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Faculty Senate Constituent Concerns

Constituent concern regarding baseball clubhouse loan

I have a constituent concern regarding the Regent’s decision to provide a “very small loan” of $3.5 million to Athletics to build the baseball clubhouse. The quote of this being a “very small loan” is from Regents Chair Ron Sims and was published in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in an article written by Scott Jackson on January 29th, 2019. This quote demonstrates that Ron Sims is out of touch with the realities we are facing at the departmental levels where we are facing additional cuts and a permanent tax on salaries to pay for the new Enterprise System. In addition, we have existing building projects, such as REC 5, which cannot currently be completed due to lack of state funding (the top one or two floors of REC 5 currently will just be empty shells). The President has stated, in the past, that only fully funded projects will be taken on at WSU, yet this baseball clubhouse is not fully funded. In addition, this “very small loan” of $3.5 million is being given to the Athletics Program which has failed to pay back the deficit it has created in the university reserves. If this loan to Athletics (and other deficits created by Athletics) is not paid back, academics will have to foot the bill which is an example of how the athletic budget and academic budget are not separate pools. The timing of this decision is not appropriate given our current budget condition as is the comment on the size of the loan from Regents Chair Ron Sims.

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CAHNRS grants staff is under supported and appears to not retain staff. Services of monitoring grants and contacting funders for billing being missed. Delays causing extra work for faculty.

Many faculty have shared concerns with issues around managing grants. There are issues of tasks being no longer covered by grants team. I personally had a grant that no follow up with funder occurred. I was notified that I might not get paid for work on grant if there are no bills. There wasn’t even a number set up for the grant. Another faculty had grant salaries not billed, as presented on the spreadsheets for salaries. Was told basically can’t change it, you figure it out and bill other faculty who were over paid. I request it be discussed on unit levels what services are being provided by CAHNRS grants. If services are permanently reduced we should be aware. If reduced the negative impact on our workload changing to more grant management should not penalize faculty on annual reviews.

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Contracts will not talk to venues we are contracting with. Expect staff to negotiate.

WSU contracts takes site contracts, does their edits, and sends back to WSU staff to explain the WSU edits (to the site) and expects staff to negotiate. Putting an untrained WSU staff member in between a contract negotiation is not working and takes a lot of extra back and forth communication. Staff have been told WSU contracts is not to talk directly with the site. Isn’t that the job of contracts to talk with sites and negotiate the contracts?

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The policy for managing summer grant money at WSUV discourages the pursuit of grants for salary supplementation and this is in contradiction of the university’s statement, when summer salaries were reduced, that we could make up the lost income by pursuing grants.

As was explained to me last summer when it was applied to my grant, the policy at WSUV is to reduce the amount of any grant paid out as summer income to the amount at which that faculty members’ salary for teaching a summer class would be capped. (E.G. if the cap is $8,000, and a faculty member receives a summer grant of $10,000, that faculty member will receive $8,000 minus deductions for taxes and benefits.) The additional grant money is taken by the university for other uses and not available to the grant recipient in any form (e.g. as travel reimbursement or goods and services). This policy applies to internal grants, grants from Pullman, and external grants. When summer salaries were first capped by WSU, which severely impacted professors already trying to deal with the salary compression WSU has no standard and consistent mechanisms for addressing, we were told to pursue grants in order to make up the loss of income. Under the new policy this is impossible since we cannot draw income from the grants in excess of what we would make by teaching summer classes. So the new policy is a strong disincentive to pursuing grants. as salary supplements. (We can still keep any grant money for travel or goods and services.)

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Clarity on the D25 Initiative

There is a need for clarity on what specifically is meant by WSU’s goal of being recognized as one of the nation’s top 25 public research universities. One interpretation is that WSU will be in the top 25 institutions on a list of public research universitites ranked from 1 to X. However, this is not how the D25 is being tracked and defined on the D25 web page. Specifically, 10 metrics are evaluated and reported by The Center for Measuring University Performance (MUP) yearly. MUP’s top 25 public research universities are those institutions that rank in the top 25—among all public universities—on at least one of the 10 measures cited above. Using those criteria, a total of 42 public institutions qualify as top 25 public universities in the MUP 2015 report. The primary concern is that it is unclear what it means to be among 42 public institutions that qualify as among the “top 25 public universities”.

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