Bowling Green State University trustees justified recent sweeping changes to a key governing document as a necessary response to faculty unionization, but some professors there say the board is engaged in a retaliatory power grab.
Faculty voted in October to grant collective bargaining powers to the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and the board responded Dec. 10 with changes to the Academic Charter that eliminated numerous faculty committees and stripped professors of their existing roles in the evaluations of deans, directors and chairs.
“This set of changes is allegedly done in response to collective bargaining, but there are so many changes that go beyond that, that clearly something else is afoot,” said David Jackson, president of Bowling Green State University’s Faculty Association, the AAUP union. “It certainly appears, to us anyway, that the administration is using the collective bargaining election and the need to negotiate salaries and benefits to justify wholesale changes.”
Also of concern to Jackson and others is the elimination of the faculty’s role in determining financial exigency, which universities can invoke to dismiss tenured professors. Removing even the faculty’s advisory function in this area, as the trustees have done, constitutes “a clear taking of power,” Jackson said.