CWA Local 4730 issued the following statement on Feb. 23 in response to IU President Michael McRobbie's State of the University.
Indiana University continues to ignore the needs of its support staff. While many departments have acted responsibly and creatively to avoid cutting staffing levels, it has only tempered the damage caused by having a workforce that is constantly overworked while being chronically underpaid.
The October 2009 Board of Trustees meeting provided ample evidence that IU is willing to continue to fund buildings and faculty hires but not provide for the financial needs of its current staff.
1) Virtually all of $28.1 million in new revenue is being put into new faculty hires.
2) $144 million for new building construction.
3) $1.5 million was approved to connect two buildings, knowing it is a short-term fix with little or no long-term value to that department or the university as a whole.
Yes, at the February 2010 Board of Trustees meeting, President Michael McRobbie reported that the university has reached its goal of cost cutting -- but at what cost to its staff?
1) Replacing every two jobs lost on campus with only one staff person to do the work
2) Funds for approximately 100 faculty hires.
3) No raises for staff, with only a handful getting a onetime $500 bonus that IU refused to put onto base pay.
4) The reorganization of the cyclotron, with job losses, but only after they are $18 million in debt.
5) The loss of over 100 jobs that will not return.
6) The rejection of federal stimulus funds, which could have been used to benefit staff -- had we been given input into the decision-making process.
7) A guarantee that health insurance premiums will be rising dramatically for staff in the coming year.
Any attempts to justify these budget actions and goals based on the current economy fall under the weight of IU's own hypocrisy, most clearly illustrated by the fact that:
1) IU repeatedly claimed it could not take on more recurring baseline expense, such as a raise for staff, yet adds huge numbers of faculty, which all entail great amounts of recurring baseline expense for several years to come.
2) When State Senator Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, threatened to cut funding for building projects, IU miraculously managed to come up with money to rebate to students earning good grades.
All of these facts paint a clear picture: Indiana University places far more value on buildings and rapid growth than it does on its support staff, and no amount of claims that "the economy made them do it" can change the fact that they "find" the money for what they, or the Legislature, think they should spend it on.