Faculty fret about job security, handbook

Money and jobs formed the crux of conversation during the latest Faculty Senate meeting. The monthly meeting was held Tuesday afternoon in Jacob T. Stewart.

Cuts were alluded to but no budget was shown.

The agenda slated Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Robert Dixon to present the Proposed Budget Reduction Plan for the 2009-2010 year.

An e-mail sent at 3:09 p.m. canceled his appearance and requested that the budgetary meeting be delayed a week to ensure that Dixon’s responses “will be more definitive.”

The meeting began at 5 p.m.

Budget cuts were supposed to the main presentation.

After reading the delayed e-mail, lengthy discourse ensued about the next topic.

Professors criticized the 81-page Faculty Handbook. It was revised April 8 by an undisclosed author.

It seemed that no one knew the whereabouts of the digital copy. So professors planned to manually copy and distribute the information.

Many expressed displeasure with the handbook appearing during Spring Break.

Though the book had not been read in its entirety, tenure and financial exigency were hot ticket items from glances at it.

The handbook states: “A full-time tenure-track appointment is … not to exceed one fiscal year … subject to non-reappointment requirements of the Board of Supervisors.”

On the next page it states: “Tenure does not guarantee a right to rank, salary, or work assignment.”

Financial exigency or a lack thereof wasn’t determined without the budget readily available.

A partial explanation of it stated: “If the Cabinet and Council of Academic Deans do not submit a [financial] plan, the President, … Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Finance shall exercise sole discretion in responding …”

Professors wondered if administrative discretion translated to at-risk employment. Mid-recession no one wants to approve a handbook that would make him or her a monetary martyr.

In the town hall meeting Wednesday night President Horace Judson implied that no faculty would be fired to solve budgetary dilemmas.

Also during the town hall meeting, Dixon stated that it wasn’t his intention to stand up the faculty the previous night.

Next week the Faculty Senate will meet with Dixon to discuss the budget and other concerns.