Equity FAQs

Since the provost’s announcement last week that salary adjustments for some faculty would be made beginning with the November 19 paychecks, we’ve been getting many calls and emails from faculty members with questions. At this point, we don’t have much more information than you do. We have heard nothing from the provost beyond the October 30 email he sent to the entire board-appointed faculty.

Still, we are compiling a list of faculty questions about the equity decisions in order to pursue these on the faculty’s behalf and in the meantime will provide answers to the extent that we are able. We also encourage colleagues to contact the provost directly with questions about equity while we continue to try to get answers for you.

The Equity FAQs below represent the kinds of questions that have been submitted to us since the adjustments were announced last week by the provost.

We also invite you to share your questions with us via email (staff@wmuaaup.net), phone (345-0151), or the online survey to which all board-appointed faculty will be invited soon.

We will continue to communicate regularly with the faculty and share information as we get it.

Equity FAQs

What was the process for making decisions about who is getting adjustments?

The WMU-AAUP leadership was not included in the decision-making process, and we have not been informed about how decisions were made. For months now, we have been calling on the administration to inform faculty members directly of the decisions made in their individual cases, including explanations of how those decisions were made. To date, the administration has been silent with regard to colleagues who will not receive adjustments. And faculty members who have been informed that they will receive adjustments have not been told how the decisions were made in their individual cases, either.

It is our intent to continue to press for that information.

How were the amounts decided upon?

Again, we have no idea. As with the decisions about who will receive adjustments, the decisions about amounts of the adjustments also appear to have been made unilaterally by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Were decisions made at the college or department level? My chair said s/he recommended specific faculty members for adjustments, but those colleagues are not getting them. How can this happen?

We don’t know how the decisions were made, or who participated in the decision-making, but anecdotal reports from faculty who have spoken with chairs and deans suggest that the recommendations of department- and college-level administrators have not necessarily been followed.

Did any men get adjustments? If so, why?

Yes. We don’t know why because all selection criteria remain unknown to us. However, we are aware of several adjustments made to individual male faculty members who had been experiencing salary compression problems (i.e., when long-tenured faculty are paid less than recent hires). As the provost’s October 3 email suggests, the administration seems very keen to deny that there is actually gender inequity in faculty salaries.

Is there an appeals process for faculty who are not getting adjustments but who are being paid inequitably?

No appeals process has been announced. If there is an appeals process being considered by the provost, it has not been communicated to us.

Will a there be an announcement of who got what?

The WMU-AAUP leadership will not be advocating such an announcement. We are happy for our colleagues who are receiving adjustments this time around. We are also aware that it is not faculty members who are responsible for the selection of colleagues to receive (or not receive) adjustments. The recommendations submitted by the committees in each college last spring – committees that included faculty – do not appear to have been followed.

Additionally, several recipients have told us that they feel they have reason to fear reprisals if their names are made public. They don’t deserve that.

The potential for the administration to exploit faculty frustration and dissatisfaction over the recently announced adjustments as a divide-and-conquer strategy in advance of negotiations is considerable. We need to think carefully about who the responsible parties are here and direct our concerns appropriately.

If I did not get an adjustment and I feel that I am paid inequitably, where should I take my complaint?

We invite you to come to us with your concerns. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you and help to counsel you with regard to your options.

Is this over? Are we done fighting for equity?

Absolutely not! While we are very pleased to see at long last some real movement on this by the administration, the recently announced adjustments are not going to be enough to solve the inequity problem on this campus. We consider these adjustments to be a good start, but our objective is full equity campus wide, and we are nowhere near there yet. And we have no intention of giving up now.

I have mixed feelings about all this. Does that make sense?

Does it ever. Over 100 colleagues are slated to receive adjustments, and many of their cases represent some of the most egregious and long-standing gender disparities on this campus. And in addition to gender equity, other adjustments appear to have been made in cases of serious salary compression. A lot of these folks have been involved in this struggle for a long time, and to see some of the worst cases finally getting some justice is a really good thing.

On the other hand, we have other colleagues whose cases are also egregious but who are not getting adjustments. They have good reason to be frustrated and angry about that. We all do. As I wrote last week, I understand their feelings. And these colleagues still have not been offered any explanation for why they are being passed over this time. They deserve a lot better than that, and they are going to need our help to get it.

Lisa, did you get an adjustment?


What happens now?

As far as we are concerned, this is not over until all inequities are attended to. That means there is still a lot of work to do. This work is going to have to be done collaboratively. No one person or small group of people is going to be able to do this for the faculty. We scored a huge victory this time around, and it happened because we presented a united front. These adjustments are happening because the faculty worked collaboratively and didn’t let up.

That is what we have to keep doing. If we give up, then we will get nothing for anyone else. If we allow ourselves to be divided and conquered, we will lose, in all kinds of ways. A divided faculty cannot negotiate from a position of strength. We are now in a position of strength and must not squander it. This is a critical consideration with our 2014 contract negotiations coming up.

I appreciate the frustration of our many colleagues who deserve but did not get adjustments. I share it. These colleagues deserve a decent mourning period and opportunities to express those feelings of frustration, which are legitimate. But we are going to need to get back to work soon. The good news is that no one will have to do this work alone.

Whether you got an adjustment this time around or not, we can’t lose sight of the goal, which is bigger than any one of us individually. That goal is real equity. As of November 19, the faculty will be $400,000 closer to it. That is huge.

Is everyone who deserves an adjustment getting one on November 19? NO. Did a lot of people get some real money this time around? YES. Did that happen because the provost was feeling generous? NO.

It happened because we made it happen.

Imagine what else a strong, united faculty can make happen.