Kullberg’s “Update on Equivalencies” Email Reveals Union/Administration Backroom Deals

Members of the EMU-AAUP received a bit of a bombshell letter and memo today from current EMU-AAUP President Judy Kullberg titled “Update on equivalencies from the AAUP.” I include the whole email and also the attached memo after the break. Though I was going to title this post something like “Moeller Secretly Sold Out the EMU-AAUP Membership,” and maybe that would be more accurate.

The issue of teaching equivalences and the train wreck of a deal that the EMU-AAUP and the Administration have negotiated has of course been a vexing and irritating discussion for quite a while. And it’s also complicated, so I don’t know if I can do much to get newbies/non-faculty-types caught up with this. I did blog about this in some detail on stevendkrause.com with the post “Why I’m voting for a Coalition for a New EMU-AAUP” and also with a post on this site back in early January, “Responding to ‘Setting the Record Straight From Susan Moeller, Outgoing EMU-AAUP.'” So if you are coming across this and wondering what all this equivalency stuff means, you might want to check out those posts.

Kullberg’s email outlines the timeline for how we got into this equivalency mess in the first place, and I’ll skip some of those details for my purposes here. The EMU-AAUP and the administration worked through summer 2016 to try to sort out the problems with the equivalencies. On August 30, 2016, Moeller sent an email to all faculty at EMU in which she said (in part) “Because of the difficulties with this process however the Joint DID Committee is not going to be able to complete its work on all aspects of the required DID changes by August 31, 2016, so the union has negotiated with the EMU administration a MOU to delay the August 31, 2016, deadline for our involvement in this process. The new deadline will be April 30, 2017.” (Bold in the original). Folks in my department kept working in the fall to try to figure out how these equivalences are going to work out, in part because there was an assumption that we’d have a chance to make changes through the end of the winter term in 2017.

Meanwhile, there was an EMU-AAUP election going on, an election that ran from November 7 to November 22. Now, I don’t know if Moeller et al sensed they were not going to be re-elected because of a general vibe, because of the chatter on social media, and/or because they took a peek of the ballots that were coming in. But they must have sensed something because on November 18, 2016 (a few days before the voting ended), Moeller and EMU Interim Provost Rhonda Longworth signed an Memo of Understanding that basically voided the previously promised April 30, 2017 deadline. (PDF)

And if that wasn’t bad enough: Moeller and the rest of the bunch voted off the old EMU-AAUP didn’t bother to tell the new leadership or anyone else, and they clearly did this on purpose. Here’s a quote from Kullberg’s email on this:

We, the new AAUP Executive Committee, took office on January 1 and began operations on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 (the university was closed on Jan. 1 & 2).  We understood that we had a mandate to revisit the equivalency documents as soon as our term began.  However, we discovered on January 6, while reviewing the actions of the previous EMU-AAUP executive committee, that outgoing EMU-AAUP President Moeller and Interim Provost Rhonda Longworth had signed an MOU on November 18 which terminated the DID review committee on December 22, 2016 and finalized its work on that date.  Neither Longworth nor Moeller have disclosed the existence of this MOU. (bold and italics in the original)

So, to sum up:

  • Moeller and Bunsis and the rest of the EMU-AAUP leadership encouraged folks in my department (and I presume other departments)  to work in the summer to try to resolve the problems created by this DID Committee agreement.
  • Then Moeller told the membership that we were going to have until April 2017 to iron out the problems with the equivalencies, which again meant lots more work on how to make this all work.
  • Then, in secret and probably after she realized she was going to lose the election, Moeller signed a deal that basically said a) we’re done talking about this, and b) all of you people who spent hours and hours working on this stuff in summer and fall of 2016 have wasted your time.

That’s a straight-up “fuck you, I’m burning the house down while you sleep in it” move by Moeller. She sold us out.

 

Below is the email, and here is a link to that November 18 Memo Of Understanding (MOU).

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to provide you with an update from the EMU-AAUP executive committee on the ongoing DID review/ equivalencies issue.

There can be no doubt that the equivalencies produced through the process overseen by the temporary administration/union DID committee in 2015-16 have significant implications not only for workload, but also for programs and curricula in some, if not all, departments. Although the DID review process has come to an end (as will be explained below), we, the new EMU-AAUP leadership, will do what we can to address concerns that faculty have about the equivalency documents.

Since this is a fairly complex situation, we ask that you please read this entire message carefully.  We also need as much information about the situation in departments as possible, so after you have read the message, please respond with information, thoughts or questions about the equivalencies that you might have.

The Addition of Equivalencies to DIDs

Since the equivalency review began a year and a half ago in 2015, it is useful to reconstruct the process with a concise timeline.

