Raising contract awareness

Rachel Abbey

Faculty informs future students about issues

Light green fliers informed prospective students and their parents of the contract dispute between the university and the Kent State chapter of the American Association of University Professors during Academic Discovery Day yesterday.

Faculty members walked among the informational tables, giving fliers to passers-by in a quiet attempt to raise awareness about the dispute. Others just kept a stack on the department’s table.

“We’re not trying to make Kent State University look bad as an educational institution,” said physics professor Michael Lee, chair for the AAUP/action committee.

Instead, the union n hoped to raise awareness of the contract dispute to people both on- and off-campus, Lee said. This includes prospective students, their parents, current students and faculty members.

The university has not accepted the faculty’s collective bargaining agreement, which the AAUP has deemed to be a legal contract. Both parties have filed motions and counter motions with the State Employment Relations Board, but no decisions have been made by the organization.

Prospective students have the right to know the environment of the university before they attend, said economics professor Cheryl Casper, AAUP president.

For example, she said, it’s important for them to know that while they may think they are paying high tuition, professors are not receiving large raises. The collective bargaining agreement requests a 2-percent increase for faculty salaries, which university administrators have already received, Casper said.

Students are the faculty’s No. 1 priority, Lee said, and the dispute distracts from more directly student-related issues. The union still hopes the university will accept the agreement. The action committee plans to hold more events to raise awareness in the near future, Lee said.

Contact academics reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].