Vote appeal for UPI

Professor Banovetz’s guest editorial (Monday April 12) on “shared governance” reveals a selectively blind eye to its history at NIU. I distinctly remember some of the “hearings” he so glowingly describes. I also distinctly remember how he and his colleagues refused any suggestion to put any teeth into the proposals for the faculty senate, often on the grounds that “the Board wouldn’t stand for it.” The result has been our fine sounding senate that occupies nearly 80 of our most capable people deliberating issues that may be of importance to the faculty. It has no authority, no clearly defined body to report to, and usually no time to get to many important issues. Its authority is solely “moral suasion” as Professor Monat so gently put it at the time. It appears that “moral suasion” is effective when the issue is one that the President agrees to, or would like to blame the faculty for. Look at how effective it is when the President disagrees.

Professor Banovetz says “NIU’s present system does not require …dues (and all) can participate” and then claims that NIU_UPI would end all that. He forgets that the collective bargaining (CB) law requires that all members of the bargaining unit be eligible to vote and receive benefits. He conveniently ignores the “dues” of low pay inflicted upon all faculty through the years because of inadequate representation to the legislature by administrators and Boards. Just two of the pay increases of the ‘70’s and ’80’s won by UPI—IFT lobbying (the Board and administrators sat on their hands saying “it’s hopeless”) have been more than paying everyone’s dues ever since. The additional lobbying strength, had NIU_UPI won in 1986, could well have eased much of the pain of the past seven years.

He presents no evidence the “collegiality” has declined with CB, but asserts it anyhow. He claims the existing shared governance system would quickly become unimportant and ineffective with CB. (Apparently he believes it is currently both!) The real studies of the issues on real campuses with CB demonstrate the opposite. CB strengthens faculty governance mechanisms and removes many of the divisive factors that currently inhibit collegiality.

Professor Banovetz claims “every CB agreement establishes a uniform faculty workload… imposed on each academic department.” He misreads, or fails to read. Many agreements provide for a different interpretation of workload in each department, accounting for students level, number, teaching, research, service, advising, etc. He assumes Northern faculty would negotiate the worst and vote for it!

I am sorry that Professor Banovetz has so little confidence in his colleagues’ good sense. He apparently prefers to rely on Presidents and Deans. It is a democracy and he has the right to vote for the Deans on Wednesday the 21st! I urge the scholars among the faculty to vote for their own good sense in faculty matters by voting for NIU_UPI.


Professor Emeritus of Biology