AAUP Response to Wages at Middlebury College

June 28. 2022

Dear AAUP Members,

We’re outraged, but not surprised.

By now almost all faculty and staff have received their reappointment letters containing information on our FY23 salaries and wages. We’d like to offer a few reflections on what we know, have been hearing, and offer a way forward.

At our last faculty meeting in May, the AAUP successfully passed a sense of the faculty motion that urged the administration to give—at least—a 10 percent raise to all Middlebury faculty and staff. Such an increase would have brought all of us up to our 2019 rate of pay. Despite passing by an overwhelming majority of the faculty, the administration and the Board of Trustees pitted faculty and staff against each other, creating divisions where there should have been unity.

The result? All faculty received an increase, but 14 percent of staff received no raise at all. And many staff received only a discretionary increase, under 2%, based upon lobbying by their own immediate supervisors. (Remember that in 2020, when there was also no pay increase, select staff received a fifty-dollar check from the College, “a show of appreciation” for their hard work in tough times.)

Many staff and faculty received a pay cut in real wages even if they received an increase in absolute dollars because that increase was under 10%. Given inflation over the past three years, almost all of us are still making less in real wages than we were in 2019. In other words, the majority of our staff and faculty who worked through the pandemic have received a significant pay cut at the same time tuition increased by 10 percent and our endowment by a shocking 32 percent.

The wage and salary letters have generated significant confusion. The administration announced the faculty and staff salary pool increased by seven percent. Where did it go? We know that all ranks of faculty received less than a seven percent increase. Individual faculty who received a larger increase seem to have gotten it on the basis of their promotions, which typically come with standardized anticipated increases anyway. Does this add up to a general seven percent increase on average? We need a fuller explanation from the administration about how the money was actually distributed.

At a recent AAUP meeting, and in countless emails and conversations over the past few days, we’re hearing that Middlebury employees are fed up. They’re insulted by the pay cuts and tired of feeling like our voices and votes don’t matter. They fear that this unfair situation will persist, that their commitment to the College will never be rewarded, and are wondering how else to express their growing lack of confidence.

The 2022 State of the Faculty Report, released earlier this year, painted a dismal picture of the working life at Middlebury—only about 20 percent report being satisfied with the way things are going at the College and only one third are satisfied with their pay.

What can we do? Since the beginning of the pandemic, the AAUP has organized faculty and staff to support a campus climate that is safer and fairer. That work has been slow but steady. Despite our frustration with the austerity budgeting, we are confident that our pressure on the administration was at least partly responsible for whatever pay increases we did receive. Our members have at times been leaders within all elected committees on campus, including staff council, helping to raise our voice whenever possible. We will continue to organize for a budget that works for all of us, one that actually reflects the hard work and commitments of our faculty and staff.

Join us! The AAUP is open to all faculty and staff who want to speak with a larger collective voice. To join, and find out about our upcoming meetings, send an email to Professor Laurie Essig at lessig@middlebury.edu.

Together, we have the best chance of getting the jobs that we all deserve.


AAUP Executive Council

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