Student groups launch ‘Where RU Barchi’ club

By Katie Park

Barchi

Photo by Tian Li |
Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi has become the motivating force behind the creation of “Where RU Barchi.” The club aims to improve interaction between Barchi and Rutgers students.

Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi has become the motivating force behind the creation of “Where RU Barchi.” The club aims to improve interaction between Barchi and Rutgers students.

Luma Hasan said after the Condoleezza Rice protests last May, the administration treated her “like a child” and gave the protestors a “dismissive” attitude.

But student and faculty relations have still been slow to develop, and several student groups have formed a coalition to demand greater communication from Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi.

Barchi’s lack of responsiveness halted the agendas of several student activist groups on campus, including Rutgers’ chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said Suraj Patel, a member of the organization.

It was the same for Kaila Boulware, a member of Women Organizing Against Harassment, whose group advocates for adding a more thorough sexual conviction vetting process when hiring prospective faculty and staff.

Luma Hasan said after the Condoleezza Rice protests last May, the administration treated her “like a child” and gave the protestors a “dismissive” attitude. But student and faculty relations have still been slow to develop, and several student groups have formed a coalition to demand greater communication from Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi.

Sivan Rosenthal, a member of Rutgers United Students Against Sweatshops, decided to combine several Rutgers student groups to start a group called “Where RU Barchi.”

The idea transitioned from conversation topic to fleshed-out organization at the first coalition meeting last week.

Rosenthal, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, formed “Where RU Barchi” as a movement to improve relations between Barchi and the Rutgers student body. The group wants Barchi to start holding regular office hours so students have institutional means to talk about campus issues.

She understands Barchi has many other obligations, especially since the University has joined the Big Ten, but she does not want the Big Ten to facilitate his growing disconnect from students.

“The coalition is, in part … ensuring students still have a voice in what’s happening in the changes that are being made [at Rutgers], especially since Barchi is the one making them,” she said.

Rosenthal mentioned he recently cut $2 million dollars from the library budget, a move that angered some student and faculty members.

WRUB wants to let the administration know that the changes being made to Rutgers should be relevant to students, she said, and that the changes should also have the approval of students.

“We want to make sure this University is for the students and not the donors,” she said.

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Rutgers standards and priorities must be re-evaluated

By Sidra Zia

According to the Targum’s Sept. 29 editorial “Big Ten, big bucks and big outrage,” Rutgers plans to spend $64.1 million over the next year on the Athletic Department in hopes of significant revenue. However, with this drastic action that is estimated to cost $183 million over the next nine years, according to economics professor Mark Killingsworth, it has shown its students and the watching world around it that it has lost sight of its priorities. Rutgers has shamelessly been using the façade of collective progression while clearly singling out athletics as far more important than any other department.

Not only does this decision point to Rutgers’ ignorance to recognize the elasticity of the sports business as well as the financial torrents that are caused by common administrative blunders (which Rutgers seems to have unique luck with), it points to Rutgers’ own failure to look at what’s really happening inside its classrooms. Clearly, the administration hasn’t analyzed the flaws of its own academic system — one that is supposedly designed to nurture morally upright intellectuals who are dedicated to service and the spreading of knowledge. Instead of doing things to propel an atmosphere that allows for the proper upbringing of these individuals, such as hiring tenured professors and funding research, it is avoiding the obvious notion that investment should be put where it is needed most. Rutgers has allocated hard-earned student tuition fees to an area that represents a mere extracurricular and luxury to most students on campus.

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Reclaim Rutgers Stephen J. Moorman

Professor in Neuroscience and Cell Biology department calls for respect from Rutgers President Barchi and Rutgers Governors. Medical school faculty has not had a raise in six years.

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Reclaim Rutgers Fatima Meadows

Wants a fair contract and respect for workers being disciplined at Rutgers.

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Reclaim Rutgers Mazhar Q Syed

Student support for fair contracts for faculty and staff from Mazhar Q. Syed, Poli Sci grad student

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Reclaim Rutgers Janice DiLella

URA-AFT’s Janice DiLella talks about what we want in bargaining and how staff should be treated.

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Rutgers on upswing, president declares

By Patricia Alex, Staff Writer, The Record.

