Friday, January 30, 2009

Join the fight to save UNLV. Join the Faculty Alliance

This is a message for all UNLV faculty and professional staff.

As you know, Governor Gibbons proposed a budget that, if passed, would mean the end of UNLV as we know it.

No institution could withstand a cut of 52%, especially one as chronically underfunded as UNLV. Even more dire is his proposals to cut faculty and staff salaries by 6%; to suspend all merit, promotion and COLA raises; to cut deeply our health care benefits, which would amount to a several thousand-dollar increase in out of pocket expenses for many of us; and to eliminate all state-sponsored health care benefits for those who retire after this year.

In the words of John Ralston the Governor's message to higher ed faculty was "go get a job where you're wanted."

But as you also know, the Governor has isolated himself from the legislature so thoroughly that this budget will not pass. Speaker Buckley made that clear in her response, and in a wide range of news stories this morning we read that leaders in both parties in the Senate have said that this budget is unacceptable.

While it is not clear what will happen instead -- it is very, very clear that this is the time for all of us to get involved and to make our voices heard on behalf of our institution, our students, our System, and ourselves.

The Nevada Faculty Alliance has been actively at work in preparation for this fight for months and now is the time to act. While our campus chapter has not been very visible for the past few years, its time to change that.

If you are upset by what the Governor has proposed, and if you want the state budget in the end to reflect different priorities, I'm encouraging you to join the fight by joining the NFA.

We need your help. To encourage you to get involved, NFA is offering a discounted dues structure to new members. A membership form is available online and can also be found in the upcoming number of the Alliance which should arrive in your mailbox later this month.

In the past many on our campus have felt that the NFA did not well represent UNLV. With others, I'm working hard to change that. I need your help. Please join, and please forward this message to your colleagues, including professional staff, and encourage them to join the fight as well.

Throughout the upcoming, pivotal legislative session, NFA members will receive regular updates and specific information to help you speak effectively to your state representatives. By joining the NFA, you'll be able to help make a real difference in the final outcome. Most legislators, including members of the Governor's party, know this budget is flawed and are looking for sound advice on what to do instead. The NFA has been and will be working hard to help them understand that such steep cuts to our salaries and benefits would drive away so many of our hardest-working and highest-qualified faculty ; we'll be working with the the System office and with other groups representing education and public employees to get the legislature to pass an alternative budget.

Anyone with questions about membership can contact me at or at (702) 580 - 7798.

Most importantly, don't give up and don't give in to mere frustration. What we need at the moment is clear, thoughtful leadership -- the Governor has not and cannot provided it, but we can and must demand it from the state legislators.

In solidarity,
Gregory Brown

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