Takeaway: We’ve published a four-page pdf titled “The Rutgers Budget Swindle: Everything You Need to Know about RCM” to help you understand how management is using the budget process to impose its corporate-centered priorities. If you’re a faculty member in SAS-New Brunswick, sign this petition to put layoffs and faculty governance on the SAS faculty meeting agenda on Monday, December 14.
Have you ever been baffled by management’s RCM system for making financial decisions? Are you wondering if the outcome is really as bad for academics as it seems to be in your department? Maybe you’ve never heard of RCM and aren’t sure if you need to know about it?
Our union has a new resource: a four-page explainer titled “The Rutgers Budget Swindle: Everything You Need to Know about RCM” (you can also read it on our website). The explainer came out of union meetings where participants asked for a “cheat sheet” to better understand RCM (which stands for “Responsibility Center Management”), given its role in helping administrators to implement austerity. We hope you’ll take some time to read it.
Under RCM, management takes a portion of the revenue generated (through tuition, grants, etc.) in the parts of the university that do the teaching and research and spends it however they wish, without accountability and mostly in secret. Meanwhile, everyone else is forced to fight over what’s left. Departments are under constant pressure to make cuts and shortchange academic priorities to balance their budgets after losing a hefty share off the top through RCM. Faculty, grad workers, staff, students—we all suffer the consequences.
Hopefully, our explainer will help you understand more precisely how management works this swindle. Ultimately, though, RCM is just a budgeting tool. The deeper problem is management’s corporate-centered priorities and principles that warp every aspect of financial decision-making. In theory, RCM could be altered to work more fairly. But the greater challenge for us is to stop Rutgers from being run as a business—and refocus the university on its core mission of teaching, research, and service.
We hope you’ll read “The Rutgers Budget Swindle” and share it with colleagues and friends.
And if you’re a faculty member in SAS-New Brunswick, you’ll know our members have launched a petition to get layoffs and faculty governance on the agenda of the SAS meeting on Monday, December 14, at 10 a.m. We want to respond to Executive Dean Peter March’s rejection of a faculty resolution protesting layoffs and cuts that passed by an overwhelming margin in October. SAS-NB faculty members: if you haven’t already, please sign this petition now.
Todd and Becky
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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Read how Rutgers AAUP-AFT is confronting the crisis here.