Tenured, NTT faculty differ on contract decision

Maria Nann

For the first time, only one faculty track – the tenure track – will be entering into contract negotiations with the university.

Contract negotiations is the bargaining process between the university and the faculty where they set the terms of their contracts. They include factors such as salaries, health care and benefits.

At the end of last semester, non-tenure track faculty members approved a university proposal that would provide for a one-year contract extension. The agreement, presented by the university in early April, offered a 3 percent salary raise, no increase in medical costs and, for the first time, domestic partner benefits.

Kent State’s Board of Trustees approved the agreement between the university and non-tenure faculty members June 2.

Tenure track faculty, however, voted down the same proposal and will be entering into negotiations with Kent State.

“(Domestic partner benefits) have been a high priority for AAUP for quite some time,” said Cheryl Casper, past president of Kent State’s branch of the American Association of University Professors. “We intend for that to be part of negotiations for the contracts.”

In the past, domestic partner benefits have been suggested as part of terms of faculty contracts, but have always fallen through during the negotiation process.

“I’d be very surprised if the university would be willing to keep benefits from members of the university that they have extended to other groups of employees,” Casper said.

AAUP will be negotiating for the faculty. Casper has been named as the head of AAUP’s negotiating team.

Also on the faculty’s negotiating team are Paul Abraham, associate professor of math at Kent State’s Stark branch; Jennifer Larson, professor of modern classical language studies; Kara Robinson, associate professor of library media studies; and Kathy Wilson, professor of economics.

Associate Provost Gayle Ormiston will be the chief negotiator for the university.

“The university would like to reach an early settlement,” Ormiston said . “We’ve agreed on a goal for doing so.”

On Kent State’s negotiating team are Ruth Capasso, associate dean at the Stark campus; Richard Rubin, director of the School of Library and Information Science; Mark Weber, dean of Library and Media Services; and Frederick Martone, director of University Benefits Office.

“We haven’t issued a press release,” Casper said, “but that’s probably one of the things we’ll be talking about. We’ve talked about sort of a joint announcement. But we haven’t agreed on it, yet.”

The negotiating teams will be meeting June 16. Casper said a press release could be released sometime after the session.

Contact principal reporter Maria Nann at [email protected].