The rich get richer...
By Keith Law, CCA Board Member, Merced College
Over the past five years, Merced College increased student fees, cut classes, student services, and faculty salaries. Nevertheless, during one of the worst recessions in our nation’s history, our management team has enjoyed exceptionally high raises.
I recently requested a list of the 2013-14 base salaries of all district management team personnel, and compared this to a list I received in 2009-10. I was astounded to find that in every case, while the rest of us have been struggling through a recession, the members of our management team have seemingly remained untouched.
More and more, Merced College appears to resemble our wider economic system wherein the richest few are amassing wealth at the expense of everyone else.
This year, the district is setting aside the following for raises: $137,000 for 43 managers; $182,000 for 170 full-time faculty members; $136,000 for 243 classified staff; and $60,000 for 400 part-time faculty members. This amounts to an average raise of $3,200 for managers; $1,070 for full time faculty members; $608 for classified staff; and a paltry $150 for part time faculty members.
If we apply grandma’s “checkbook ethics” (you value what you pay for) to these numbers, it turns out that management team employees are three times more valuable than our tenured faculty; five times more valuable than a classified employee; and 21 times more valuable than our part-time faculty members.
The list of the things that we are doing without due to budget cuts is long; however, there is one exception to that rule, and that is management salaries and raises.
When I started as president of Merced College Faculty Association, our ratio of full-time to part-time faculty was not up to the legally mandated 75 percent; however, we were at a respectable 70 percent. Over the past years that 70 percent has dwindled, and this year we will be lucky if we are teaching 60 percent of our courses with full-time faculty members. On top of the cuts to student services and full-time faculty, there is the simple necessity of part-time faculty office hours and office space. As it stands, a student who takes a class with one of our part-time colleagues does not enjoy equal access relative to their counterpart who takes the same course from a full-time faculty member.
If pronouncements that “students are our focus” are more than empty slogans, then the administration should place the needs of our students first, and they should play by the same rules as the rest of our campus community.