An Open Letter to the President

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by Linda Harl

Dear President McRobbie:
Thank you for your kind email letter of September 4 addressed to all staff. It is nice to be appreciated. One would only wish that your actions and those of other administrators matched your words.
First, let’s talk about salaries. You found something for the lowest paid. That is good for them, but where did the $30,000 cut off come from? Don’t those of us who have been here longer demonstrate just as much “dedication and hard work” as those who got the bonuses? Furthermore, this arbitrary distribution of funds is in violation of agreements previously agreed upon with CWA. And while faculty salaries are also frozen, they still have research accounts which cover a very generous definition of work related expenses. And I know that building funds supposedly come from a different source than salary money, but don’t you think putting buildings before people is kind of insulting to those who might work in those very buildings?
You also found some money to offset tuition hikes after criticism was voiced by a member of the state legislature. If we get Vi Simpson to yell about staff salaries, would we get something? I doubt it. Money hardly ever trickles down to those at the bottom.
Secondly, let’s talk about vacancies in staff positions. I have been told that when I retire next year, the College will only fund my position as half time, and that it may not be at the same classification that I now hold. This practice seems to be true all across campus. This implies that you think there are now twice as many staff as needed to efficiently run the university. This is both ludicrous and insulting. It is going to be hard to show any “spirit and energy” if we are doing the work of two people. And does this mean that if people don’t quit or retire fast enough, layoffs are the next step? This negates the “we didn’t get a raise, but at least we have a job” sentiment heard now.
You can already see the effects of such cuts by looking around campus. Outside of those around Bryan House, flower beds need weeding, sidewalks aren’t repaired and so on. Physical plant staff have already been cut so far that they don’t have enough personnel for proper grounds upkeep.
I can also mention the situation with College advisors. There are no funds to hire more, so a few brave souls have to handle four or more departments. This is very efficient, given the record number of students now on campus.
So, thanks again for the email, but as the old saying goes, that and a dollar will buy me a cup of coffee. Next year, just send a check.
Sincerely,
Linda Harl
26 year IU staff employee

Have you checked to see the raises upper Administration received? You could add that to this story.