Full-time faculty at the University of Akron will receive raises of as much as 2 percent under a contract extension trustees approved Monday.
The raise will add $1.3 million to the UA payroll at the same time officials grapple with a budget shortfall.
UA Chief Financial Officer David Cummins will submit a revised budget to trustees in October that reflects the added faculty costs. He’s developing that budget now.
“We went to each VP and asked them to take on an 8 percent budget cut and what the ramifications of that would be,” Cummins said. “Now my folks are going back to them to make sure we understand what they’re offering up and to make sure that their math works.”
Last winter, UA officials told staffers the university had to cut $27.6 million to meet a budget shortfall.
Administrators came up with $30 million in cuts that included no raises for staff and eliminating about 100 positions, half of which already were empty. Those cuts would have been enough if enrollment had stayed steady or dropped only a couple of percentage points.
Enrollment declined 5.9 percent this fall, however, far more than the university originally anticipated.
That plunged administrators into a new round of budget reductions to bring the total to at least $40 million — at least $10 million above what already has been saved.
“At least” are important words, as UA’s financial picture remains a moving target, Cummins cautioned.
“It’s a little too early to tell” if more personnel cuts are in the offing, he said.
Meanwhile, Steve Weeks, a biology professor and president of the UA chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said the university came to the AAUP with the prospect of the 2 percent increase.
“On the one hand they say they’re super strapped, and on the other hand they offered this to us, so I don’t know what they’re thinking,” he said.
He said faculty overwhelmingly supported the increase.
The 2 percent raise will be broken into two parts: a 1.5 percent increase for 2013-2014 and a 0.5 percent hike for 2012-2013, with both based on merit.
The AAUP and university will reopen negotiations at this time next year on wages for 2014-2015. The contract runs to June 30, 2015.
All other benefits and working conditions remain the same.
The contract does not cover adjunct, or part-time, faculty, who make up more than 60 percent of UA’s teaching staff.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at 330-996-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.