Thursday, September 17, 2009

A message to UNLV faculty from the Nevada Faculty Alliance

Dear Colleagues

During last spring’s legislative session, we all played a part in the fight to save UNLV. We helped NSHE and UNLV reduce by a factor of about 2/3 the devastating cuts that the Governor had proposed, which would have meant the end of UNLV as we know it and would have led to a financial emergency for the institution which would have cost dozens if not hundreds of faculty their jobs.

That effort required the joint efforts of the System, the UNLV administration, our students and alumni, members of the community and by no means least, the UNLV faculty.

The NFA on a state level, and our UNLV chapter, engaged fully in defense of our System and our institution -- and moreover, in defense of faculty and pro-staff rights and protections under the System Code. We had active, forceful and responsible representation on the System’s ad hoc task force which developed recommendations to the Board of Regents on how to implement these budget cuts – and which, due in part to our efforts, avoided a declaration by the Board of financial exigency and suspension of the Code. And on campus, we have been actively involved in support of the Faculty Senate and administration's joint efforts to implement the budget cuts in a way that preserves our teaching and research mission.

Even with that effort, academic and administrative faculty have absorbed state-mandated furloughs that amount to cuts in pay and.or higher workloads for teaching faculty and administrative faculty (ie, pro-staff), while serving larger enrollments and greater service responsibilities due to the loss of over 200 total professional lines.

And looking forward, the situation is likely to get worse before it gets worse still ...a better financial situation in our state is a long ways off. Its looking increasingly likely that the Governor will seek this fall to implement further budget cuts and it is highly likely he will focus on further cuts in salary and benefits for public service workers, notably us. Only last week, interviewed on local channel 13 news, the Governor singled out public service workers in the state, saying he believed that compensation was not cut enough in the last legislative session. And that he felt not enough had been cut from education overall.

Its clear that our efforts of last spring were only the beginning of a long and difficult fight. And as faculty, only one organization speaks specifically on our own behalf, which is the Nevada Faculty Alliance.

So if you did not join last spring -- and our membership grew by more than a third last spring -- then now is the time to join the fight. We are continuing our half-priced dues offer for the first year of membership, so there is no better time to join.

As we return for the 2009-2010 academic year, the UNLV Faculty Alliance is preparing to be active on campus and within the System as well. As many of you know, the Chancellor's office will be conducting a review of the state’s funding formulas for its institutions of Higher Education, because as President Smatresk emphasized in his State of he University speech on Tuesday, "the current formula does not serve" its purpose.

So many faculty have expressed in the recent past an interest in these important issues, and have asked what they can do to be involved. And the answer is that we need to educate our Regents and our elected state representatives about the importance of this complicated, but crucial, issue. Joining the UNLV chapter of the NFA is the clearest way for faculty to express their concerns to the Board Regents and to the state legislators on these important issues.

In the coming year, our PAC will be considering candidates and endorsing candidates in a record number of races for Regent and state legislature due to the large number of open seats caused by resignations and term limits. Your membership in the NFA -- and as importantly, by checking off the box to make monthly contributions to the PAC on your membership form, will enable us to speak with a strong voice to our Regents and state legislators on issues of great importance to faculty.

Last year, our chapter elected a new and energetic chapter leadership – Al Izzolo (Hotel), John Farley (Chemistry), Sandra Owens (Urban Affairs), Wolf Bein (Engineering) and myself (Liberal Arts). This year we plan to build out a chapter Liason Committee. This committee will serve as a link between the membership and the executive committee, featuring at least one representative from each of UNLV’s colleges as well as representatives from constituencies of our membership – administrative faculty, non-tenure track academic faculty, part-time instructors, graduate student instructors, etc, and (we hope) various other faculty groups on campus. This committee will also include a member from the Faculty Senate executive committee. Committee members will also take charge of membership recruitment within their colleges or liason groups.

(If you are interested in serving on this committee, or would like to know who is your liason, please contact us at

Later this fall, once the Liason Committee is in place, we'll hold our fall membership meeting. But in the meantime, please get in touch and get involved. Continue to follow us on

Now is the time to join the UNLV Faculty Alliance.

In solidarity,

Gregory Brown

President, UNLV Faculty Alliance
Vice-President, Nevada Faculty Alliance
Co-Chair, NFA PAC

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