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Faculty Welfare
Reluctant Environmentalist

Public Writing

Faculty Welfare

January 29, 1990: Volume 1, Number 3

 

 

 “The Faculty Role in Resource Allocation” by Ray Poincelot and Kevin Cassidy, members of the Salary Committee

 

Richard Weber’s financial analysis of Fairfield University helps us immeasurably in establishing improved faculty salary policies. And salary policies are only a part of the faculty’s proper role in budgetary matters. The faculty voice must be heard in the distribution of resources between academic and non-academic units of the University.

 

We can fulfill our responsibility as faculty for the educational function of the University only if we have meaningful participation in major managerial decisions. There is nothing new or radical about this. According to the official position of the AAUP, “ the faculty is expected to establish faculty salary policies and, in its primary responsibility for the educational function of the institution, to participate also in broader budgetary matters primarily as these impinge on that function” (AAUP Policy Documents and Reports, 1984).

 

To participate meaningfully, the faculty must be well informed and therefore “should receive appropriate analyses of past budgetary experience, reports on current budgets and expenditures, and short- and long-range budgetary projections.” So reads the “Joint Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities,” formulated jointly by the AAUP, the ACE and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. Fairfield University’s own Board of Trustees is a member of this latter organization….

 

 

The Newsletter welcomes statements from faculty members who have joined us so recently that they have not yet become eligible for tenure. These faculty members are the University’s future. Since many of these newer faculty are understandably cautious about speaking for the record in this controversial climate, the Newsletter will guarantee their anonymity at their request: their identities will be known only by the editor. The following two articles were written by two untenured members of our faculty:

 

 

“Extraordinary Fridays”

 

Last fall was one to be remembered, an autumn of extraordinary Fridays. Not only was a general faculty accord on salaries and tactics achieved, but also there were numerous associated benefits.

 

Many of the younger faculty felt as though we were part of the academic community for the first time. Some long-standing animosities between the schools surfaced and, once articulated, seemed silly. It was thrilling to see women among our leaders.

 

Many of us appreciated anew the fact that we must learn to be managers and are responsible for managing our own welfare. We dissected paternalism, and found that it takes the consent of two parties for paternalism to work: Meek professors who glean change from administrative pockets without knowing the family income give passive consent to their own exploitation.

 

The faculty response to the salary crisis has been measured, powerful, constructive, and far-sighted. The administration is lucky to have us, and we are fortunate to have each other.

 

 

“Molding the Future”

 

As a fairly recent arrival at Fairfield, I have been alternately astonished, invigorated, and delighted by the events of the past few months. The revolt of the faculty or the “we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore” coalition of dedicated teachers and scholars is a wonder to behold. After witnessing the utter complacency of numerous college faculties during the 1970s and 1980s, it is a joy to join a strong, self-assured company of educators that knows its worth, both collectively and individually, and is not afraid to shout it from the rooftops.

 

Frankly, I am tired of people asking me why I “wasted my talents” on becoming a university professor when I could have pursued a more lucrative (and, sadly, more generally respected) career in law or medicine. Many of these commonly held notions and frightful realities (such as meager compensation) about our profession are, I believe, our own fault. Because we don’t demand the pay and benefits we deserve and because, all too often, we get trapped into the myth that “we are lucky to have a job at all,” we get relegated to the lower echelons of a society that equates income with importance. We ARE important—we ARE molding the future—and we are doing it with passion, perseverance, and love. Our work deserves to be recognized and I salute the valiant efforts of our senior faculty to gain that recognition for us all. Thank you for fighting the battles so openly and fearlessly so that we all may benefit. And, thank you especially for making me feel that I did indeed choose the right profession.

 

 

“The Weber Report: Are Salary Raises a Financial Strain for the University?” by Mariann Regan and Richard Regan, with consultants Phil Lane and Dennis Hodgson 

 

For the past five years, Fairfield University has been averaging a 14% “profit” margin. (In fund accounting terms, the figure equivalent to “profit” is the percentage of New Financial Resource Inflows to Total Financial Resource Inflows.) By contrast, the other private universities whose financial statements Dr. Richard Weber has analyzed are almost all in the 4% to 10% range. None has a “profit” as high as Fairfield’s. Here are the relevant data from Dr. Weber’s financial analysis: [Charts follow.]

 

Obviously, Fairfield University leads the pack in the “profit” competition.

 

What effect does this University’s extraordinarily high “profit” average have on our salaries? Quite simply, the administration is in effect financing this higher “profit” margin by holding down salary increases. For example, a few calculations reveal that faculty increases in salaries and accompanying benefits could have been doubled in 1988-89 by choosing to trim just a little bit of the excess from these “profit” margins. With doubled salary increases, the 1988-89 “profit” would have dropped no more than 0.70%, from 15.08% to 14.38%. But slightly higher “profits” were chosen over better salaries.

[Charts follow.]

 

…Even if we allow for the administration’s choice to match staff increases to faculty increases, the figures show that the cost of doubling both increases, for faculty and for staff, would still have allowed large “profit” margins of 11.2% for 1987-88 and 13.68% for 1988-89. These “profit” figures are still excessive in relation to the other universities Dr. Weber has analyzed. It appears that salary increases are but a few drops taken from a large and well-filled bucket.

 

By insisting on these record “profit” margins at the expense of fair wages and benefits, the purse-holders of Fairfield University may be clinging to an illusion of security through exaggerated financial caution. But the real strength of Fairfield University, present and future, is a committed and energetic faculty. The real security lies in the well-being and high morale of that faculty. The employees of this University deserve compensation at a level that does not force them to suffer for the University’s privilege of employing them.