LTE: Responding to the latest UA articles

Letter to the Editor

Dear Cynic editors,

Thank you for supporting “faculty efforts to raise salaries” and for the two pieces in this week’s Cynic related to United Academics.

Both pieces try to summarize UA’s position by pointing to a few numbers in an ad, without any discussion of the hour and a half long forum that the ad invited them to.

This is truly judging a book by its cover. The ad was an invitation, not an analysis, and certainly not a “campaign.” It came with question marks, not accusations.

Those who attended the forum learned, for example, that the administration has publicly proposed to increase mandatory student fees to service the debt that would have to be raised to break ground on the proposed multipurpose center, and that perhaps 30 percent of the $80 million cost of the center could be expected to be covered by private donors, while the rest probably would be paid for with a mix of things like income from some of the events at the center, and if needs be, general funds, most of which comes from tuition.

Long sentence, I know. It wouldn’t fit on an ad. But it gets you much closer to the truth. Bottom line is that money will come out of students’ pockets.

Digging a little deeper might also have revealed that the ad did not say that UA is asking for a one percent raise.

As we put it in a statement on UA’s website that has been up since November, “During the process of mediation, it looked like the distance between both sides might be less than a one percent salary increase. Our estimate of the cost of a one percent raise is about $600,000. With 44.2 percent fringe added, that comes to $853,200, similar to the administration’s estimate of $900,000.”

That is the context of that number on the poster.

With more space, I could go on: UA is not confusing the difference between one time and ongoing expenses. Faculty raises do not need to raise tuition.

It is not true that there is no response to students concerns about timely information about courses in the contract. Detailed explanations of all those and more were available at the forum, on the website, or by contacting me, but the Cynic chose to ignore them.

We look forward to more thorough, informed discussions of these complex matters in the future.


Thomas Streeter

Prof. of Sociology and President of United Academics