Statement on U of M Budget Gap

Over the past several weeks we all have received a number of emails from the administration, and are likely hearing more from the media, our supervisors, colleagues, and friends concerning the purported $20+ million budget gap our university is facing. In response to this disconcerting budgetary situation, our new administration is strongly recommending "responsibility centered management" and an overall administrative and organizing restructuring.

As our union’s organizing committee said in a letter many faculty received this week, the speculative restructuring we have been hearing about speaks clearly to many of us as a deliberate move towards the privatization of our public institution. This application of a corporate model to our university not only threatens the security of our employment but also the quality and cost of the “product” we offer (education) and the experience and outcome of our target “consumer” (the student). At the end of the day, no amount of “right-sizing,” “cost-cutting,” “effectiveness and efficiency” will replace honest-to-goodness public investment in the future of our state through robust expenditures on public education.

Although it may feel as if decisions have already been made and the course to our future laid, in fact the real outcomes of these proposed changes will depend greatly upon our actions over the coming weeks and throughout this academic year. We are not content to see our institution move backwards and we invite you to join us in encouraging an alternative vision.

To this end we are hosting an informal public forum, Public Higher Education in the Age of Austerity, this Friday, September 27th from 12:30-1:30pm in room 308 of the UC. This event will provide information about the funding formula, similar restructuring proposals elsewhere in higher education, and concrete specifics and next steps concerning our situation here at U of M. Please attend and encourage co-workers to come with you for this important discussion.

Please help spread the word to all your colleagues, whether or not they belong to the union, by forwarding this statement or sharing its content with co-workers.

Additionally, we encourage all members to attend and participate actively in the open Town Hall meetings being hosted by university administration next week.

Finally, we know that only through organization and action can we improve our job future. Please consider joining the union’s organizing committee to help grow the union's power, plan future events and develop future statements concerning these matters. The union belongs to you, we can never accomplish more than what we set out to achieve together. If you are interested in the committee, please contact Tom Smith, 1-877-292-3865 (toll free cell) or by email.