Rutgers University President Robert L. Barchi on Friday said things are on the upswing and predicted bigger-than-expected payouts from the school’s participation in the Big Ten athletic conference — even as he was forced to again defend his controversial pick for athletic director.

Barchi’s annual State of the University address in New Brunswick came on the heels of news reports that Athletic Director Julie Hermann had made a tasteless remark about the Penn State sexual abuse scandal during a staff meeting last year.

Barchi seemed unconcerned about the remarks, saying they were “off the cuff.” He expressed confidence in Hermann’s leadership, which has been marked by some high-profile verbal miscues since her arrival last year.

[...]

Union members rallying outside the Rutgers Student Center on Friday.

VIOREL FLORESCU/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Union members rallying outside the Rutgers Student Center on Friday.

As Barchi spoke, about 50 members of unions representing nearly 20,000 Rutgers faculty and staff who are without a contract protested outside on College Avenue. The groups said they are coming off a three-year salary freeze that was coupled with increases in the amounts paid for medical insurance premiums.

Adrienne Eaton, of the Rutgers chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said the group has been offered raises of 1 percent for each of the next two years, followed by 1.25 percent in the third year.

“A lot of people are questioning [Rutgers'] priorities,” said Nat Bender, communications director with the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey. He said academics are suffering as resources are channeled to athletics.

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Barchi defends new budget among faculty protests

By Erin Petenko

Barchi

Photo by Tian Li | Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi responded to faculty’s complaints about compensation and contract bargaining policies at Friday’s senate meeting, held at the College Avenue Student Center.

[...]

In the Q&A period, David Hughes, a professor in the Department of Anthropology, said Barchi’s claim that faculty are the “heart and soul” of the University was not reflected in their salaries.

He said the median salary for full professors is in the 91st percentile, while salaries for associate professors are in the 94th percentile. Salaries for assistant professors were in the mid-range, 50th to 60th percentile.

In response to a question about retaining faculty and raising salaries, Barchi said he was trying to be responsive. But he could not guarantee anything.

“Every time you ask me to do something, I have to not do something else,” he said.

During the protest, Hughes said the funding for professors’ salaries should come from the University’s spending on athletics.

Hughes also challenged Rutgers’ spending on athletics, which he said also endangers students’ brain health.

“I believe that we’re not so cynical to exploit these young men’s bodies for profit,” he said. “Why are we doing this? Why are we putting their bodies, their cognitive abilities, at risk?”

He pointed to football head coach Kyle Flood’s recent contract extension as an example of overspending. Meanwhile, Rutgers cut the library budget for new books and databases.

Lucye Millerand, president of the Union of Rutgers Administrators, said many union members are taking home less than they did in 2008 when they factor in health care and pension costs. They have had a salary freeze for the past two years.

Rutgers has more than 15,000 staff members, including dining hall workers, library staff and the staff of academic departments, according to Rutgers official website.

The $1 billion Rutgers holds in reserve is the result of pay cuts to staff members, she said.

“That money was stolen from our pockets,” she said.

Stephen Moorman, associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is frustrated that Rutgers continues to refer to him and other faculty as “legacy [University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey]” staff members rather than full Rutgers professors.

The faculty at RBHS is negotiating separately for their contract with Rutgers. They are fighting over the compensation system, which Rutgers says should be based on productivity.

But Rutgers defines productivity in terms of numbers – the number of published works, the number of classes they teach or the amount they bring in for the clinic, he said.

The definition does not include the work they do outside of the office to prepare, or the value they bring teaching students in the clinic.

“The administration wants to computerize everything,” he said.

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Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand supporting union in video

By Patricia Alex, Staff Writer, The Record.

Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand – paralyzed in a 2010 tackle during a game – is appearing in a video released on Thursday in support of unionized workers who are bargaining for new contracts with the university.

Paralyzed former Rutger's football player Eric LeGrand.

Paralyzed former Rutger's football player Eric LeGrand.


”I hope the university will do the right thing and get these hard-working men and women the fair pay and decent benefits they deserve and have earned,” LeGrand said in the 30-second clip on YouTube.

