The payroll situation
As you may know, the payroll situation at EMU is broken. Over the last academic year, the number of faculty and other employees who are not paid correctly is alarmingly high. The reason for this situation is the paper
and obsolete payroll process. The Provost believes that a 15
20% error rate is expected in this environment. Would you be ok in your businesses with 20% of your employees not being paid correctly? We met with the Provost a few weeks ago, and made several recommendations. It did not appear as if those recommendations were going to be implemented.
President Martin, we blame you for this entire situation. I pleaded with you to come to our meeting; you refused to do so. You simply do not believe that paying people properly is a priority for you. Your reasons for not getting personally involved are puzzling, and until you acknowledge that the problem is the people that personally report to you, the situation will not get resolved. You simply will not –or do not –understand how not getting paid or getting paid too small an amount is a critical issue for this university. We are going to investigate every avenue available to us to make sure you make this a priority.
Faculty Input and Shared Governance
Recently, it was announced that there would be 37 faculty searches in 2013-14. This seems like a decent number, and we are always happy when faculty will be added. The problem is that we had no input into the process. We have no idea why certain areas were chosen over others; is there a long
term plan for the fact that 1/3 of our faculty is over the age
of 60? Please sit down and discuss these issues with us. I urged you, President Martin and Provost Schatzel, to form a committee to study this matter. I am still awaiting your response.
In addition, as you know, the state appropriation is now predicated in part on graduation rates. The graduation rates at EMU are at a level that leaves us losing significant dollars. This means that our tuition is higher than it needs to be. We have to develop a plan to deal with this. I mentioned this earlier this year, pleading with you, President Martin, to include the faculty as we work together to develop strategies to improve our graduation rates. Do you really think you have all the answers? You
have been here 5 years, and the rate has not moved. Maybe, just maybe, if you include the faculty in this process, you will find that we have some useful suggestions.
Again, President Martin, I have pleaded with you to include faculty in the decision making process at EMU. You claim to be for shared governance, but your actions do not always support that contention. As we have stated over and over and over again, you get to make the decisions; however, you have to ask us first. When are you going to acknowledge this?
One of the critical issues for the faculty is the misplaced priorities of this administration. We have proven, through the HEIDI (Higher Education Institutional Data Inventory) data, that EMU has a bloated administration, using metrics such as the % of salary devoted to administration, and institutional support as a % of total expenses. Another issue is athletics, and one conclusion is clear: EMU wastes money on intercollegiate athletics. Nate Silver recently performed an analysis of the support that every D
I program has (120 play football). Using an empirical analysis of
attendance and other facets (online searches, newspaper coverage, etc.), Silver concluded that Eastern Michigan University
has the least support of any DI program in the country. He estimated that there are at most 65,000 fans of EMU in the country. We were dead last (OSU was first with 3M, UM was 2nd). In other words, President Martin, your stated dream of filling Rynearson stadium on a regular basis is a dream –it will NEVER happen.
In addition, the USA Today database reports the percentage of athletic spending that is subsidized by the General Fund (student fees and general fund). EMU is at 82.1%, which is the highest rate of any public D1 football school in the country. If you include D1 basketball, there are 227 public D1 schools, and our 82.1% is the 26th highest (we are 201 out of 227). Why is this the case?
•Our attendance is pathetic
•Athletics raises virtually no money
•Our expenses are high
•Our students bear the brunt of this subsidy
This situation is not acceptable, and is never going to get better. The empirical evidence makes this clear. I urge the Board to hold this administration’s feet to the fire by using the percentage
subsidy as a metric they are judged by; if athletics is going to continue at this level, then athletics needs to support itself to a much greater extent that it currently does.
Overall, we, the faculty care greatly about EMU; we will be hear long after all of you leave your roles at EMU: please include us as you make decisions to make this university a better place.