TU-AAUP/Faculty Association Resolution on Furloughs
This resolution was submitted to the University Senate and approved in October 2009 and again, unanimously, in May 2010. Should furloughs arise again for next academic year, we will of course resubmit the resolution to the Senate; but in the event of more furloughs, the TU-AAUP will plan additional responses aimed at communicating the costs of such measures to higher education.
Whereas the TU-AAUP/Faculty Association recognizes and appreciates the skill and success with which President Caret, Vice President Sheehan, and the Towson Administration have balanced the Towson budget and handled previous budget cuts made to the USM and Towson; and
Whereas we recognize and appreciate the legal and political constraints which determine how the President and Administration may address the current budget cuts and guidelines for furloughs or temporary salary reductions suggested by the USM and the Board of Regents; and
Whereas we recognize and appreciate the extent to which the President and the Towson Administration have implemented shared governance in such budget decisions in the past;
We nevertheless strongly urge President Caret, Vice President Sheehan, and the Towson Administration to heed once again the principles of shared governance and include the suggestions and concerns of faculty and other members of the university community in deciding how best to implement the current set of budget cuts, including furloughs or temporary salary reductions.
Furthermore, we strongly urge that one aspect of the plan include closing the institution (and thus putting into practice a university-wide furlough/administrative leave day) for at least one day during Fall or Spring semester.
We recommend this action not lightly, or out of self-interest.
We feel that the quality of education our students receive is the most important aspect of Towson University. It is undeniable that faculty furloughs or administrative leave days affect the educational product that we are able to deliver to our students. While our time spent in the classroom is the most obvious and manifest aspect of our role as teachers, much of our pedagogical work happens also outside the classroom, in advising, meeting with students, preparing class lectures and lesson plans, serving on academic committees (such as curriculum committees, steering committees, and other aspects of university governance), and conducting the research that keeps the information we impart to our students lively, up-to-date, and on the cutting edge of our disciplines. These essential aspects of instruction are lost when furlough/leave is imposed on faculty on non-instructional days.
To provide any student with a lesser education simply because of system-wide, state, federal, or even global economic crisis simply is not an option.
We recognize that while our ethical position as teachers makes us reluctant to lose any instructional time with our students, we also recognize that losing non-instructional days also negatively impacts the quality of education that we can deliver to our students.
Having faculty choose random days on which to take their furlough/leave helps to hide the very real educational costs of imposing such leave on faculty, even on non-instructional days.
We therefore feel a moral imperative to mark symbolically the cost of budget cuts to higher education by imposing a university-wide closing for one day. Closing down all aspects of the institution on one day during the semester can help raise public awareness of the costs of higher education and the importance of those costs for the future of Maryland and the nation as a whole.
Return to Fall 2010 Newsletter