Thursday, December 23, 2010

Faculty unionize, get kicked out of governance

Faculty at Bowling State unionized this fall. In retaliation, the administration has eliminated numerous faculty committees and faculty evaluations of deans, directors and chairs. The administration also eliminated the faculty's role in determining financial exigency, a necessary step in dismissing tenured professors. The powers of the Undergraduate Council, which previously had to approve reorganizations, were diminished so that it may only advise the administration. According to the president,

the changes to the charter were merely an acknowledgment that the union is now the “exclusive representative” of the full-time faculty for all matters related to wages, working conditions and grievances. That necessarily means that Faculty Senate committees shouldn’t be in the business of addressing those issues, she said. “It was to draw a sharper distinction between management responsibilities and faculty responsibilities,” Cartwright said. “Nothing has changed in the charter with respect to the faculty’s governance responsibilities for academic matters.”

The actions clearly express the administration's hostility to faculty unionization. Many faculty are up in arms about the weakening of faculty governance institutions, and the elimination of the faculty role in declaring financial exigency and reconfiguring programs is disturbing. But most faculty governance institutions are purely consultative. Their elimination merely lays bare the power relations of the university. Now the administration does not even pretend that the faculty have a say in how the university is governed.

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