3/12/19 EC Agenda
- Newsletter #8 on 3/11/19.
- Solidarity donation of $300 to UIC strike fund on 3/5/19.
- Approved $50 budget for CGE Coffee and Study Hour.
- Approved for membership general vote an amendment to the CGE Constitution & Bylaws proposed by a member in good standing.
Check-Ins: What are folks upcoming plans to decompress during Spring Break?
Quick Update About Hiring PT: We have two interviews scheduled for Thursday, March 14 from 12:00-2:00 and then Monday, March 18 from 11:00-1:00. Noon to One each day will be a public lunch where we have invited stewards and caucus members to meet the potential candidates. We offered 3 in-person interviews and 2 candidates accepted the interview. Once the hiring committee has interviewed both applicants they will make a recommendation for hiring to the Executive Council. The EC will then choose to accept, or not, the recommendation. The Hiring Committee requests the EC be prepared to make a decision by Tuesday, March 19th once a recommendation has been made, which will come no later than early March 19th.
Discussion about changing tasks approach to EC: We’ve been moving toward creating an inclusive and empowering EC culture, and along these lines Micknai would like to discuss a potential shift in how we divide up tasks according to roles within the EC. (moved to next meeting)
Feser Counter-Statement Final Steps: We passed around our counter-statement to Stewards and got a lot of engagement and buy-in amongst them. Below is the final version of the counter-statement we created. Now we need to discuss strategy for distributing this statement.
On January 16th, Provost and Executive Vice President, Ed Feser, and Vice President for Finance and Administration, Mike Green, issued a bleak assessment about our university’s future to OSU faculty and staff. Not only did they fail to send this message to grad employees, but the Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE) also disagrees with their assumptions made in the email. Therefore, CGE feels it is appropriate to broadly communicate our own assessment of the situation. The essence of Feser and Green’s statement is that permanent OSU budget cuts are necessary. CGE takes issue with this assertion. Feser and Green do not mention that OSU’s recent budget projections have been miscalculated by a $10 million surplus in a given year, or that a “budget” is not synonymous with “revenue.” Instead, they attempt to paint a picture of zero options for the university.
These cuts are not inevitable and they are not necessary. CGE will continue to improve the lives of all graduate employees, and we will collaborate with OSU faculty and staff to ensure investments are made to improve their lives as well. OSU works because we do, and OSU thrives when we do.
CGE is familiar with the story Feser and Green present, as they have not changed it much from year to year. Increases in public worker pensions (PERS) and insufficient enrollment (even after a decade of record numbers) are always to blame. Their solutions are always tuition hikes, more aggressive recruitment, and a shift of focus onto the state and away from OSU administration decision-making.
Feser and Green would have you believe that the current situation marks a dramatic drop in the University’s ability to financially sustain itself. They write that “central administrative functions will absorb a larger relative share of the reduction than academic units”; a seeming extension of good faith. However, percentages are not illustrative of overall impact. A 1.8% cut in the Provost’s Office will not have the same consequences as a 1.1% reduction for already underfunded departments, particularly those that rely on GTA positions.
What will these cuts look like to the students, staff, faculty, adjuncts, and graduate employees who are committed to OSU’s educational mission?
Larger class sizes.
More course cancellations.
Less investment in arts and humanities.
Extra work for less pay for adjuncts and staff.
How will these potential changes help the University accomplish “more proactive recruiting, and transfer student support?” How do these changes align with the University’s stated mission to promote “economic, social, cultural and environmental progress for the people of Oregon, the nation and the world?”
Though they won’t admit it, Feser and Green are simply taking a gamble on the future. The gamble they make is that workers and students will accept the consequences of their poor management, a Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) model, and will not question whether this model is fair or desirable. They gamble that they can continue to recruit high numbers of undergraduates while not investing in the prime motivation for student enrollment: quality education. And they gamble that faculty, staff, graduate student workers, and students will believe the myth that there are no options except the one they have determined is necessary.
Options other than budget cuts are available. The most obvious is to not make any cuts, as the projected loss is so minimal compared to OSU’s healthy endowment that it will have no negative impact to the university at large. OSU could also prioritize need and make cuts only to the top earners, which includes Feser and Green and President Ed Ray who conveniently received a 6% pay increase to a compensation package in excess of $800,000 within days of Feser’s and Green’s statement. When so many administrators and coaches at OSU earn more than $200,000 a year, cuts should only be made at the top.
More importantly, Feser and Green can start making decisions that focus on people first before simply turning them into numbers without a name, without families, without needs, and people whose futures will suffer should budget cuts occur.
CGE is calling on all students, staff, graduate student workers, and faculty to reject these budget cuts as stated by Feser and Green.
OSU’s Board of Trustees will meet on April 5, 2019 from 9:00-4:00pm in the Memorial Union Horizon Room. Schedule an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to make public comments and share how these proposed cuts will negatively impact you.
Write to President Ed Ray, Provost Ed Feser, and Vice President Mike Green about how these cuts are unacceptable by emailing email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com
Write an op-ed to your local Barometer and Gazette Times.