Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

We want to commend the staff at The Foghorn for their commitment to covering events on the University of San Francisco campus and providing our community information about the pressing issues that concern all of us.  We write on behalf of the University of San Francisco Faculty Association; our membership is 428 full-time faculty and librarians. 

In recent Town Hall meetings and in the pages of this paper, the University Administration has linked last year’s tuition increase and next year’s proposed tuition increase to faculty pay. Vice Provost Hamrick has said that increased pay is a factor in the University’s budget. This is true, however, it is important to see the whole picture.  

First, last year the USFFA had 462 members; this year we have 428 members. This means that the University has almost 8% fewer full-time faculty and librarians on the payroll. Furthermore, many part-time faculty and staff positions have also been cut over the past few years. For instance, the OPE unit currently in negotiations with the University lost 18% of their work force over the last five years.  Therefore, overall, the University is spending less on salaries and benefits because there are fewer staff, faculty and librarians on payroll. Second, as senior faculty and librarians retire, the University either doesn’t replace them, or hires junior faculty and librarians whose salaries are significantly lower than the salaries of retiring faculty. Third, the University eliminated a significant retirement benefit for full-time faculty and librarians. 

Given the fact that the amount that the University is spending on faculty, librarians and staff salaries is lower than in previous years (due to layoffs and retirements), it is misleading for the administration to suggest that our members’ raises are to blame for tuition increases. The increased revenue from tuition increases is far greater than the increased cost of faculty, librarian and staff salaries and benefits. 

We hope that the newly constituted University Budget Advisory Council can provide more transparency as to why significant cuts are being made, where increased spending is happening, and why tuition is sharply increasing. 

Next, the USFFA would like to express solidarity with the undergraduate and graduate students on the campus who are concerned that the leadership is not making decisions according to the stated mission of the University.  We embrace the principle of a transformative and empowering education for all of our students. We want every student to feel that they are an honored, respected, and valued member of our community. The University of San Francisco is at an important juncture. Faculty, staff and students should be able to trust that the University administration is protecting our mission and values, and engaging in constructive, inclusive dialogue with everyone on campus. Faculty, staff, and students are deeply devoted to the unique culture and ethos of the University of San Francisco.  May we work in solidarity to protect them even as we move forward. 

Sonja Martin Poole, President, USFFA

Keally McBride, Vice-President, USFFA

Edward Munnich, Secretary, USFFA

Justine Withers, Treasurer, USFFA

Gabe Maxson, Sergeant at Arms, USFFA

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