After months of frustration with the University over the way employees are classified, the University’s lecturers’ union finally received what they considered a half-hearted answer yesterday.

The University was scheduled to respond to complaints from the Lecturers’ Employee Organization last Friday regarding 20 cases where LEO believed that lecturers were put into the wrong classifying category. The University replied to the union yesterday and only conceded to having misclassified four lecturers, all of whom teach in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Classification is important to lecturers because it impacts their duties and wages. The University has classified lecturers by giving them titles ranging from lecturer I to lecturer IV. The titles are decided based on the amount of time that a lecturer spends in a given department and the type of duties they perform. Lecturer I and II titles are for those lecturers who only teach classes, while lecturer III and IV titles are for those who teach and perform administrative and advising duties.

The current problem arose because LEO felt 20 lecturer IIs, who were performing administrative and service duties alongside teaching should be classified as lecturer III or IV. The University, on the other hand, charged that those lecturers did not meet the time requirement for the two higher classifications.

LEO President Bonnie Halloran said she was extremely disappointed that the University only agreed to reclassify four of these lecturers.

“It tells you what kind of responsibility LSA feels towards its lecturers,” she said.

University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said two criteria were used to decide if the 20 lecturers in question were classified in the wrong category.

The first criterion was whether or not the lecturer taught upper level courses and the second was the type of administrative and service duties the lecturer had performed. Based on this information, LSA decided that four lecturers had been classified with the wrong title.

According to LEO’s contract with the University, a formal grievance must be filed with the provost’s office and the LSA dean’s office. If LEO decides to continue forward with the rejected misclassification cases. LEO will be holding a meeting next week to discuss further action with its members. LEO Co-chair Kirsten Herold said she did not think the lecturers who had been denied reclassification would continue to fight a frustrating battle with LSA.

LEO members were also angry that lecturers denied reclassification were not given an adequate explanation as to why their request had been rejected. Halloran also said that LSA originally promised the misclassified lecturers who were denied reclassifications written responses detailing why they were denied.

But instead, Halloran said they received one-sentence responses that stated the individuals did not meet the criteria to be considered for higher classification.

Lisa Young, an anthropology lecturer said the process has been very frustrating. She was hired six years ago as a lecturer II and teaches the honors seminar classes and is an advisor to honors students. She said that she received an e-mail from LSA approving her reclassification to a lecturer III, but after a week she received another e-mail saying the reclassification had been a clerical error.

Herold said the review process over the misclassified lecturers has been very frustrating for a number of reasons including the constant delay the union experienced with LSA. She said that the original deadline according to the contract for LSA to respond to the misclassification cases was July 1, but due to mutual agreement the deadline was extended to Sept. 30.

“This is a process that has been disrespectful to the individuals and the union,” Herold said.

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