Bargaining Update – June 9, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

The UFF and Board of Trustees (BOT) teams met on Wednesday, June 9, and the session was devoted to the BOT team’s counter-proposal on Article 19 (Conflict of Interest/Outside Activity), which centered on two issues: outside activity reports and the types of relationships with students that constitute a conflict of interest.

The BOT wants faculty to report all compensated and some uncompensated outside activity and allow the administration to decide whether each activity represents a conflict of interest. They proposed the following definition:

“Outside Activity” shall mean any activity which is compensated, or any uncompensated activity which is related to one’s profession or subject matter expertise such as consulting, an uncompensated teaching or research appointment, or service on an advisory board.

We have asked for a list of examples of reportable activity. For instance, by “advisory board,” they told us that they were thinking of corporate advisory boards. But would their language also include election to an academic society’s board of directors? We understand the need for the university to protect itself and its faculty, but we want to be sure that faculty members are provided a limited and reasonable list of things to report that could be considered conflicts of interest.

The BOT continues their push to ban “sexual, romantic, amorous, and/or dating” relationships with students. The current CBA language already bans sexual relationships where a supervisory or evaluative relationship exists. We are concerned about including vague terms like “romantic” or “amorous.” Even the definition of “dating” can vary. Is going out for coffee with a student a date? Some might think so. Like the BOT, we abhor exploitation. But since nonconsensual sexual relationships and supervisory/evaluative ones are already prohibited and, of course, sexual harassment is also prohibited by our contract and by law, we wonder what exactly is to be gained by the BOT’s proposed change. We are unaware of cases of faculty sexual misbehavior at FSU that the current CBA language permits. Recent cases have been about faculty violating provisions in the contract; enforcement, not new restrictions, is the issue.

The next bargaining session is scheduled for Wednesday, June 23, from 2:00–5:00.

Bargaining sessions are open to faculty, and negotiations in the past have benefited from faculty attendance. There is definitely strength in numbers, and we appreciate having you! If you would like to attend, please respond to this message and we will send you the Zoom link.

Regular updates can be found at our webpage: https://uff-fsu.org/

The key to a strong collective bargaining agreement is a strong membership base, so if you are not a member, please join! There has never been a more important time for us to stand together. https://uff-fsu.org/wp/join/

With best regards,

Michael Buchler

Professor of Music Theory

Vice President and Bargaining Team Member, UFF-FSU

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