The Lecturers’ Employee Organization is once again up in arms over the problems lecturers are facing – this time in the School of Art and Design, where lecturers feel uncomfortable and threatened by Dean Bryan Rogers, who is working to reduce the school’s need for lecturers.

LEO alleges that the School of Art and Design is also violating its contract with lecturers by not providing them with timely evaluations of their job performance. Last year, when the school signed a contract with the lecturers, it agreed to evaluate lecturers and then base wages, promotions and other benefits on these evaluations. The art school has about 20 lecturers, and it has only conducted two performance evaluations thus far.

LEO is also upset because the art school has reduced all but two lecturers from full-time to part-time status, limiting their wages and benefits.

On Friday, LEO staged a small but visible protest at a ceremony to name a studio after art school alum Penny Stamps and her husband Roe.

“This ceremony is about the quality the University is known for,” LEO President Bonnie Halloran said. “If you juxtapose that with the treatment of lecturers, it just doesn’t match up.

Kirsten Herold, LEO co-chair, said a general atmosphere of fear and harassment exists among lecturers at the School of Art and Design. No lecturers from the school were at the protest because of fears that their job security and personal security would be jeopardized by their presence, Herold said.

She said the school does not respect the work done by the lecturers and that the dean is actively trying to phase out the need for lecturers. When Rogers became dean in 1999, the art school had about 42 lecturers; now, the school has 20.

“It has been a long-term plan of the dean to decrease reliance on lecturers and part-time faculty, and it is not connected to LEO,” University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said. Peterson said that the plan is to incorporate more permanent faculty and strengthen the department.

Anonymous lecturers from the art school have relayed complaints of harassment to LEO. Many have said they feel discriminated against and belittled by Rogers when he commends himself for decreasing the number of lecturers in the department at faculty meetings where lecturers are present.

Other cases include a lecturer whose personal works were lost by the school when the lecturer submitted them for a performance evaluation. Another instance involves a lecturer whose belongings were removed from her office and left on the ground immediately after being told of her dismissal.

Last fall, LEO had filed a number of grievances with the University regarding layoffs that occurred across different academic units. LEO’s contract states that lecturers who have been laid off are to be placed on a call-back list for two years and offered an open position that they are qualified for when it becomes available.

A number of the grievances were filed in the School of Art and Design, but two cases stand to be poignant. Two lecturers whom LEO claims are qualified have yet to be called back to positions, even when Dean Rogers said they would be rehired at a public grievance hearing where members of the administration were present, including Assistant Provost Jeffery Frumkin.

Due to the statement by Rogers, both lecturers did not pursue further arbitration of their cases. Neither of the lecturers have been rehired yet, and they only have a semester left on the call-back list.

“It was looking for job security, and also just looking for respect. In this department there’s a devaluing of the contributions that lecturers make,” Halloran said.

Halloran said LEO would pursue further action to pressure the University and the School of Art and Design to make good on its promises. She said LEO may begin sending letters to major donors of the School of Art and Design informing them of mistreatment of lecturers.

 

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