Staff neglected in campus referendum
The University Planning Advisory Council asked faculty to weigh in once again on the newest proposal for the merging of colleges within SF State.
However, despite faculty input, another professional population on campus that is heavily impacted by the reorganization feels ignored—the staff.
“No matter what Corrigan says, he has zero respect for staff,” said Vicki Anderson, who works in the College of Creative Arts and is a shop steward for the California State University Employees Union.
As the end of the semester approaches, many staff members are unclear on where they will end up after the restructuring, and whether or not they will even have jobs in the fall.
“(UPAC) didn’t say how they are going to implement the plan, they just made the plan,” Anderson said. “It has everyone in a panic.”
Many staff members have raised issues with the transparency and the role of the staff in the decision-making process.
“There seems to be a true lack of communication from the top down,” said Matthew McDearmid, a staff member in the psychology department. “It doesn’t feel like it’s a money issue. It feels like it’s more of a political attack, because at the end of the day, staff are the ones that get laid off.”
UPAC’s main focus has been on the curricular effects of restructuring, and the implications for staff have not been evaluated yet, according to Patty Joost, executive assistant to the dean of the College of Education and currently the only staff member appointed to UPAC.
“(Corrigan) is trying to be visible and show his concern for people’s needs,” Joost said.
Staff members in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences say they feel especially vulnerable because UPAC’s proposals have consistently called for the dissolution of their college.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen to us and that causes a lot of anxiety,” said Ken Piper, computing coordinator for the College of BSS.
Currently, 33 staff members work in the College of BSS. Some of the staff positions are temporary and others are permanent. For permanent staff, the University has a contractual obligation to find them another position, Anderson said.
In emails to faculty and staff, President Corrigan maintained that lay-offs will be avoided at all costs. And in its Jan. 20, 2011 report, UPAC stated that the reorganization of the University was the best way to minimize lay-offs.
Members of the staff can be transferred to any part of the University at any time as long as they stay within their work classification, said Michael Garrity, former-president of the SF State chapter of CSUEU. Classifications include clerical, technical and academic support. However, it is unclear what will happen to temporary staff, and some worry about the seniority issues if they are reassigned
Joost said any staff member with a permanent position will keep their job. Only staff working in the dean’s office would be reassigned and other staff members would transfer with their respective departments.
Garrity said the reason staff have not been included in the referendums is because they do not have influence over curricular or programmatic changes. Reorganization aims to cut administrative costs by demoting the college dean and associate dean to regular faculty positions with a deduction in salary.
The possibility of lay-offs is unlikely because many staff members have been lost to attrition, but it is still too early to know, Bremer said.
“The work doesn’t go away,” she said.