Letter to the editor
Non-teaching staff integral to UWRF
November 5, 2009
We support Gretchen Link’s October 30 letter concerning a proposed referendum to redefine faculty status and restructure the UWRF Faculty Senate.
The proposed referendum is complex and confusing.
First, it removes faculty status for Non-Teaching Academic Staff. Second, it restructures Senate to appropriate two seats to Instructional Academic Staff, but removes the four seats currently allocated for Academic Staff in general.
Currently, those four seats are open to Non-Teaching or Instructional Academic Staff. Thus, the proposal appears to increase representation for Instructional Academic Staff but does not necessarily do so.
Instructional Academic Staff are currently eligible to serve on Senate. Furthermore, if Instructional Academic Staff want to increase their guaranteed representation by voting to have the two appropriated seats granted under the referendum, they also have to vote to exclude Non-Teaching Academic Staff from the Senate.
To be granted permanent status on “the island,” they have to kick others off. This is a structural flaw in the referendum.
Most people on this campus recognize that Instructional Academic Staff are increasingly shouldering the burden of the University teaching load and doing so under difficult working conditions. However, the best solution isn’t to disenfranchise the Non-Teaching Staff whose work is also integral to the UWRF Mission.
We are also frustrated by the process for this referendum. The petition was distributed with little public notice or information about its implications.
These are complex issues that require full disclosure. In light of this and the structural concerns, we feel the current referendum should be withdrawn. If this doesn’t happen, we encourage people to become fully informed about the referendum.
Campus listening sessions with informed debate about alternative governance structures would be very useful. As Gretchen noted, this is an opportunity to truly “Work Together and Stand Apart.”
Associate Professor of Psychology
Faculty Senate liaison to the Academic Staff Council