Tomorrow (Wednesday), our union will stand with our staff and faculty colleagues, our students, and our community at an 11:30 a.m. outdoors speakout before the Board of Governors meeting—and during the virtual 1 p.m. public comment section of the BoG meeting. We hope all of you who can make it will be in person in Camden to raise your voices (gather in front of Campus Center at 326 Penn St.). Click here to sign up to attend and to speak at the speakout or ask a question at the BoG meeting.
We know many of you are teaching or in the lab or libraries during that time. But you can still tell the Board of Governors what you think virtually. Post on social media about the issues that you think need to be addressed at our university. Watch the BoG open session (click here for the Zoom link) and make your own comments online. Use the hashtag “#RUListening?” Share and retweet the photos, videos, and quotes from the speakout on the union’s Facebook page and Twitter page.
We have a lot to say to the governors—and if you want to brush up on the facts before tomorrow, we’ve included an “Issues at a Glance” section below, with links to useful articles and resources. But our in-person and virtual presence tomorrow is also about talking to each other—and reaching people beyond our ranks. At the speakout, we’ll be able to talk to Rutgers-Camden students, whose education depends on whether we together challenge the administration’s upside-down priorities. And everyone in our union needs to stand with our Camden colleagues, who have suffered the brunt of inequalities and lack of resources (the most recent case in point: management’s insulting mishandling of the pay equity program).
Please raise your voices tomorrow if you possibly can. Be in Camden in person for the speakout at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. Sign up to make a comment during the 1 p.m. open session of the Board of Governors meeting. Post your thoughts on social media throughout the day.
This is OUR university. All of us—faculty, students, staff, and the community—should have a voice in how it’s run. The Board of Governors needs to listen to us.
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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Issues at a Glance
Pay Equity: Initial decisions in the groundbreaking salary equity program show the administration shortchanged over 100 faculty members by at least $750,000 and probably close to $1 million in all, according to faculty experts who analyzed the first round of decisions. The reduction in salary adjustments in the initial decisions hit Camden faculty the hardest; they had by far the lowest average salary adjustments of all campuses, despite long-standing and acknowledged pay gaps for Camden faculty.
Health and Safety: Rutgers’ COVID testing program registered a significant rise in positive tests during the first month of the new semester, but there is no telling if the Delta variant is spreading in asymptomatic vaccinated individuals because the administration hasn’t responded to calls for surveillance or even supplemental testing. Regular testing of vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike is necessary to protect our families and communities.
Campus Inequities: Rutgers-Camden has struggled under drastic financial restrictions imposed by the administration. At one point last year, any non-grant-related expenditure greater than $500 required direct approval of the university’s Chief Financial Officer. Administrators justify these restrictions on the basis of a supposed budget deficit of $30 million (caused by the unfair RCM budgeting system). Yet Rutgers Athletics lost well over twice as much in a single year, and there are seemingly no restrictions on the athletics program’s spending.
Graduate Funding Extensions: Under pressure from negotiations in the spring, the administration agreed to a program to extend funding for some graduate students whose studies and research were disrupted by the pandemic. But the program is restricted to a minority of graduate students. There is no reason for such limitations, especially given the recent revelation that Rutgers has not spent the bulk of the $365 million it received in federal and state COVID relief funds.
Rutgers Athletics Finances: Recent media coverage has exposed the financial mess of the Rutgers athletics program and the lengths to which the university’s top administrators went to hide the scale of the problem. Not only was Rutgers Athletics allowed to accumulate a quarter-billion-dollar debt, but the administration failed its obligation to be transparent about finances at a public institution. That’s probably no surprise given the absurd expenditures uncovered in today’s Daily Targum investigation, including $12,400 for a power nap machine. Students, their parents, faculty, and staff deserve an open, honest discussion about whether we should keep paying the huge price of subsidizing a money-losing athletics program.