Some faculty side with Frey, say tensions remain with administrators
Editor’s note: This is part three in a series examining issues at CMU during the 2011-12 academic year.
Faculty Association President Laura Frey recently outlined lingering faculty problems going into the new academic year, calling on administration to improve communications and transparency.
Now, other faculty members are speaking up.
“I think Laura’s position is certainly a valid one,” said Timothy Connors, professor of communications and dramatic arts. “I think there are issues in which the way bargaining was conducted that have not yet been addressed.”
Connors, FA president before Frey became leader, said communication between the two sides was the problem and it will greatly benefit everyone if both are willing to be more transparent.
“Things were said, positions were taken, and bridges were burned,” Connors said. “And unless there is a conscientious effort on everyone’s part to rebuild and to be willing to address those issues, there is going to be some lingering discontent.”
But the extent of tensions between the FA and administration varies between faculty members and administrators.
“My personal experience is that there are some members of the administration who genuinely understand the faculty’s concerns and are concerned about the relationship between the administration and faculty,” Connors said. “There are others who believe it is the administration, right or wrong.”
Connors said dissenting opinions are common among faculty members.
“There are some faculty for whom, no matter what the administration does, they won’t be satisfied,” Connors said. “And there are some faculty who have completely forgotten everything that happened last semester and decided it’s a new day. Let’s move forward.”
Other faculty members are unsure of what’s to come from a new contract, but still realize last years problems are not easily forgotten.
“I believe there are still tensions from last year,” said Elizabeth Alm, professor of biology. “I don’t think faculty problems were properly addressed.”
More than a dozen faculty declined comment about the relationship between the FA and the administration.
Connors said he hopes faculty members are prepared to do the best thing for students this year.
“I expect that all the faculty have come back, committed to their jobs, committed to serving the students the best they can, and are committed to making CMU a good place to study, a good place to work,” Connors said.
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