EDITORIAL: Focus on our education

One would need to be extraordinarily out of touch to not recognize the lackluster-at-best state of the economy in Michigan and also in this country.

To borrow a phrase from the governor, it’s time for “shared sacrifice,” something many folks are doing across the state.

But the financial state of Michigan is not the same as the financial state of CMU — to the tune of $228 million in unrestricted net assets and solid, spectacular credit ratings by top ranking credit agencies.

There are many facts in this matter to consider, and they simply cannot all be addressed. But considering the financial stability of this university, such a robust and solid-footed fiscal state gives no excuse to not give faculty members a solid cost of living increase and to ensure their health benefits, are, at the very least, maintained.

Although other staff groups have taken freezes, the tone of negotiations with other employee groups should not set the tone for faculty negotiations.

The financial stability of this university is a major reason this group should not see anything less than a cost-of-living pay increase; another is respect.

Without faculty, there would be no university. It is as simple as that. Without faculty members, every single operation at this university is null — they are the ones who teach the students, who conduct research with these students, who interact with, mentor and guide the students every day.

No other group save the Union of Teaching Faculty can say it is so integral to this university’s core purpose.

The faculty is essential personnel. They are not just cogs in the machine — alumni rarely congratulate the university on a spectacular job done by a senior officer, mostly because administrators work behind the scenes to ensure that primary experience is maintained.

While this board supports modest raises for the Faculty Association, it should be noted these raises should not come at additional expense of the students.

The faculty should not expect substantial pay increases. The goal is to keep them healthy and competitive, but also to keep priorities straight.

The FA president announced Tuesday the group would accept a pay freeze if tuition was frozen as well; this represents the FA as an agreeable and practical group. FA President Laura Frey said part of the reasoning it is willing to negotiate such a deal is to lessen the burden on students, showing its priorities seem to be in the right place.

Administrators discussed in April how integral it is to this university to maintain competitive rates for recruitment purposes, but it seems they are not practicing what they preach while demanding pay freezes of their employees. In order to attract and maintain a competitive faculty, it is necessary to give it competitive wages.

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