BOR proposals ‘stink,’ says faculty
Ellis McGinley – Copy Editor
CSU-AAUP, the faculty union for the four state universities, held a rally on the Buley Patio April 21, protesting recent contract proposals between the union and the Board of Regents.
The rally featured protesters with handmade signs, speakers from both the four universities and local non-profits and a giant inflatable skunk. Students were invited to take selfies with “Skunkzilla,” who had his own sign: “BOR Proposals Stink!!!”
The BOR and the CSU-AAUP negotiate university contracts every four years. The BOR is a government body of volunteers tasked with overseeing the CSUs: the CSU-AAUP represents university professors and faculty.
Under the BOR’s contract proposals, CSU professors’ course loads would increase to five classes per semester, giving them the heaviest course load in the country.
The average course load for a professor in the United States is three.Reverend Scott Marks, founder of New Haven Rising and a speaker at the rally, said “Connecticut State University and College systems is a powerful engine to change the maps of segregated development.
The faculty and staff are core to this success.”Dr. Shelly Jones, a professor from Central Connecticut State University who spoke at the rally, said she specializes in teaching “culturally relevant pedagogies” to future educators.
Jones said, “I get to know each and every one of my students. That means when they become teachers, they get to know their students in authentic ways.”
“As faculty, we get to know our students through teaching and advising. The BOR seems to make decisions based on spreadsheets, not students,” said Jones.“Students Not Spreadsheets” was depicted on both flyers for the event and posters held by participants.”
“We need the BOR to adequately fund higher education so that our students continue to receive a quality education and so that there is equity for all students in the state of Connecticut,” Jones said.
The rally ended early due to severe thunder and lightning, which interrupted a speaker. Professors have encouraged students to write to their state legislators and senators about the contract proposals.
CSU-AAUP president Dr. Patty O’Neill wrote her own open letter to students, in which she has also included a petition which friends, family, alum, and current students can sign in support of the union.
Earlier this semester, 13 Connecticut senators also signed a letter to BOR Chairman Matt Fleury, saying “in these proposals, we see a clear threat to the working conditions of educators whose expertise and dedication have built the reputations of the State Universities as accessible institutions where working- and middle-class students receive an excellent education.”
The union also proposed the formation of a task team which would research the possibility of a “comprehensive childcare consortium,” according to a newsletter sent out by the CSU-AAUP.
According to the newsletter, the proposal received objections on the grounds that the union does not represent students and other staff, who could want to use the childcare center, and it would be too expensive.
It also stated that BOR Chief Negotiator Andy Kripp said, “centers are educational centers, not drop to shop,” regarding how the centers may be used.
The BOR has also presented proposals which, according to the newsletter, may threaten tenure, tenure-track positions, and objections to proposals regarding a revision of Article 3, which concerns sexual harassment in workplaces.
“I’ve been hearing that some people are staying neutral with what’s happening with the BOR’s proposals against our faculty, staff and students. Now, some people don’t understand.
They think it’s about pay,” Joshua Cam, a Southern student who transferred from Norwalk Community College, said. “There are students here. They wouldn’t be here for no reason. They wouldn’t be here just for pay. It’s more than just that.” Cam said, “you can’t stay neutral on a moving train.”