California Faculty Association

20 April 2015

The SJSU Campus Based Equity Plan:
A Promise, Not a Plan

The San José Chapter of CFA is pleased that the President and the Provost have announced an equity plan for faculty as stipulated in Article 31.12 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. We are encouraged by the Provost’s announcement at the April Senate meeting that this plan is but a first step in correcting the inequities in the faculty salary schedule. We note that administrators have been discussing this plan amongst themselves and with members of the Senate Executive Committee since November 2014. In February 2015 the Provost complied with the CSU-CFA contract and solicited CFA input.

For the first time in the last seven years, the administration on this campus has formally recognized that the faculty salary structure is riddled with inequities. Nevertheless, CFA finds the proposed plan to be lamentable in its delayed payment schedule, its meager funding, and its failure to address key inequities under the guise of an equity program.

According to the CSU-CFA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), the President at each campus is required to consult with CFA in devising an equity plan. At SJSU, this process of consultation never involved the President (though we assume he set the budget for the Equity Plan). In December 2014, CFA requested a database of faculty from which to calculate the magnitude of inversions and compression, and received these lists in mid-February. CFA’s meetings with administrators involved two informal conversations with the Provost in February and March, one visit to his office and a meeting with the AVP of Faculty Affairs. At this last meeting, in mid-March, the administration simply asked how CFA would prioritize equity payments for the list of affected categories of faculty that we provided them (the CFA proposal is appended to this letter).

The CFA proposal assumed that an equity plan should begin on the same date as the new contract, 1 July 2014. It incorporated the Provost’s idea of a minimum for Assistant and Associate Professors, and added a series of other fair and equitable items of concern to faculty. Our analysis of the salary structure indicated that many Associate and Full Professors at SJSU were above the SSI max and had accumulated many years of service without pay increases. The pattern of pay for lecturers and coaches was similarly distorted by inversions and compression. Therefore our proposal sought to address this widespread structural inequity.

The administration plan issued to the campus April 6th deviates considerably from the CFA proposal and from the plans announced at other CSU campuses. The plan, constrained by the administration’s budget priorities, appears to result from discussion by the Provost with a variety of faculty. According to the published agendas, the President and Provost first raised equity with members of the Academic Senate’s Executive Committee in November 2014. At the February 23rd meeting, the Provost explicitly solicited their suggestions, and if they submitted any, they should publish them. While promoting the announced plan, the Provost has indicated that he spoke with many members of the faculty about how to design an equity program. While we applaud the Provost’s survey of faculty opinions, the CFA’s proposal is the only one that benefits from an analysis of data, the same data used by his office to develop the announced plan.

The plans announced thus far at CSUs (San Diego, Fresno, Chico) are retroactive to 2014. As a result of its equity plan, San Diego State has already paid out checks to faculty, and other campuses are planning to pay out on their equity plans by June 2015. Meanwhile at SJSU, the President and Provost are promising equity pay starting in July 2015, with nothing for 2014-15. The administration once again claims that budget considerations prevent them from paying for equity. Invoking the budget has become a thin reed on which to hang more delays in paying faculty for their work.

Any delay in the equity program adds to a decade of inequity. The recent reports issued by CFA about CSU spending on faculty and on administrators show a long-term preference for administrators over faculty, and for consistently underpaying faculty. (See Race to the Bottom.) If we look at San José State, between 2004 and 2013, average faculty salary has declined by $11,570 (in real dollars). A comparison of the changes in average annual faculty salaries with salaries of managers and supervisors (MPP) reveals that faculty pay rose by $4,456 between 2004 and 2014, as compared to an increase of $21,976 for the MPP employees. Additionally, faculty positions at SJSU have decreased by 2% while MPP positions have increased by 24% between 2004 and 2014. In the most recent report of a CSU faculty survey, 82% of those responding reported that they felt unfairly compensated and 80% indicated they would not recommend their job to students or colleagues. In the face of this reality, the SJSU administration has presented the faculty with yet more frustration.

The amount that the administration has promised to set aside ($800,000) is inadequate for creating equity in SJSU’s salary structure. We calculated that the CFA proposal would cost $3-4 million. CSU Fresno, a much smaller campus has established a plan funded at $1 million. Similarly, the smaller CSU Chico has established funding at $750,000, while San Diego State, a more comparable campus, has dedicated $1.2 million.

Finally, the announced equity plan reveals the administrators’ very narrow conception of who counts as faculty. In hiring, CSU administrators have consistently prioritized adjunct lecturers over tenure line faculty. The announced Campus Based Equity plan is a fantasy that asserts that “faculty” only includes tenure line faculty. According to the databases of faculty employees supplied by Faculty Affairs to CFA, the head count of tenure line faculty employees is ~650, that of lecturers and coaches is ~4000. Roughly fifty percent of the instruction on campus is conducted by lecturers and coaches. Moreover, in spite of the fact that the staff union, CSUEU, chose not to negotiate an equity program, the administration has set aside $500,000 to address equity in staff salaries rather than dedicating that money to their contractual obligation toward “all” faculty. Why has President Qayoumi volunteered to provide half a million dollars for staff raises, while leaving faculty lecturers and coaches with nothing?

We appeal to the Provost and the President to amend their announced plan as follows: (1) make it retroactive to 1 July 2014, (2) increase the level of funding to something that at least matches what is being implemented at comparable campuses (e.g., SDSU), and (3) include all members of the instructional faculty who make this university an excellent place for students to fulfill their educational aspirations.

SJSU chapter of CFA proposed the following Campus Based Equity:

  • All adjustments take effect as of 1 July 2014;
  • A minimum salary of $65,000 for Assistant Professors, and of $72,000 for Associate Professors;
  • Correct all inversion between ranks and within department such that no Associate is paid less than any Assistant, and no Full is paid less than any Associate;
  • In small departments (five or fewer faculty for example) correct inversions between rank using a benchmark of a median or average for each rank within the college [specifics to be negotiated];
  • To address compression, a year of service increase of 0.2% for each year of service within rank for all Associates and Fulls;

For Lecturers and Coaches:

  • Correct all inversions between rank within departments for all lecturers and coaches;
  • A year of service increase of 0.1% for each year of service, calculated as one year consisting of 24 units of teaching.