Faculty fear the effects of the proposed budget cuts and say that the budget proposal was made without their consent and without enough public disclosure of budgetary information.
According to associate professor of ethnic studies, Melinda Micco, and the rest of the faculty who have been working with the information they have, there is a need for more information. “We haven’t had all the budget information we would like, but we do have some of it,” she said.
In order to discuss their rights in the current budget climate, 27 faculty members met last week with the American Association of University Professors, general secretary Mary Burgan and associate secretary Marcus Harvey, to discuss their membership and rights in the current budget climate.
According to Burgan, “faculty are being stone-walled” in the current administrative culture. Burgan told faculty that institutional governance is currently a very hot topic in higher education, especially as colleges and universities come under financial stress. “Believe me, [in] state after state there is a real problem,” she added.
Director of the Public Policy program and professor of public policy, Emery-Roe said, “[faculty want] access to information and something comparable to co-management of reductions.”
Yet, according to Mary-Ann Milford, provost, there is no communication problem between the administration and faculty. Additionally, Milford said that faculty hold a large role in any decision. She said the budget cut proposal, which was made by the executive faculty committee, “is a faculty proposal. It came out of the faculty.”
“This plan has been evolving for some time. We had a discussion last Monday [and] there will be a discussion next Monday,” said Milford. “We realize that we have to make cuts of a certain amount and we understand that and that is what we are working towards. There is no secret about that at all.”
David Bernstein, professor of music, who organized the meeting at Mills, said that it was particularly important for faculty to be strong and remain involved in decisions. “We have been involved,” he said, “And are looking for as much information as possible. Its a very serious situation if you’re cutting majors.”
According to Burgan, problems can and will happen in times of crisis. However, there does not have to be a complete blackout of information.
“We would be very concerned if there were wholesale cuts without prior notice to faculty, but I’m sure that won’t be the case at Mills.”
“We face a very severe budget deficit, but we [faculty] don’t have enough information. We’ve received some, but we haven’t received all. These decisions are so harsh that we can’t be held responsible without all the information,” said Bernstein.