A colleague shares his story

A faculty colleague shares his (in)equity story, which we reprint here, with his permission:

I am certainly in favor of everyone being paid in an equitable manner, but let me tell you my experience with trying to get my salary adjusted.

I spent almost two full years trying to have my salary adjusted due to the practice of hiring people without their terminal degree (who were told they needed the degree by the time they started at WMU). Some of these individuals then start without their PhD but are paid as if they do have it. Then when they receive their degree they get a pay bump because they go from instructor to assistant professor. This can take their salaries above those of colleagues who were hired at the same time with PhD in hand.

This situation occurred when I was hired at the same time as someone else in my department. I took this to my chair, who never responded, then to the dean. We met to no avail. Then I went to the interim provost at the time, who felt that I had some merit to my request. She told me to go back to the dean. I went back to my dean, who told me if he adjusted my salary he would have to do it for everyone, so he declined, noting that I had agreed to my starting salary when I signed my contract. I then went back to the provost’s office, to the new interim provost at the time. He was sympathetic, agreed to some extent with the previous interim provost, and told me that since by then I had a new chair, I should start there and go through the process again. I went to my new chair, who would not take it forward from there. He said that an adjustment would never happen so he was not going to waste time trying.

After two years of this, I finally gave up and moved on with my life here at WMU. So as you can see I am just a little frustrated by what has currently happened in respect to salary equity. If I knew that men would be considered for adjustments, I would have requested a review, but this was only supposed to be related to gender equity so I did not pursue it this time.