The Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis (CERPA) released its report, commissioned by the Faculty Senate, on Appalachian State’s budget priorities. This helps us see what the University has been spending money on and why faculty have suffered such dramatic salary decline, a problem spelled out clearly at the Feb. 25 special Faculty Senate meeting.
The 11-page report uses data provided by the University Budget Office and IRAP. It’s worth reading the whole report here, but the upshot is this:
The University has used available funds to expand administrative positions over faculty positions and faculty raises. Since 2014 faculty positions increased at a rate much slower than SHRA staff positions and EHRA non-faculty positions.
The University has directed compensation funds to administrative and support positions more than faculty positions. Since 2013, funds for compensation increased 21% for academics, 29% for student support, and 37% for institutional support.
Although we have often heard that money cannot be moved from one category to another, the University’s hands are not really so tied. The University can move money around! And the University can avoid the need to move money by getting things right in the budget planning process. Paul Forte stated on Feb. 25 that a path can’t turn into something else, referring to the million-dollar path to the football stadium that the University will build, but the University could have asked for permission to use that $1million for a different project. Similarly, making decisions to hire administrators and paying for their operating expenses is done at the cost of funding other things, such as faculty raises. The dramatic expansion of institutional and student support comes at the cost of faculty salaries.
Rather than explaining their choices and funding priorities, and taking responsibility for them, the administration told us that they simply could not raise our salaries—as if they weren’t spending money to expand other positions and offices. But, clearly, that’s exactly what they were doing, at our expense and at the expense of the institution.
Stay involved. Attend the April 12 University budget presentations.
This blog post is on matters of concern to faculty and related to the AAUP’s mission, but it does not necessarily represent the perspective of all faculty members or all AAUP members.