Six advisors in the Comprehensive Studies Program – a unit of LSA that provides academic support and instruction to disadvantaged students – have teamed up with the Lecturers’ Employee Organization to file grievances charging that the University is overworking and underpaying them.

The complainants, who mostly perform administrative duties for the department, claim they are not being compensated for additional work they have been asked to carry out; they teach at least one class during the summer, in addition to administering the Summer Bridge program. They do not receive any extra pay for their teaching.

“(The University) never denied that we work overload,” said Elzora Holland, an academic advisor in the Comprehensive Studies Program.

During past summers, the University has paid CSP advisors extra money for their teaching duties. But beginning this summer, the University decided the advisors will not be paid for their classroom work.

LEO co-chair Kirsten Herold said the University has reduced the administrative duties of CSP academic advisors to 65 percent, allowing them to teach 35 percent of the time so the University would not have to pay them overtime. But the advisors claim they have been doing the same amount of administrative work as before.

“They reduced it on paper but didn’t actually reduce it,” Herold said. “That’s a pretty clear contract violation.”

University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said the University has reduced their duties in relation to the pay reduction.

Holland said the University “did this sort of slick, shady maneuvering on paper” in order avoid compensating them.

Holland and the CSP advisors said if an appropriate resolution is not reached soon, they may consider joining the Coalition for Action against Racism and Discrimination, a group that has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights alleging that the University discriminates against black students.

The complaint specifically alleges discrimination in graduate programs in the College of Engineering but claims there is a similar atmosphere in other graduate programs. Holland said this would be a consideration because CSP staff mainly consists of women and minorities.

“We’re feeling that this is a disparate treatment,” she said. “There is a feeling that when we’re devalued it trickles down to our students.”

Six instructors have filed grievances regarding their summer appointments, and two of those have also contested their teaching appointments in the fall semester.

The summer appointments include teaching duties for the Summer Bridge program, which prepares incoming minority students for college with intensive classes and advising. According to Holland, the program has seen a recent increase in the number of students who attend.

Holland said with more students to teach and advise, CSP advisors find it unacceptable not to be compensated for the extra work.

LEO and the advisors have decided to take the teaching grievances to an arbitration hearing because of a lack of resolution, she said.

Because many of the instructors in the CSP program are classified as lecturers as well as administrative staff, they must file separate grievances concerning problems with their separate duties. The teaching duties of CSP lecturers are covered by the LEO contract and by the outlined grievance process, Herold said. The administrative duties are not.

Holland said an administrative grievance has also been filed demanding a reduction of administrative work. Staff grievances are currently being discussed with the University’s human resources department.

The situation in CSP comes in the wake of worries among lecturers in various LSA departments about increasing workload without increasing pay, LEO president Bonnie Halloran said.

The LEO membership will meet on Tuesday to determine what steps it should take to address growing concerns of increased workload.

Holland said there is a great deal of support among LEO members for the CSP lecturers.

Peterson said other departments have long since phased out overload pay, but CSP did not until recently.

Holland said administrators approach most labor discussions regarding CSP with a predetermined mindset.

“They’re there to protect the college’s interest. The objectivity is not felt. There is a demeanor of ‘convince us,’ ” Holland said.

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