Arizona Daily Wildcat October 17, 1997
Professor calls university salary structure unfairKelly Harshberger
A UA professor yesterday lashed out against how university salaries are allotted, telling a panel of four visiting state legislators about what he called "an enormous mismanagement of funds and an abuse of power and responsibility."
English Professor Peter Medine said traditional faculty were unfairly paid less than professors who become administrators.
Citing English department salaries for the 1994-95 school year, Medine said 75 percent of the full professors paid above-average salaries, were, or had been, university administrators.
"What is rewarded is becoming an administrator," Medine said. "You are hired as a faculty member to teach, do research and serve, but you're not rewarded."
He also said that once an administrator returns to a teaching position, they retain their 11-month administrative salary rather than reverting to a nine-month teaching salary.
"I believe there are improvements that can be made," said Rep. Linda Gray, R-Phoenix, a member of the house appropriations committee.
"I intend to look at the way salary increases are given at the university," she added.
In the first-ever on campus forum of its kind, the panel of legislators concluded a need for improvement in the UA's salary appropriation policies as well as employee grievance guidelines.
"It looks like some things need to be changed," said Rep. Marilyn Jarrett, R-Mesa, a panel member.
"It's not right if these folks aren't being dealt with fairly," she said.
The state representatives who sat on the panel included Jarrett, Gray, Sally Ann Gonzales, D-South Tucson and Marion Pikens, D-Tucson.
Faculty speakers also addressed problems with the university's grievance policy regarding administrative mismanagement.
Carol Bernstein, a professor at the UA medical college and president of the Arizona branch of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) called for an end to university exemptions from the state "whistleblower" law, which shields employees from retaliation for disclosing information in matters of public concern.
"Higher education institutions of Arizona have high instances of abuse of authority and mismanagement," Bernstein said during the Thursday morning meeting in the nursing college.
Arizona universities are exempted from the state "whistleblower" statute, because they have their own grievance polices written into university handbooks for appointed personnel.
Bernstein said she appealed to members of the Arizona Board of Regents about the matter, as well as UA President Peter Likins.
In a letter to Bernstein dated Oct. 10, Likins wrote it was "vital to act in a careful and thorough manner."
He also said he was "astonished that the AAUP has so lightly launched an effort to involve state agencies in managing campus affairs."
Bernstein said such cases have been disregarded in the past.
"It has become clear that the universities have a top-down hierarchy," she said. "Rather than cases being investigated and resolved, they were ignored."
Electrical engineering Professor Miklos Szilagyi told the panel he had crossed swords with his department head for 10 years after he publicly questioned his boss' qualifications.
"He then judged my performance to be unacceptable in all areas, and asked for my resignation many times," Szilagyi said. "This is just one example in my view of why we need the protection of the law."
Members of the faculty and staff from Arizona State University along with Pima and Cochise Community Colleges also attended.