Faculty union and SGA clash over salary raises

Emma Jarnagin, Staff Writer

The faculty union is asking for a raise which could potentially increase tuition, said SGA president Chris Petrillo.

United Academics, the faculty union at UVM,  negotiates its contract with the university every three years. The negotiations will determine whether or not they will get a raise, UA president Thomas Streeter stated in a Jan. 29 email.

UA is advocating for modest raises that can help keep salaries at UVM competitive, “so [faculty] do not leave UVM for institutions with better pay,” Streeter said.

Petrillo said the salaries UVM pays full-time faculty are on par with or above national averages.

The administration is now considering raising student fees to help pay for a proposed new $80 million dollar multipurpose center, Streeter said.

“As a student, would you rather your money go to keep good faculty and smaller courses, or to pay for a basketball stadium?” he said.

The argument UA is making about how the University spends money incorrectly is not fully valid, Petrillo said.

The money that comes for any sort of new building is from a foundation that raises money from private donations that are designated for specific things, he said.

“When receiving donations, the University does not say, ‘we’re going to build a new stadium, we’re going to short-change faculty,’” Petrillo said. “UA is comparing things that are incomparable.”

Sophomore Scarlett Moore disagrees, and said that Petrillo missed the point of the comparison.

“It’s saying that the priority of the University ought to be to invest in what directly impacts students education,” Moore said.

The administration sometimes wrongfully implies that if faculty gets raises, tuition will have to go up, Streeter said.

UVM could reduce costs of  marketing and administrator salaries which would allow the University to “keep tuition level or reduce it,” he said.

The most recent resolution of the UA contract was passed in 2016 by former SGA president Jason Maulucci and contains specific requests on how faculty should approach the publication of their syllabi and office hours, Petrillo said.

These resolutions are simple, he said. To his knowledge, there has been no progress made by UA on any of the requests.

Streeter met with SGA leadership last November and hopes they can meet again, he said.

If UA wants more money, they should be doing more for it, Petrillo said.

“They should be listening to our requests,” he said.