EMU-AAUP vs. Faculty Senate

A loyal EMUTalk reader emailed me this morning wondering why it is that Susan Moeller’s email to faculty on Friday (I include it with the “Continue reading” link) hasn’t generated more discussion on EMUTalk and elsewhere.  Speaking just for myself:  I was super-duper swamped Thursday and Friday last week with the day job, so my basic reaction to this reader’s question was “what email?”   So I just went back now and read it.

Yikes!

The short and non-technical version is that EMU-AAUP President Susan Moeller is strongly critical of the way the Faculty Senate tried to pass some resolutions against Provost Schatzel because she made associate provosts Jim Carroll and Rhonda Longworth permanent.  Here’s the paragraph in Moeller’s letter that jumped out at me:

The Senate President owes the Provost a public apology. In addition, it is imperative that everyone understands that the EMU-AAUP is the sole bargaining authority on the contract and the Senate President does not have the authority to interpret the contract. Contract language that is negotiated at the table is done so with specific intent; we must adhere to the intent of the agreement.

Again, yikes!

Here’s the whole letter:

Dear EMU Faculty:

As President of the EMU-AAUP, I am elected by the faculty at EMU and given the charge to make sure that the contract is followed by both the faculty and administration. Recently, the Faculty Senate issued a draft resolution to its members stating that the Provost would be in violation of the contract if she appointed Drs. Carroll and Longworth as permanent Associate Provosts. I believe it is my responsibility, as President of the EMU-AAUP, to set the record straight on this issue.

The Provost did not violate the contract, nor would she be by making these appointments. In fact, she followed the contract to the letter. On March 21st she approached the Senate in good faith to seek input on the permanent appointment of her interim Associate Provosts. The Senate provided ‘official’ input to her in a lengthy discussion during which many Senators spoke.

On April 4th , the Provost openly, and in great detail, explained that she had carefully considered Senate input before making her final determination. However, she did not agree with the input and was appointing Drs. Carroll and Longworth as permanent Associate Provosts. At this point, the Provost has met all contractual input requirements.

On April 16th , the President of the Senate sent a draft resolution, to be discussed during the April 18th Senate meeting, to all Senators. Many of the Senators shared the resolution with the faculty colleagues in their departments. As a result, even though the resolution was eventually tabled as factually incorrect, many faculty read it. I am concerned that the President of the Senate has chosen not to communicate with the entire faculty on this issue – to explain the false accusations made in the resolution, so I am doing it for him.

The draft resolution accused the Provost of violating the contract on the manner of input – this is not true; of violating EEOC requirements – this is not true (EEOC requires that EMU does not discriminate in its hiring practices – it does not require external searches); and of being unethical for not following EEOC requirements – which is not only untrue, but has absolutely no basis.

It is my opinion that the issuing of this draft resolution so broadly by the President of the Senate was a misuse of faculty trust, as this ultimately resulted in its being widely disseminated. The President of Senate must understand that our contract gives the faculty, through their representatives, input rights – not final authority. In academe, I believe we should be supportive of informed and intelligent debate on an issue; this occurred when the Provost listened and responded to the Senate’s input. The issues of contract violations or EEOC compliance were never discussed at the input meeting and had no basis of truth. Therefore, to send them after the fact in a draft resolution, accusing the Provost of not following EMU Procedure and Federal Labor Laws, was misleading and unfair.

At the Senate meeting on Wednesday, APRIL 18th , I asked to speak on this issue and was denied the opportunity to place my comments in the meeting minutes. Therefore, I feel it is my obligation to make sure the record is set straight regarding the appointments of the Associate Provosts to permanent positions.

The Senate President owes the Provost a public apology. In addition, it is imperative that everyone understands that the EMU-AAUP is the sole bargaining authority on the contract and the Senate President does not have the authority to interpret the contract. Contract language that is negotiated at the table is done so with specific intent; we must adhere to the intent of the agreement.

Finally, the Provost wrote a detailed response to the draft resolution to the President of the Senate. This has not been shared with the Senators. I urge the President of the Senate to do so. At the AAUP, we believe in due process for all our faculty members and grieve when faculty due process rights are violated. It would be hypocritical for us to not advocate for due process for everyone.

Please contact me with questions or you can contact your Faculty Senate representative.

Susan Moeller
EMU-AAUP President

2 Responses to EMU-AAUP vs. Faculty Senate

  1. My read on this is that the senate sounds out of line. At the very least, they shouldn’t be disseminating tabled resolutions. Second, the whole EEOC thing sounds misguided and ill-founded. Finally, how is anything to function here unless there are people to fill administrative slots?

  2. Dear Sitedad:

    I recently received a copy of the item from the Faculty Senate that started this. For fair and balanced coverage, I thought you might want to post it. Here it is.

    On the naming of permanent associate provosts
    Whereas: Eastern Michigan University publicizes itself as being an Equal-Opportunity Employer.
    Whereas: being an Equal-Opportunity Employer implies an open search process with criteria for selection posted and applications being invited.
    Whereas: Faculty Senate by-laws, which are part of the EMU-AAUP contract, list three broad areas of joint responsibility with the EMU administration: determining General Education Policy, Internal Operations, and External Relations. Under Internal Operations, the by-laws specifically list, “(f.) participate in the selection of academic officers at the level of Dean and above and (g.) advise the appropriate authority on retention of the above mentioned officers.”
    Whereas: The two Associate Provost positions are second only to that of Provost in the Division of Academic Affairs.
    Whereas: The current Interim Associate Provosts were appointed as interims with no open search process in conflict with the following Faculty Council resolution passed on 10/15/2008: “Faculty Council strongly objects to the practice of appointing interim administrators without an appropriate internal search. We suggest that a search committee be appointed, that the position be posted internally, and that candidates be screened according to the published criteria for the position.”
    Whereas: The Faculty Senate President sent the following to the Provost on March 29, “Because the Contract calls for written communication between the Senate and the Provost, I wanted to formalize the discussion at the Senate meeting on March 21st. The discussion clearly showed that the Senate feels there should be a search committee, including faculty representation, involved in the selection of permanent appointments to the offices of the Associate Provost/Associate Vice President for Research and Administration/Dean of the Graduate School and the Associate Provost/Associate Vice President for Academic Programming and Services.”
    Therefore be it resolved:
    1. The Faculty Senate strongly objects to the Provost’s proposal to convert the interim appoint of the two current Associate Provosts to permanent appointments and does not accept this process as meeting the contractual requirements for faculty input.
    2. The Faculty Senate does not accept this process as meeting ethical requirements for conducting full and open searches in meeting EMU’s stated policy of being an Equal-Opportunity Employer.
    3. The Faculty Senate recommends that the Provost continue with the current Interim Associate Provost appointments until fall when a full and open search can be conducted to fill these positions on a permanent basis.
    4. The Faculty Senate recommends that the EMU Board of Regents not approve the appointment of a permanent Associate Provosts until a full and open search is conducted.

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