  • September 2015. A Memorandum of Understanding inserted into the current 2015-19 collective bargaining agreement created a temporary joint administration-AAUP DID Committee to review and approve course equivalencies in Department Input Documents (DIDs) [see Appendix C, p. 119 of the collective bargaining agreement].  The stated purpose of the review was “to ensure the consistency and fairness of equivalencies” across departments.
  • In Fall 2015, all departments/schools were directed by the DID Committee to draft proposed equivalency documents to be added to their DIDs.  A committee and/or group of faculty members in each department drafted an equivalency document and submitted it byNovember 30, 2015.
  • In April 2016, the DID Committee returned the draft equivalencies to all departments. In the document returned to many, if not all, departments, a line was drawn through much of the document they had submitted to the committee.  The DID Committee directed these departments to replace the crossed out paragraphs with two Appendices, A & B, which it had drafted.
  • Faculty members in many departments were dissatisfied, to say the least, with the revised equivalency documents and the Appendices mandated by the DID Committee.  In response to this negative reaction, the AAUP members of the DID Committee, as well as other AAUP officers, worked with departments over the summer to continue to revise the documents so as to address the concerns of faculty in various departments.  In acknowledgment of the need to continue the review process to arrive at equivalencies that would be acceptable to faculty, the administration and AAUP leadership signed an memorandum of understanding (MOU) extending the DID review process and the DID Committee’s operations to April 30, 2017.
  • Many departments continued to work on their documents and submitted proposed changes in Fall 2016.  They assumed that they would receive a response from the DID Committee and have an opportunity to revise and resubmit the equivalency document again, if necessary.
  • Elections for the EMU-AAUP Executive Committee were conducted from November 7-21.  The results of the election were announced on November 22.  I, Judy Kullberg, and four other candidates – Ken Rusiniak, Mahmud Rahman, Charles Cunningham, and Tricia McTague, who ran together as the “Coalition for a New EMU-AAUP” were elected.  In our campaign, we were critical of the DID review process.  We believe that our victory was largely the result of faculty dissatisfaction with the process and resulting equivalency documents.  [Note: In addition to the members of our slate, Peter Higgins, who ran separately, was elected as an at-large member.  Two members of the previous Executive Committee ran unopposed for the position of Secretary and Treasurer but in early December informed us that they would not serve and resigned from the Executive Committee effective January 1, 2017.]
  • On November 22, 2016, the same day the election results were announced, the DID Committee returned a batch of DIDs to departments without comments other than the documents returned were final. At least seven departments were still dissatisfied with the documents returned to them at that time. Several protested the label “final,” since the MOU had extended the process until April 30, 2017. [Note that President Smith also signed the contract with Academic Partnerships on November 22, 2016.]
  • We, the new AAUP Executive Committee, took office on January 1 and began operations on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 (the university was closed on Jan. 1 & 2).  We understood that we had a mandate to revisit the equivalency documents as soon as our term began.  However, we discovered on January 6, while reviewing the actions of the previous EMU-AAUP executive committee, that outgoing EMU-AAUP President Moeller and Interim Provost Rhonda Longworth had signed an MOU on November 18 which terminated the DID review committee on December 22, 2016 and finalized its work on that date.  Neither Longworth nor Moeller have disclosed the existence of this MOU. For your information, I have attached it to this message.

By ending the committee and the process on December 22, the MOU prevented us, the new leadership of the AAUP, from acting directly through the DID committee to respond to the concerns of specific departments.  The undisclosed MOU thus limits our ability to act on behalf of the faculty.

Nevertheless, we will advocate for faculty in departments that have been disadvantaged in the DID/equivalency review process and work to achieve an outcome that is equitable and acceptable to all faculty.

To this end we are taking the following actions:

  1. On Monday, February 13, we delivered a letter demanding that the administration “cease and desist” from advising administrators and faculty members to calculate maximum faculty teaching loads as twenty-four credit hours across both the Fall and Winter semesters.  This method of calculating workloads is in violation of Article IX, Section (B(1) of the collective bargaining agreement, which states that twelve hours each semester is how credit hour loads are apportioned.  Moreover, the enforceable past practice has been that over twelve hours in a semester constitutes an overload.
  1. We request that Interim Provost Longworth formally offer the equivalent of a 3-3 teaching load to all departments in all colleges. Faculty at our peer institutions have long since had such an effective load, and it is time for EMU to move in this direction.
  1. We ask department stewards and/or personnel committee chairs who have concerns about implementing the equivalencies (in terms of workload and/or effects on curricula and programs) to contact us within the next week.  We will compile all the information received and schedule a meeting with Academic Affairs to present these concerns. This will be the beginning of a dialogue with the administration about problems with the equivalencies and possible solutions.

It is our hope that by working together to express concerns about the equivalency documents to the administration, and demanding that the administration acknowledge the legitimacy of those concerns and take positive steps to address them, we will finally arrive at workloads that are equitable and meet the curricular and programmatic needs of each department.

In solidarity,

Judy

 

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