LeGrand has been an ambassador for the university since his injury, making numerous public appearances. He credited the dedicated faculty and staff for helping him graduate after the devastating injury prevented him from attending classes.

Watch the video here.

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Video: Eric LeGrand Supports Fair Contracts for Rutgers Faculty and Staff

Ahead of Barchi State Of Rutgers Speech,“Reclaim Rutgers” Releases Video & Holds Rally

(New Brunswick, NJ) – Today, on the eve of President Robert Barchi’s State of the University address, former Scarlet Knights football player and Rutgers alumnus Eric LeGrand released a video in support of Reclaim Rutgers – a dynamic coalition representing unionized workers in tough contract negotiations with management. Tomorrow, immediately before Barchi speaks, faculty, staff, students, alumni and other allies will hold a rally at 12:30 p.m. echoing LeGrand’s call for fair contracts.

You can view the LeGrand video at http://youtu.be/LcAel-IQfS8

“Just like in football, where everyone has a role to play, Rutgers succeeds because of its tremendous team of top-notch faculty and staff,” said Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed playing football for the university and credits faculty and staff with helping him graduate. ”I hope the University will do the right thing and get these hard-working men and women the fair pay and decent benefits they deserve and have earned.”

In the 30-second clip, LeGrand details how – through video calls, emails and phone calls – Rutgers workers assisted him in getting ahead in life. LeGrand often speaks about how he learned an enormous amount from his professors – many of whom went beyond the call of duty to help him succeed after he was severely injured and unable to attend classes.

Unions representing more than 20,000 workers are currently in contract talks with the university. Reclaim Rutgers and its allies are calling on Barchi and Rutgers to:

*Tackle student debt – by making tuition more affordable
*Respect faculty and staff – by bargaining in good faith for fair contracts immediately
*Restore public funding – by working with students, faculty, staff and the community to demand increased advocacy from management for more funding
*Focus on fundamentals. Teaching, research, service and patient care are all core parts of Rutgers mission. The university should stop diverting precious dollars from this core mission to subsidize athletics

“The very same week Rutgers guaranteed the football coach a $3.4 million raise, management offered faculty what amounts to a pay cut, while refusing to pay for library fees that amount to less than one-third the coach’s raise,” said Deepa Kumar, Associate Professor, Journalism and Media Studies. “This is a gross example of management’s skewed priorities.”

“Our members lost millions of dollars in pay from Rutgers ‘salary freezes’ between 2009 and now,” said Darlene Smith, Exec VP Union of Rutgers Administrators-AFT staff union. “On top of that, we’re paying thousands more each year to our health insurance and pension plans. As a result, we’re taking home less in our paychecks than we did in 2008. As a Rutgers alumna and long-time dedicated worker, I’m extremely disappointed with the hard-line that university management is taking in contract negotiations. We are taking action to reclaim Rutgers from management’s misplaced priorities.”

“As a result of the UMDNJ merger, Rutgers University’s mission now includes healthcare and depends on those professionals who provide cutting-edge research, community services and quality care to our communities,” said Bernie Gerard, VP of Health Professionals & Allied Employees (HPAE). “If Dr. Barchi wants Rutgers to be a premier healthcare university, he must provide the same support, resources and commitment to such care that he does to Big Ten Football. That means listening to the voices of the healthcare experts in our current contract negotiations and working conditions that will enable Rutgers to recruit and retain the best staff.”

Tomorrow at 12:30 pm – immediately before President Barchi’s Address to the University Senate – a large group of Rutgers faculty, staff, students, alumni and allies will join together at the College Avenue Student Center in New Brunswick. They will be speaking out in support of fair contracts. While Barchi talks about how the State of the University is strong, Reclaim Rutgers will make sure he’s reminded it is the faculty and staff who make Rutgers the top-notch institution that New Jersey deserves. Barchi and the Board of Governors should respect these workers and come to the bargaining table in good faith.

You can sign the Reclaim Rutgers petition at www.ReclaimRutgers.org. Additionally, you can follow @ReclaimRutgers on twitter, and like it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/reclaimrutgers. And, again, you can view the Eric LeGrand video at http://youtu.be/LcAel-IQfS8

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