Letter to the faculty: Delay in gender equity implementation

Dear colleagues:

As you may be aware, equity adjustments were to be implemented with the first paycheck of the 2013-14 academic year. Eligibility for these adjustments was to be determined through the analyses conducted last spring semester by faculty, chairs, and deans in each college.

On Monday, September 9, and again on Tuesday, September 10, the WMU-AAUP attempted (unsuccessfully) to send a message to the faculty to remind all of you that all bargaining-unit members would see a one percent increase in their base pay, effective with the first paycheck of the Fall 2013 semester, dated September 10, 2013. We wanted to make clear to the faculty that this one percent increase was the across-the-board increase negotiated for all bargaining-unit members in 2011 and not an equity adjustment. (You can view the text of this letter here.) Unfortunately, though, despite multiple attempts, our emails were not getting through to the faculty.

We later learned that our emails to the faculty at your wmich addresses were being blocked on the WMU end. We are not suggesting that anything untoward was happening. There are any number of reasons that might explain why the mailings were blocked, including the possibility that they were incorrectly identified as spam, which apparently can happen when you send an email to 870 people at once. The problem has since been corrected. (We hope.)

Today I am writing to say that we have since learned that no equity adjustments were made to September 10 paychecks. In other words, the absence of an adjustment in your September 10 check does not suggest anything about your eligibility for an equity increase. You may very well still be eligible to receive an adjustment. But at this point, no one has received one. And it seems likely that the issue causing the delay will take some time to resolve.

The Chapter has extremely limited information at this point, but we are aware that the delay is on the administration’s end. The provost has said he will communicate with the faculty directly about this, and I am encouraging him to do so as soon as possible. I have reminded him of how hard everyone worked last spring to follow the process, despite our many concerns with it, and of how long everyone has been waiting.

I wish we had better information to share with you now, and I hope that the administration will be forthcoming with information for all of us. I continue to call upon them to communicate clearly, frequently, and directly with the faculty on this and other important issues. And, as always, I invite you to contact me with any questions or concerns that you might have.

For more about equity at WMU, see this article on the blog and the June 2013 MLive article by Yvonne Zipp.

In solidarity,

Lisa Cohen Minnick
President, WMU-AAUP
Associate Professor of English
and Gender & Women’s Studies
Western Michigan University
814 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008