Professor to speak against Senate Bill 5

Anna Staver

Rick Mangrum, Kent State aeronautics professor, will travel to Columbus today to testify against Senate Bill 5 to a house subcommittee.

?He said he didn’t agree with the bill initially, but a recent amendment motivated him to volunteer to speak on behalf of Ohio university professors.

?“This new language makes it impossible for faculty members to have a say in university governance,” Mangrum said. “If you do anything except teach in a class, you can’t be in the bargaining unit.”

?Senate Bill 5 passed in the Ohio Senate on March 2, but before the 17 to 16 vote, Mangrum said the bill received a last-minute change.

?The added lines to SB 5 classify faculty members who participate in faculty senate and other similar organizations as management-level employees. Therefore, they would be unable to participate in collective bargaining.

?Kara Robinson, tenure track faculty union representative, said this would have a devastating impact on her division because so many union members serve on one or more of these organizations.

?She said professors would have to resign from all such organizations in order to stay in the union. However, she thinks even their ability to serve on those committees may preclude them.

?“The ability to have some input into the system is for the benefit of the university,” Robinson said. “But to be penalized because we have any input makes no sense.”

?Mangrum said he plans to speak about this amendment to the Ohio House of Representatives’ Labor and Commerce Subcommittee, where the bill is currently located for hearings. He said he hopes his fellow professors listen.

?“I’m not sure professors understand the wide-ranging impact of the bill,” Mangrum said. “They won’t be able to have any say on subject matter, even in their own curriculum, because at that point they become management.”

?Mangrum said the bill will receive several hearings while in the subcommittee and could potentially be amended before heading out to the full Ohio house for a vote.

?He said he hopes his visit to Columbus will convince subcommittee members to remove the amendment from the bill.

?He also plans to make them aware of administration salaries and their impact on university budgets.

?“The cost of administration has been significantly increasing over the last few years,” Mangrum said. “If the legislature is truly concerned about economics, then (they) would address this part of the problem.”

?Robinson said Tracy Laux, Kent State mathematical science professor, may travel down to Columbus tomorrow to speak as well. Laux hopes to join Mangrum on the list of those speaking out against SB 5.

Contact Anna Staver at [email protected].