AAUP awaits decision from vote

Bethany Jones

Results of a ratification vote on a proposed new faculty contract should be known by this afternoon.

Ballots from members of the American Association of University Professors, the union representing faculty members, are due back at noon today.

Cheryl Casper, professor of economics and Kent State chapter president of the AAUP, said that ballots can be brought to the AAUP office located at 1100 E. Summit St. until then.

Casper said that many ballots have already been returned.

Ballots will be counted by the Nominations and Elections Committee, headed by Tish Soper, assistant professor of accounting technology at Kent State Salem branch and chair of the committee.

The ballots were mailed to members about two weeks ago. Envelopes were signed by AAUP members to verify only union members submitted them, Soper said. Envelopes will be discarded, and ballots will remain confidential, she said.

Verification on returned ballots will start before the noon deadline, said Soper, and ballots will be counted as soon as they are verified. Ballots will be counted twice and then compared with the number of envelopes, she said.

Results will be released later today.

“I’ve done the counting for the fact-finders agreement, which was back last November; normally it takes at least two hours,” she said.

Soper said that Faculty Senate Chair Tom Dowd has been asked to observe as ballots are counted. A newsletter released by the AAUP-KSU Action Committee last week said that if the tentative agreement is rejected by the AAUP membership, a strike may be an option if further negotiations are not reached. Only members of the union can authorize a strike, it said.

Soper said that there is an executive committee meeting scheduled at 11 a.m. and an AAUP Council meeting at 1:30 p.m. Thursday if the contract negotiation is rejected. The AAUP Council has representatives from individual faculty departments.

If the agreement is accepted, the Board of Trustees would have to meet and approve it, said Casper. The parties will basically have a new contract, which would need to be drafted, she said.

Casper declined to comment on her expectations of the ballot results.

Ron Kirksey, executive director of University Communications, said, “We’re waiting for the results just like everyone else.”

Contact academic affairs reporter Bethany Jones at [email protected].