Representing the concerns of LSA Lecturers who feel they are not receiving the full benefit of their contract, the Lecturers’ Employee Organization staged a demonstration outside the LSA Executive Committee meeting last Tuesday to show their disapproval of what they see as the administration’s lack of consideration for the Lecturers’ contract.
In the contract agreed upon in June 2004, Lecturer I’s and Lecturer II’s are classified as employees restricted to teaching, while Lecturer III’s and Lecturer IV’s are also expected to perform an additional service to the University such as advising or other administrative duties.
Anthropology Lecturer Lisa Young said the LSA administration would not reclassify her as a Lecturer III, a distinction that would acknowledge her hard work as a teacher and as an advisor, according to the Lecturers’ contract, despite her work as an honors advisor within her department.
Handing out letters to Executive Committee members as they entered the meeting, the LEO members highlighted the cases of Young and other Lecturers with similar experiences. LEO Vice President Kirsten Herold said these cases are exemplary.
“We are in our first year of our contract, and we are having a lot of problems. We feel (the LSA administration is) very resistant to implementing the conditions of the contract that the University agreed to,”
Herold said.Herold added that Young and Pollard are not alone, as about 30 other Lecturers are not being reclassified as Lecturer III’s by the LSA administration despite their additional services to the University.
LEO Co-Chair Ian Robinson said most of those 30 Lecturer II’s can easily be seen as Lecturer III’s from their track records at the University.
“When we are disagreeing even on the easy cases, we have to wonder — are people truly reading these words, which seem pretty clear, so differently? Or are they just ignoring the contract?” Robinson said.
Young stressed the fairness of the reclassification, as her job letter described advising as one of her duties at the University.
“The main issue is basically getting acknowledged for the work that I’ve been doing already,” she said.
But University Spokeswoman Julie Peterson said the Lecturers’ contract does not call for a deadline for the reclassification. She said each academic unit has provided a schedule for their evaluations, but that it will take time to evaluate each Lecturer.
“It’s just simply not possible to evaluate every single member of the union within the first few months of the contract,” Peterson said. “(Any action) the University is taking to accelerate the process is out of good will and in wanting to keep a good relationship with the members of LEO.”
Robinson also stressed the organization’s dissatisfaction with the delay on promotional raises for Lecturers such as Dennis Pollard, a romance language Lecturer III whose 7 percent promotional raise has been delayed by the Executive Committee despite his department’s approval of the raise. Robinson said this is the first chance for a wage increase for Pollard and possibly other Lecturers in similar situations.
“The language in the contract is that the norm should be that if you are reviewed in one year, you get your raise in the following year. You don’t drag it out for a year and a half,” Robinson said. “Why would you want to do that? These are people who have served the University well for years and years and years.”
Robinson said that by avoiding these promotional raises and reclassifications the administration could be saving around $350,000, an amount that is one-third of 1 percent of the total LSA budget for the salaries of all Lecturers in three years, according to an LEO press release.
Peterson said she strongly disagrees with the idea that the delays are an attempt by the University to save money.
“(The delay) is because this is a new contract, and it is a lot of work to get these evaluations accomplished, and it’s going to take time,” she said.
LSA Dean Terrence McDonald agreed to meet with LEO on June 6, but Herold said the organization’s actions will persist into the fall if they are dissatisfied with the results of the meeting.
Robinson said he agreed with McDonald.
“We take these questions very seriously. We will keep talking and keep trying to both understand the administration’s position and … persuade them to alter it,” Robinson said.
He added that the delayed actions of the LSA administration have caused the Lecturers to change their views of the college.
“If the administration treats you well, you are going to be happier and more willing to contribute to the overall quality of education and the general spirit and progress of the University,” Robinson said.