Today’s equity adjustment letters: What we know

This afternoon, Provost Tim Greene sent out an email to all members of the board-appointed faculty and all department chairs to announce that hard-copy letters would be delivered today to some individual faculty members to inform them that they will be receiving salary adjustments, effective with their November 19 paychecks. Those hard-copy letters were delivered to campus mailboxes this afternoon.

The WMU-AAUP has no information from the university administration regarding which faculty members (or how many) have been selected to receive adjustments or how those decisions were made.

Anecdotally, we have heard from a small number of colleagues who received letters today informing them that they will receive adjustments. In the context of the very limited information we have at this point, our sense is that a relatively small number of faculty members will be getting adjustments.

The amounts we have heard about are in the $4,000 to $5,000 range, in the form of adjustments to base salaries. We need to emphasize, however, that because our information comes from a very small number of recipients, we have no way to know whether these amounts are in any way representative or what the overall range might be.

We are very pleased to see that some of our colleagues are finally going to receive the salary adjustments to which they are entitled and for which they have waited so long. We hope that these adjustments are sufficient to begin to address in a meaningful way the long-standing inequity experienced by these colleagues. It is wonderful to see some real movement on this, finally, on the part of the administration after so many frustrating delays.

We were surprised to learn that many of the adjustments went to male faculty members as well as female, but we are in favor of fair pay for everyone, and we are happy to see the salaries of our colleagues inch closer to what those colleagues deserve to be paid. As most of you are aware, faculty salaries at Western Michigan University are in the bottom quartile nationwide for men as well as women.

Sadly, though, quite a few of our colleagues who had been hoping for adjustments and whose cases are also highly compelling are disappointed tonight. And unfortunately, there are no letters for these colleagues, no explanation of how their individual cases were decided or why they were passed over.

And we are disappointed that the provost’s email this afternoon did not indicate that such explanations would be forthcoming. He did sign off by “pledg[ing] to communicate in a more complete and timely manner” with faculty “in the future,” so our first step now will be to request that he honor that pledge by explaining to those colleagues who were passed over this time why it went down that way.