E-Newsletter: December 2018

Editor:  Mary Gallucci 
UConn-AAUP Executive Committee


President’s Message – Tom Bontly

As 2018 fades into memory and we look forward to 2019, I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”.  The Reverend Dr. was certainly right about the length, but I wonder:  does the universe itself bend toward justice?  Or is it rather we who, with enough struggle, can bend it in that direction?

My view (and I suspect King’s) is that the latter is nearer the truth.  Without hard work, injustice persists and even spreads, sustained by institutions which, though facially neutral, preserve the status quo.  Consider, for instance, the rise and fall and rise of economic inequality in America:  throughout the 19th century, inequality grew until the labor movement with much struggle bent the economy toward justice.  And then it bent back.  With collective bargaining rights eroded since the 1970s, inequality has grown until we now find ourselves in a new Gilded Age.

Or consider gender equity.  Despite the Equal Pay Act of 1963, women are still paid less than men for the same work.  As Representative Derek Slap of West Hartford put it, “We tell our daughters they can be anything they want when they grow up, and if we’re honest we also warn them that it’s likely they will be unfairly paid their entire career.”  Having two young daughters myself, I felt those words like a punch to the gut.  And I rejoiced last May when our legislators pushed a strengthened pay equity law across the finish line.

But there is more work to do.  We at UConn-AAUP have been hearing increasing concern, not to mention frustration and outrage, about pay inequities among our own faculty.  To be sure, gender inequity is not the only issue.  Compression and inversion – the predictable consequences of market forces driving starting salaries up while pay freezes hold continuing salaries down – are also a growing concern.  But inequity based on gender or minority status is the more corrosive problem, perpetuating long-standing injustice and undermining the moral authority of the university.  It cannot be blamed on the remorseless workings of markets; this one is on all of us.

In 2012, UConn-AAUP commissioned a study by our colleague Lyle Scruggs (Political Science).  The final report, “An Analysis of Gender and Minority Pay Equity among AAUP Faculty Members at the University of Connecticut, 2003-2012”, is available on the UConn-AAUP website.  Even after controlling for all the usual variables, Scruggs found significant discrepancies in annual salary, starting salary, and merit pay award.

Since receiving the Scruggs report in 2013, UConn-AAUP has tried to address inequity and also compression/inversion through bargaining and other routes.  While negotiating our current contract, our team pushed for $1 million per year to address compression, inversion, and inequity.  The administration was unwilling to dedicate anywhere near that kind of money to the problem, nor did it share our priorities.  In the end, we had to compromise:  $300,000 per year “allocated to the Provost for making increases in base salary as he/she sees fit in order to retain faculty in the face of market competition, to address other salary disparities including but not limited to salary compression and inversion, to make equity adjustments, or recognize special achievement” (Article 19.9).  Thus far, unfortunately, the fund has gone mainly to retention bumps, which themselves tend to increase inequity.  In any case, $300,000 per year is not nearly enough to address the significant salary disparities we now see.

Pay equity problems are hardly unique to UConn, and other universities have addressed them in various ways.  Some schools have given women faculty members an across-the-board salary bump, while others have introduced more enlightened merit and hiring policies.  Still others have tried to ignore it, though increasingly at their peril.  In May 2018, for instance, the University of Denver agreed to pay $2.66 million to settle an unequal-pay lawsuit brought by seven female law professors.  “The Fates lead those who come willingly and drag those who do not,” as the Stoics once observed.

We have called upon successive Provosts to fund an updated report on pay inequity and are glad to hear that a new study may be in the works.  But good-faith efforts needn’t await further studies.  On the advice of UConn-AAUP’s Committee W, I urge the Provost to devote his fund henceforth to redressing inequity, inversion, and compression.  Money for retention bumps can be found elsewhere.

SAG Award Deadline

If you have not received any information from the Comptroller’s Office or the State Retirement Services Division on this, you are not eligible. The deadline for submitting paperwork for those that are eligible is December 14, 2018. Even if you are not transferring to the SERS or Hybrid plans from the ARP, you should fill out the form indicating you are staying in the ARP. Please follow the link to the form to fill out and remit to HR. https://hr.uconn.edu/sag-award-info-sessions/. The link to the form is on RSD’s website: https://www.osc.ct.gov/rbsd/arptransfer/disclaimer.htm

Storrs Campus Parking Issues

There will be major parking changes for the Fall 2019 on the Storrs Campus. The surface lots in the Northwest Quadrant will be taken off-line to prepare for the new science buildings and a power plant. The space will be replaced with surface parking across the street from the Innovation Partnership building on Discovery Drive. Look for details in the near future.

 Representative Assembly (RA)

Moustapha Diaby and Christine Kirchhoff are now Speaker and Vice Speaker of the Representative Assembly and have brought a fresh direction to the Assembly. Unfortunately, there are many departments that do not have a representative at these meetings. A list of departments without representations was sent to all department heads. Check to see who your department representative is as this person may have an important role in the next round of negotiations.

“The Assault on Gender and Gender Studies” – AAUP

In November 2018, AAUP approved a statement issued by a subcommittee of Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure and of the Committee on Women in the Academic Professions strongly condemning efforts by the Trump administration to narrow the definition of gender under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHSS) is attempting to define gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The Director of the Office of Civil Rights under the DHSS has written about the “dangers” of “gender ideology.”

The AAUP writes “[p]oliticians and religious fundamentalists are neither scientists nor scholars. Their motives are ideological. It is they who are offering ‘gender ideology’ by attempting to override the insights of serious scholars. By substituting their ideology for years of assiduous research, they impose their will in the name of a ‘science’ that is without factual support. This is a cynical invocation of science for purely political ends.”

Nominees for UConn-AAUP Annual Executive Committee Election 2019-2020

UConn-AAUP Chapter invites member nominations and self-nominations to stand for election to the UConn-AAUP Executive Committee.  We seek a wide diversity of UConn-AAUP members from different disciplines, points of view, and status of employment.  We seek members interested in standing for officer roles (President, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer), Regional Campus Representative, and Member-at-Large seats.  The term of service is for one year; for at-large members duties involve attendance at bi-weekly meetings.  Please respond by January 5, 2019, to the UConn-AAUP Office at UBox-6028, phone- 860-487-0450, or email- BarbaraK@uconnaaup.org.  For further information, please contact Chairperson Andrea Hubbard andreahubbard33@gmail.com.


2019 UConn-AAUP Excellence Awards

See our website for details www.uconnaaup.org.  Nominations & submission of materials will begin January 18, 2019.  Deadline is February 15, 2019 – No Exceptions.