University of California faculty are planning a one-day walkout on September 28 to protest the UC administration’s “program of tuition hikes, enrollment cuts, layoffs, furloughs, and increased class sizes that harms students and jeopardizes the livelihoods of the most vulnerable university employees.”
Faculty across the county are smarting at a new report showing administrative salaries, already far higher than most faculty salaries, are also rising at a higher rate.
According to the annual Higher Education Price Index, reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Administrative salaries rose by 5.4 percent, up from 5 percent a year earlier; fringe-benefit costs went up by 3.6 percent, down from 5.5 percent in the previous year.
Salaries for faculty members rose by 3.4 percent, down from the previous year’s rate of 4.1 percent.
And at UH, Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw is pushing ahead with plans for program cuts and consolidations, according to an update distributed via email yesterday.
Among the proposed actions that could lead to faculty and staff layoffs:
• Provide ready access to high demand core courses by eliminating low demand courses, certificates, and majors: a number of specific examples with low enrollments were identified in the VC recommendations and supported by the committee. Continue to evaluate identified certificates that require faculty time but are not well subscribed.
• Ensure intellectual critical mass by consolidating majors/programs. The committee supported maintaining the Marine Option Program through a merger with Marine Biology to strengthen both programs and improve administrative efficiency. NOAA has also generously provided resources to support this endeavor.
• Merge smaller units with larger, related schools/colleges to strengthen impact and economize on administration. The committee supports the reconsolidation of the School of Travel Industry Management with Shidler College of Business to enhance UH Mânoa?s service to the tourism industry in Hawai?i and strengthen the impact of TIM?s significant ties to the business economy.
•Streamline administration by reorganization/merger of units, common activities, and schools/colleges, including closure of small units whose services and ctivities could be accomplished by existing units.
Several proposals also would lead to higher student costs.
• Explore differential tuition rates for professional schools as in
• Determine appropriate campus fees to match actual costs.
The UH Professional Assembly, which represents faculty throughout the UH system, has identified retirements as a potentially significant source of savings.
According to a summary prepared by the union, there are 693 faculty eligible to retire (age 62 and above with at least 10 years of service). Of that number, 345 have been at UH for 30 years or more. There are an additional 332 faculty members between the ages of 55 and 61 with at least 20 years of service.
This points to a significant number of retirements over the next five years, and the union believes retirement incentives could create major savings in the short term.
Salaries of those 62+ eligible to retire total just under $70 million annually, while the total salaries of those 55-61 are over $32 million.
Governor Lingle has so far failed to include retirement incentives among the available ways of achieving cost savings. It isn’t clear whether UH officials are taking them into account.
I recall writing sometime back: “Will the real Linda Lingle please stand up!”
Now I’m back with the same question. Lingle is now blaming a “lack of political leadership” for the demise of the Hawaii Superferry, according to a story in Pacific Business News.
Of course, she doesn’t mean the lack of leadership of her own administration. Once again, it’s always others at fault, in her view. Forget her administration’s decision to circumvent the law, forget their refusal to heed warnings from within that routine environmental procedures were being ignored, forget those pesky Supreme Court rulings.
PBN quotes the governor:
“There were consequences for the political leadership here not stepping up and coming out strong and saying, ‘We need this. If there were steps that weren’t followed, let’s get that handled; but we’re for this alternative for our people.’ ”
If Lingle had reacted as she proposes here, we might have been spared a lot of grief. Instead, her administration said, “If there were steps that weren’t followed, pretend they really were followed, or loudly say that they weren’t required, and then claim we’re doing everything possible.”
The governor’s actions, in my view, speak louder than Lingle’s words.