Negotiations persist with no end in sight

Megan Wilkinson

The Kent State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors informed tenure and tenure-track professors of the state of their contract negotiations Thursday.

Professors who attended the meeting reported that they are still working under old contracts and that negotiations are running behind schedule.

Why should I care?

If negotiations aren’t resolved or revised soon, the quality of new Kent State faculty might not be as sound.

What is shared governance?

Governance defines the role of faculty in the life of the university alongside administration. Elasticity determines the voice and role a faculty member is allowed in constructing curriculum, academic standards, hiring, promotion and tenure.

Negotiations began on July 20, 2011, but faculty members remain uncertain of how much longer the discourse will last. Professors say they are frustrated that things aren’t moving forward.

“I thought things were moving faster than they are,” said David Smeltzer, associate professor of journalism and mass communication. “But the negotiations are moving at a glacial pace.”

About 30 to 50 faculty members attended the meeting, in and around their respective teaching schedules. The meeting was open to members of the AAUP and to faculty from all branches of Kent State University.

Though many professors are concerned with the current negotiations, they say they don’t foresee a strike anywhere in the immediate future.

“We are the lifeblood of the university, as professors, so shared governance is a very important issue,” said a professor of the College of

Technology, who wishes to remain unnamed. “We are the ones here who train students, do research and keep this huge organization going. If we can get to an agreement with the administration for shared governance, this will be a win-win situation.”

Contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected].