some misperceptions in the public’s understanding of these matters. We therefore offer the following article as our contribution toward clearing up these misunderstandings.

 

“It’s Not the Faculty Salary Increases…” [by Mariann Regan]

 

There have been a number of recent news items that have linked next year’s tuition increase at Fairfield University with the faculty salary increases. These include an article in the Mirror (April 5); the President’s letter to the parents (March 30); an article in the Bridgeport Post (April 13); and even a spot on Channel 8 Action News (April 11), in which the co-anchor concluded by announcing, “The University says the hike is necessary because of increased costs including a need to raise teachers’ salaries.”

 

We feel that it is time for the faculty to speak up and set the record straight. Tuition increases at Fairfield are not driven by faculty salary increases. We recognize that the administration may choose to raise tuition for any number of legitimate reasons. But faculty salary increases, in and of themselves, are neither a necessary nor a sufficient cause for tuition increases. In other words, if faculty salaries go up, tuition doesn’t have to rise accordingly; moreover, faculty salary increases don’t cost enough to raise tuition very much. To correct the misleading impression that the news items may give to some people, we would like to point out two basic sets of facts.

 

First, faculty salary increases do not necessitate tuition increases. In a given year, the University typically has enough resources to absorb the relatively modest cost of faculty salary increases (modest in relation to the University’s total resources) without increasing tuition significantly. [References to following Table]  Raising tuition is always the administration’s choice: It is not a financial inevitability brought on by faculty salary increases.

 

Second, the cost of faculty salary increases is not sufficient, in itself, to raise tuition significantly. [References to following Table]

 

Notice that the cost of the faculty salary increases would not suffice to use up more than a fraction of the revenue from increased tuition in any given year. Even if the administration chose to pay for every penny of the faculty salary increases through increased tuition revenues, there would still be typically 72% to 80% of those revenues remaining for other purposes besides faculty salary increases, as the table demonstrates.

 

Notice also in the chart the rather spectacular lack of correlation between faculty salary increases and tuition increases. This lack of correlation is a national pattern, as well. While tuition costs have skyrocketed over the past 20 years, the real purchasing power of faculty salaries has actually fallen by 15%....

 

We hope that these facts will serve to correct any misleading impressions. Faculty salary increases do not have to cause—and indeed are not capable of causing—large tuition increases. There is often a legitimate need to raise tuition, but it is incorrect to assume that faculty salary increases are the cause.

 

 

“FWC Goes National”

 

Last month, on March 23rd, the FWC voted overwhelmingly to affiliate with the American Association of University Professors. The vote was 80 to 4 and followed a lengthy discussion of the issue….

 

The membership also elected Kevin Cassidy as Chair; Mariann Regan as Secretary; and Sue Lyngaas and Roselie Kenney as co-Treasurers, to serve until September of 1990 when elections for new officers would take place….

 

 

“The Year Ends with a Quiet Bang” [by Mariann Regan]

 

On April 6th the General Faculty met and ratified the contract for the 1990-91 and 1991-92 academic years. The meeting, which included a resolution on another matter, took less than 25 minutes from gavel to gavel. Yet in recent memory, the Faculty was never better informed or prepared to vote for an agreement. And what an agreement it was! The economic settlement may prove to be one of the best yet negotiated. Even more important, the Faculty has entered into a new relationship with the administration, a relationship based on clearly stated and enforceable agreements, a relationship which recognizes the Faculty as a body with some power within the institution—in short, a relationship between two groups of adults.

 

It would be impossible to thank all the people whose efforts went into reaching this agreement…. All along the way we met faculty who helped us over various hurdles. And behind the scenes, we saw signs of administrators pushing for items on our agenda—using our energy, for sure, but pushing because they saw the benefits to the University. Many shared our vision that the heart of the University is its people, not its buildings or equipment. To them—the ones we know about, and the ones whose actions were hidden from us—we also offer our thanks.