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President Barchi, Facts Are Stubborn Things

Submitted by Staff on Mon, 12/01/2014 - 16:42

Before Thanksgiving, President Barchi made comments in the Daily Targum and at a Town Hall meeting disputing financial data about Rutgers’ budget that the faculty and staff unions unearthed at our Open the Books event last spring. President Barchi not only claimed that the $600 million in Rutgers’ unrestricted funds doesn’t exist, but he also disparaged the accountant who presented the information as “an outside economist that the unions brought in.”

Let’s set the record straight. The source of the information about Rutgers’ $600 million in unrestricted funds (see page 24 of the full report by Dr. Howard Bunsis) is not the union; it came from Rutgers’ management who reported this money to the federal government’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, IPEDS. As for the accountant, Dr. Howard Bunsis not only has a B.A. in Accounting from the Wharton School, but he holds advanced degrees from the University of Chicago and Fordham; he is one of the nation’s leading accounting sleuths for public universities and is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the National AAUP.

We take it as a tacit compliment to our faculty's and graduate student workers’ increasing activism that after seven months of publicizing the facts about Rutgers’ budget, management is now compelled to pay attention.

In addition, at the Town Hall meeting on November 20, President Barchi responded to students’ concerns about the lack of fair contracts for faculty and staff by attempting to pit us against each other. He implied that rising tuition was due to faculty and staff and said that for every 1 percent increase in salaries, there must be a 1 percent increase in tuition.

Yet even during the years when unionized faculty, TA-GA, and staff salaries were unilaterally frozen by the administration, the BOG continued to impose tuition and fee increases on students. For example, in-state tuition was raised 2.5% in 2012, 3.3% in 2013 and 2.3% in 2014. Our faculty’s salaries do not account for the financial burden placed on our students.

We're happy to inform you that undergrad student activists aren't buying the divide-and-conquer strategy and plan to stand with us at our final action of the semester, an indoor lunch rally, Tuesday, December 9, 12pm. That day we’ll have the attention of political figures and the Board of Governors. Elected officials throughout the state and prominent alumnae, including Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Junot Díaz, are standing with us. They have signed onto a solidarity statement with Rutgers labor, including U.S. Senator Cory Booker, State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, and State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg.

We need all of you to join us Tuesday, December 9, 12pm and speak truth to power.

RSVP to aaup@rutgersaaup.org for Tuesday, December 9 from 12 noon - 2 pm. Lunch will be provided. If you can, please stay for the entire action, but let us know if you can only do one part:

  • Rally/Lunch from 12-1pm in the Multipurpose Room, Rutgers Student Center, College Ave Campus, New Brunswick
  • Pack the BOG meeting in Winants Hall from 1-2pm, Old Queens, 7 College Ave, New Brunswick

 

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