Voiding faculty contracts by “vote”


I believe the sleaziest part of our higher education system is the community college. Yes, the “for profit” schools are arguably close, but I’m a firm believer in integrity, so I give the for-profit sector some slack for making their decisions with profit, and nothing else, in mind.

Community colleges, on the other hand, are often indefensible in their looting of the student loan (and grant) dollar. Time and again I’ve seen admin rake in the money while shortchanging students at every opportunity. Most particularly obnoxious to me is when a Poo-Bah finally is tossed from campus for excessive plundering. Ok, the tossing is fine, I’m happy with that, but what infuriates me is the golden parachute the Poo Bah receives in addition to his plundering.

“We have to give him severance, because we’re breaking his contract!” says the trustees, and this assertion silences the local papers…but I find it weak. We’ve had community colleges for well over a century now, it really seems by now someone could have figured out how to put in a “we won’t give you an extra million dollars if we catch you stealing” clause in the employment contract.

Adding to my fury of how community colleges operate is the hypocrisy. The vast bulk of community college faculty are paid almost nothing, even as the rulers of the school screech about how precious having an education is. The students there are trained in feminism, communism, and racism…and then turned out into a world which really doesn’t need people skilled in such things. The reason is because it’s cheap to hire teachers of “skills” like racism or whatever. On the other hand, training in real job skills useful to the modern world (hi computers!) is rare at community colleges—hiring teachers for such things would cut into administrative bonuses.

Getting back to those contracts, perhaps my lack of knowledge of how the law works is what prevents me from appreciating why scurrilous Poo Bahs always reap great rewards for being let out of their contract (even when they resign, they get handed a bag of phat loot). Contracts are iron-clad, right?

The Maricopa Community Colleges Governing Board has put forth a resolution that would abolish the 40-year-old “meet and confer” negotiation process with faculty and replace it with a policy that “recognizes the Governing Board as the final approval authority for all policy matters.”

Bottom line, the governing board is voting to simply annihilate the faculty contracts, and change the system to a “do whatever we want” system. 40 years ago, you see, higher education was strongly influenced by educators, and so a system was put in place to make education about education, instead of about looting.

The current governing board doesn’t want that, and the old “meet and confer” system was cutting into the looting. Yes, there’ll be a vote on these changes, though faculty won’t be the ones voting, just the ones who stand to profit by the new rules. I’ll be shocked, shocked, when the vote doesn’t go through as planned. Being familiar with how this process works, it’s easy for me to read between the lines of the administrative defense of the new rules:

The proposal will “allow changes to be accomplished more quickly and reduce the amount of valuable resources devoted to policy development while not inhibiting decision-making by the district’s administration or the governing board.”

Ah, yes, the “we need to make quick changes” justification. I remember when from one semester to the next, passing rates in our remedial courses went from 50% to 85%. No, human ability didn’t change suddenly, and no, we didn’t change the course syllabus or books, and no, we didn’t go to restricted admissions.

What happened was admin simply threatened us: pass 85% of the students or be replaced. Admin’s newfound ability to do so was because they eliminated the department head, and replaced him with an administrative mouthpiece: she made it pretty clear what the new rules for faculty were. ”Policy changes” as admin calls them were very quick after she was awarded power.

Let’s continue to sift through this risible defense of the proposed new rules:

…reduce the amount of valuable resources devoted to policy development…

“Reduce the amount of valuable resources…” also brings a knowing chuckle to me. Admin pour ridiculous resources into Vision for Excellence plans and have hired so many additional administrators that campuses often have more admin than faculty on them…they have plenty of resources to spend on “policy development” and have thrown those resources away. The only concern here is to pour more resources into administrative pockets.

More from the defense, and more laughs:

… not inhibiting decision-making by the district’s administration or the governing board.”

“Not inhibiting decision-making…” is the true heart of the matter here. They’re just removing any chance of integrity getting into their way. Honest, the only goal here is to remove the faculty so that the major plundering can begin in earnest, nothing more.

Perhaps even more troubling to faculty, the resolution also would direct the chancellor to create a new faculty policy manual by October. The new manual would allow the chancellor to “at her discretion, incorporate portions of the existing policy manual.” …The manual covers issues such as academic freedom, salary schedules, workload and code of ethics.

So instead of the manual being written by faculty to govern how faculty are to be treated, it’ll be written by the Poo Bah…and the Poo Bah alone will decide how faculty are to be treated.

How is this not, obviously, a recipe for disaster? The line about “at her discretion” is especially farcical. She may, if she wants, use a part of the existing manual is comedy gold, in fact, as she clearly can do whatever she wants, there’s no need to put this line in at all, except to mislead the gullible into thinking she’ll actually respect faculty wishes.

I really feel the need to remind the gentle reader that Maricopa’s community college system already has a reputation for fraud and looting, and allow me to re-highlight some examples I mentioned before:

“…vehicle stipends large enough to buy a new car annually…”

Recently retired Chancellor Rufus Glasper’s $408,017 compensation package included at least $55,000 in special allowances in 2015. That included a $32,500 spending or discretionary allowance and a $22,400 auto allowance.

Fourteen [administrators] had car allowances of $18,000 each, with 11 of those having been raised 76 percent since 2012

At least 19 district executives were given spending allowances of $800 to $32,500 last year. Thirteen had allowances of $9,600 each, and 12 had their allowances roughly tripled since 2012…There are no restrictions on how the funds are spent.
“…other perks such as cellphone and iPad allowances, and life insurance coverage, are included.”

I could go on, but it’s funny how admin is spinning faculty concerns here as “fear-mongering.” In light of the above, only a fool would trust the good intentions of admin if they were given even more power to plunder, right?

Northeast Valley News took statements from several faculty and administrative sources that fear intimidation and/or reprisal for coming forward with information.

Yeah, no kidding. At least faculty know what they’re up against. I wish them luck, though their only real hope is for the voting public to make it clear that they’ve had enough plundering.

Definitely, good luck with that.