Faculty legal group seeking attorney’s opinion of 12-month requirement at reduced pay.
By Bleah B. Patterson
The Alamo Community College District Faculty Legal Association has referred a recent memo, suggesting faculty may soon be asked to sign 12-month contracts or risk termination, to their attorney.
The group met Monday and its president, math Professor Gerald Busald, presented the memo to the district board of trustees Tuesday night in the citizens-to-be-heard portion of the August meeting.
“The memo originated through the PVC (a committee of college presidents and district vice chancellors),” Celita DeArmond, president of the San Antonio College chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said.
The associate vice chancellor in charge of the district’s human resources department was unavailable for comment, and The Ranger has not been able to make contact with any presidents of vice chancellors present at the PVC meetings.
According to the memo, “Faculty will be notified at the beginning of fall 2014 for the upcoming 2014 (to) 2015 academic year, plus a contract for summer 2015 for 12 workload units at the established rate of 130 (percent) of the effective Adjunct Faculty rate.”
The previous rate was approved by the board in 2012 for faculty who teach in the summer on a voluntary basis. It represented a cut in pay from the previous summer rate that paid a pro rata portion of their full-time salary.
Busald said the faculty he represents through the legal association believe it is unjust to require faculty to work at less than full salary.
“Our members have expressed a concern. Nonmembers are also upset,” Busald said. “The reason for cutting the summer pay was because it was not a requirement. Now we’re being forced and it just seems unfair. If we really need the faculty, and I know many departments do, they need to be paid at our regular rate. And a threat to fire those who don’t sign the contract seems a bit dire.”
Busald also seeks clarity to the memo, which reads, “By the end of the 2014 fall term, the faculty member will indicate a commitment to the 12-month employment need. If a member choses not to commit to 12-month employment beginning in Fall 2015, the faculty member may choose to teach a partial load at 130 (percent) of the effective Adjunct Faculty rate in summer 2015 and will be acknowledging (they) will no longer be in a faculty position beginning fall 2015.”
Busald said the memo is vague and doesn’t make the administration’s intentions clear.
Busald of his presentation to the board, “My suspicion is the board doesn’t even know about this.”
The student trustee, Jacob Wong, serving since May 1, and newly elected trustee, Clint Kingsbery who was sworn in June 21, were unaware of the contract.
“I heard from it through different faculty sources on Friday, but that’s the first time I heard of it,” Kingsbery said.
“It’s not my place to speak for the board, since during citizens to be heard, was the first time we, as a board, heard about it,” he said.
“Personally though I want to do everything I can to find out what it means and what’s going on. I want to see what (the board) can do to alleviate the concerns. It’s not reasonable to ask this of (the faculty), nor to tell them they could be fired if they don’t agree,” Kingsbery said.
“We are worried,” Busald told the board of trustees, “And we’re having our attorney review (the memo) because there’s word going around that this may only apply to some nursing counselors and possibly library and counselors. However, the way this reads the policy could apply to all faculty, and there’s nothing to keep this from expanding. The faculty legal association asks the trustees to be aware and rethink this.”