Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We gave at the office. Literally.

According to today's Sun, Gov Gibbons met with some key legislators yesterday to discuss the budget and the prospect of a special session.

According to the story, the first item on the agenda was
to address the inequities in state government where some employees don’t have to take a furlough or a pay cut.

It was this moment that the UNLV Faculty Alliance had in mind when we opposed exempting grant-funded faculty from the workload increase and furlough implemented on all NSHE professional employees by the Board of Regents last spring, in response to the state's across-the-board furlough of state employees.

Some of our colleagues preferred to point out that some of our fellow state upblic service workers in other agencies, such as prison guards, K12 teachers, and state court staff were exempted. This is true, and if the Governor feels this is "unfair" and "to be addressed," thats not our affair to oppose or support.

But we can say now unambiguously, and with the data to back it up, that no one in the Nevada System of Higher Education has been exempted -- and that in addition to the steep cuts in our operating budgets, in our instructional materials, in our research resources, and in our support services for students -- we also all have contributed by working the same or more for less pay.

The NFA (as is the System, on a more comprehensive basis) is preparing the evidence -- data as well as personal stories -- of how this cut has impacted our work lives. Any faculty member who has a story about how the furlough or workload increase has imposed a hardship on your work life, to the detriment of our educational and research mission on behalf of the state, are encouraged to submit that to us at unlvfaculty@gmail.com.

So, Mr. Governor, if you feel -- as this story suggests -- that the problem of the state budget is a result of state public service workers not taking large enough pay cuts (a position we would dispute vigorously and empirically), then at the very least, your own principle of whats "fair" should compel you to agree that faculty are not the ones you can point fingers at now.

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