Dear colleagues,

I apologize for sending out another message so close on the heels of my last one, but it has come to UA’s attention that a five year budget plan for the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) has been circulated that includes letting go lecturers. While we don’t want to fan the flames of the rumor mill, it is probably better to share what concrete information we have rather than let speculation circulate unchecked. (For ways to learn more and provide feedback, see below.) 

What we have learned is that CAS Dean Williams Falls circulated a proposed five year budget scenario for dealing with the roughly $2 million deficit imposed by central administration under IBB. The plan explores different scenarios, but the most optimistic one foresees letting go 26 FT instructors and a 40% reduction in PT instructors over the five years. 

None of this is written in stone. We saw last November how central administration, shortly after claiming nothing could be done about the then-larger CAS deficit, suddenly found an extra $2 million, cutting the deficit in half. We hope similar changes can be made before these draconian and short-sighted measures have to be enacted.

But United Academics finds this proposal disturbing. Letting go lecturers to save money too often happens because is its easy, not because any deliberative process has determined that it is wise. UA does not take a stand on what programs are more or less deserving of funds, but we do advocate for decision making that is guided by principles of academic quality and that adheres to the principles of faculty governance. Lecturers typically do more teaching for less pay, often in academically essential programs. We fear that letting them go as their contracts come up for renewal, if that’s what eventually happens, may turn out to be penny wise and pound foolish, not to mention an assault on the careers of valued professionals and colleagues. 

To learn more about UVM’s finances, please come if you can to our Open the Books at UVM” event on Feb. 1 at 4:30 in Waterman in 413. If we learn more about this situation, we should be able to share it then. And also please remember to fill out the survey regarding the IBB model, intended to be used for the next version of IBB. The survey, due this Friday Jan. 19th at noon, is here: https://survey.uvm.edu/index.php/573865?lang=en

You can also learn more and voice your concerns by joining United Academics Delegates and Department Representatives for coffee or lunch: for Coffee and bagels, Wednesday 1/24,  9-11am: Drop-in anytime at Old Mill, GSWS Conference Room on the ground floor. Or pick up some Lunch, Friday 1/26, 12-2pm: Drop-in anytime, in Waterman 427A.

Finally, if you have current concerns about your job status or fair treatment, you can always email our Contract Administration Committee at contract@unitedacademics.org. 

In solidarity,

Tom Streeter

President, United Academics