It’s not even August, but we’re already formulating our agenda for our meeting in October with a committee of the Board of Trustees. Here’s what we’ve come up with so far. Please let us know if you have additional concerns!
1. “The New Normal”: the number of staff has been reduced, “things not to do” are (sometimes) identified, but then some months later they get put back on the “to do” list. Many staff members feel that expectations have not been lowered even though the administration has said they should be. (We have specific examples from across campus.)
2. Committees (the Benefits Advisory Committee and the SRC’s Wage and Salary Committee) that were established in the last couple of years to participate in policy discussions related to compensation and benefits are either no longer convened or have been reduced to a role of “approving” policies established without their participation. MCSC feels it is appropriate that we have a more active role in these important policy discussions.
3. Is the previously stated target of 850 staff still a valid number given a) no apparent decrease in expectations of services (see item number 1) and b) improved budget forecasts?
4. Staff morale is very low for a number of reasons:
- Staff numbers have decreased but expectations and requirements for their work have not (see item number 1).
Units that have lost the most staff are also the units who have had to relocate to smaller, less functional office space, or they are the ones performing the moves (Facilities Services). Further, the compressed timeframes required for these moves (in order to bring dorm space online for Fall) made it logistically overwhelming for Facilities and also difficult or impossible to modify the new spaces to function appropriately. Yet the staff affected by these moves are still trying to meet the same level of service that was expected of them three years ago.
The ERPs and VSP has not only resulted in the loss of valuable institutional memory that affects work units and the college as a whole, but also the loss of long-time colleagues who have become close friends over the years makes many of the work environments on campus less congenial than they were a year or so ago.
Minimal, flat raise levels over the last two years, while economically understandable, have coincided with the most stressful times for employees. This has further lowered morale.