Letter to faculty from Provost Greene re. gender equity

The following letter from WMU provost Tim Greene went out to faculty, chairs, and directors this afternoon. The gist: Adjustments will be made “soon” for “some tenured faculty members.” The administration is denying “unlawful discrimination of any kind.”

No word on who will receive adjustments, when they will receive them, or how decisions were made in individual cases.

Our position: It’s a start, and we are glad to see some movement at long last as well as some communication on this critical issue. However, we are not convinced that there is no “unlawful discrimination” and will continue to investigate.

Dear Colleagues:

I am pleased to tell you that in addition to the regularly scheduled salary adjustments that occurred this September and will occur again in January, some tenured faculty members will be receiving additional salary adjustments. These adjustments will be made soon and will be retroactive to the beginning of the academic year.

I sincerely appreciate that some have been frustrated by the perception of delay on my part or the lack of communication, but evaluating issues of equity and pay adjustments is very complex. The complexity of these issues is demonstrated by the fact that, despite good faith efforts, a joint committee of the Administration and WMU AAUP, which examined these issues at length, was unable to reach consensus on the processes for evaluating possible pay adjustments.

The recent Sibson Consulting report also demonstrates these complexities. The report finds that “further review of pay differences [is needed] to determine if true pay inequity exists.” The report also acknowledged “many other factors that influence pay and are considered appropriate (e.g., prior experience and expertise in the field were not included in the analysis due to limited available data).” Still another finding of the report is that “it is important to keep in mind . . . some differences across groups may be appropriate.” The report did not conclude that there has been unlawful gender pay discrimination.

Notwithstanding the inconclusive nature of the Sibson report, the University has determined that addressing certain pay disparities is appropriate. Although there has been no unlawful discrimination of any kind, in this good faith spirit, some faculty pay adjustments will be made. Even with these adjustments, the University will continue to explore issues involving salary disparities.

Tim Greene

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs