Faculty demonstrates against university outside showcases in Warriner Hall, Music Building
The university’s alleged position table is a “regression” and “insult” for faculty member contracts, faculty members said at demonstrations today.
The university reportedly offered a pay freeze for all faculty, a 15- to 20-percent reduction in health contributions and removal of department chairs, coaches and librarians from the Faculty Association.
The demonstrations took place outside the Music Building and Warriner Hall, coinciding with the colleges of Business Administration and Communication and Fine Arts showcases for prospective students. At 8:30 a.m., four people were outside the Music Building and 15 outside Warriner Hall demonstrating.
Heather Polinsky, broadcasting and cinematic arts professor, participated in the demonstrations.
“What we’ve been offered is a regression,” she said. “They’re trying to break up the union.”
Charles Vonder Embse, a mathematics professor, said the proposed contract was the worst he had ever seen as a faculty member.
“There’s no university without faculty and students,” he said. “We want a fair contract, one that helps us recruit new faculty, so we have the best and brightest in Michigan ... the offer was an insult.”
A key issue for Vonder Embse is the removal of chairpersons from the bargaining unit, a move he said would devalue the strength of the Faculty Association.
“The chair is supposed to be a representation and extension of the faculty,” he said. “If you take them out, that is a huge loss.”
Ron Primeau, English language and literature professor, said the offer was the worst he’s seen in 40 years as an employee. He also called the offer an insult.
He said while he has great respect for University Provost Gary Shapiro and University President George Ross, previous provosts and presidents have worked with the faculty during contentious negotiations and the attitude from current administrators is unprecedented.
Some of the parents of prospective students said they were unimpressed with the demonstration outside Warriner.
Imlay City resident Misty Miramonti came with her daughter and said the state of the economy is probably responsible for the university not meeting the faculty’s demands.
“I haven’t had a raise in four years,” she said. “It’s the economy ... everyone is being affected.”
Mount Pleasant resident Julie Freeze’s daughter was also looking at the College of Business Administration.
Freeze said the demonstrators “were not a positive influence” in convincing her to send her daughter, a junior in high school, to CMU.
“I’m not a union supporter," she said.