RIT AAUP JANUARY 12, 2007: 1:00-2:00 P.M.

Officers in attendance: Pres T. Policano; VP J. Naud; Tres J. Aumer; Sec V. Serravallo

I.  Unofficial Retirement Policies?

The Chapter was informed of one-on-one, private meetings between selected (older) faculty members and department chairs in one college regarding apparently unofficial retirement policies. 

Discussion:  Was there pressure to accept what appears to be a buyout?  What, if anything, should be done at both the individual and Institute level?  At the individual level, the faculty member should attempt to negotiate the terms (e.g., allowing for adjunct teaching).  The terms of the reported policy may be favorable to the faculty.  Whether beneficial or not to the faculty, the policy should be officially announced and open to faculty input.  The Chapter will monitor this; Institute faculty should keep us informed through the various channels (Chapter website forums, monthly meetings, individual e-mail, etc.)

II.  February 9th AAUP Social at MacGregor’s

Friday February 9, 4-6pm.  As usual, appetizers, broadly defined, will be provided.  This will be a good opportunity to wish bon voyage to former Treasurer Worman.  All Institute faculty are welcome.

III.  AAUP List Serve

Chapter officers will review the AAUP list serve and discuss its merits during the March Chapter meeting and consider an announcement to the Institute faculty. To join the list serve people can self-subscribe by sending a blank email to aaup-general-join@lyris.aaup.org. For example this news tidbit was shared on Feb 1st:

* IN HIS 2008 BUDGET to be released on Monday, President Bush plans to call for raising the maximum Pell Grant award by nearly 14 percent, or $550, next year, the biggest one-year jump in the award for low-income students in more than three decades, the secretary of education, Margaret Spellings, announced this afternoon.

--> SEE http://chronicle.com/free/2007/02/2007020107n.htm

IV.  Rankism at RIT

While Staff Council has conducted a survey, it has not announced the results, and currently there is no Institute dialogue on the issue.

Discussion:  Is rankism to be understood as a feature of abusive individual faculty members and administrators, or is it institutionalized, or is it both?  While individual abuse certainly persists, the institutionalized relations of power greatly favor administration and faculty regardless of how respectful individuals are. 

What is the AAUP’s role in this?  The Chapter has already successfully contributed to by recommending to Academic Senate that RIT develop an upward appraisal process with probation for a supervisor getting a vote of no confidence, a process that includes assessment of staff relations with faculty and administrators.  The Academic Senate Faculty Affairs Committe has been charged to explore such a policy. For those identified as being abusive sensitivity training is one possible response.  We should recognize that RIT had already taken an important step toward instituting a process for reporting abusive conduct by establishing an Ombuds Office before the AAUP Academe article Class Issues Outside the Classroom (Sept-Oct, 2006) was published.

V.  Proposed Benefits Changes

Spurred by the AAUP Chapter, a volunteer committee of faculty members continues to meet with RIT Human Resources.  As a result, the language that refers to action deemed “detrimental to RIT” will be eliminated.  Grievance and appeal processes for the already retired and those currently employed are being worked out.  The Chapter officers expressed their strong appreciation for the work of the volunteer members.  Their work also indicates the growing success of the Chapter’s hard work in creating and exercising joint effort for a better Institute.

VI.  RIT-AAUP Fundraising

During the March meeting we should discuss ideas for fundraising.  These funds are used for regular operating expenses, such as auxiliary travel expenses to AAUP state and national conferences, the Chapter socials, and Chapter website maintenance.

respectfully submitted 2/5/07 by V Serravallo, Revised 2/7/07