Faculty Senate questions cuts PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor   
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 10:56
The BGSU Faculty Senate is seen in session on February 5, 2013 at McFall Center in Bowling Green, Ohio. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
BGSU's Faculty Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to support the university's faculty union's efforts to get a contract and preserve as many teaching positions as possible.
By a vote of 52 to 5, with 2 abstentions, the Faculty Senate endorsed a resolution asking for swift conclusion to contract negotiations and priorities such as:
• Cutting faculty members as a last resort, after all other budgetary options have been undertaken.
• Retaining and reinforcing the university's research and teaching mission by ensuring appropriate course loads and class sizes.
• Acknowledging the key role of full-time non-tenure track faculty in the educational mission of the university.
• Making overall faculty compensation and benefits at BGSU competitive with peer institutions.
The resolution comes on the heels of BGSU administration's announcement that 100 faculty will be cut by fall semester. The majority of the cuts are intended to come through retirements and attrition, while the remainder will come from non-tenure faculty working under one-year contracts.
Faculty members were also asked at Tuesday's meeting to volunteer their time on Presidents' Day for the university's major annual student recruitment effort.
President Mary Ellen Mazey addresses the BGSU Faculty Senate.
Faculty Senate member Dr. Bill Albertini asked BGSU President Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey about the contradiction between the university's web site message boasting of BGSU's low faculty-student ratio. The administration is sending a "mixed message" by cutting faculty, he said.
Another faculty senate member asked, "What party line do you want us to say?" to prospective students on Presidents' Day.
Prior to the resolution vote being announced, Mazey and Provost Dr. Rodney Rogers explained some of the rationale behind the proposed cuts. Mazey said BGSU's faculty numbers are higher than comparable universities in Ohio. Even after the faculty reductions, BGSU's student-faculty ratios will be lower than most in the state. Mazey also said the administration is committed to bringing the remaining faculty members' salaries up to market levels.
Some faculty senate members suggested their colleagues shouldn't have to bear the brunt of the cuts. Albertini said the budget shouldn't be balanced "entirely on the backs of faculty."
But Mazey said classified and administrative staffs had already undergone cuts.
Mazey also echoed previous comments she made about BGSU looking at using technology more efficiently in classrooms, requiring fewer faculty.
William O'Brien, representing the Department of Psychology, addresses a question to President Mary Ellen Mazey during a meeting of the BGSU Faculty Senate.
Multiple questions were asked to try to pin down the administration on how many cut positions would be voluntary, and how many would be faculty whose contracts wouldn't be renewed. Both Mazey and Rogers said they had been advised to by the university's attorney to not discuss those details publicly until contract negotiations were complete. Originally, a forum was planned to discuss the cuts with faculty, but Rogers said their attorneys advised against it.
Some faculty suggested that the faculty reductions appeared to be separate from negotiations since they don't hinge on the contract. While the effects of the cuts will be dealt with in the contract, the cuts themselves are separate, they said.
"I can just tell you what our attorney has advised us," Rogers said.
Faculty senate member Kerry Fan asked Rogers who exactly the attorney represents - the faculty, the administration, the university?
"At the end of the day, it's about our students," Rogers replied.
But faculty senate member Dr. William O'Brien questioned that statement.
"Being a psychologist, it doesn't feel like that to us," he said. "It sounds economic."
O'Brien spoke of a colleague who is "one of the 100" to lose her job. She had been named Master Teacher on campus, and had no intention of leaving BGSU.
Both Mazey and Rogers said the administration has to consider the costs to the students.
"We need to make sure Bowling Green stays affordable," Rogers said.

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