The University of Akron board of trustees met Thursday in executive session after the board’s finance and administration committee met for three hours in executive session. UA President Scott Scarborough was present at the meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel on West Market Street in Fairlawn.
Ted Mallo, general counsel and assistant board secretary, said the executive session concerned personnel, legal issues, collective bargaining and real property. No formal action was taken Thursday.
Two representatives, Bill and Willie Funk of the R. William Funk & Associates, a search firm out of Dallas, attended the meeting. Paul Herold, the secretary of the board and special assistant to the president, said the firm will be talking to the board about UA’s search for a new provost.
Another item most likely discussed behind closed doors was negotiations between UA and the Akron-AAUP, the union that represents more than 600 members of the UA faculty.
The two sides have been in negotiations since December 2014. The current collective bargaining agreement, which ran from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2015, was extended after it expired. Both sides agreed to a day-to-day extension of the agreement until negotiations end.
The last negotiating meeting was held Feb. 17. So far, there have been 23 full bargaining sessions and more than 20 subcommittee meetings throughout the process to discuss specific sections of the contract such as health care, intellectual property, distance learning and professional development leave.
The Akron-AAUP leadership, meanwhile, has called an emergency chapter meeting for Tuesday and Wednesday to also discuss the status of negotiations and a potential strike authorization vote. Those informational meetings will be held from noon to 2 p.m. in Room 312 at the Student Union.
“We would like to conclude negotiations as quickly as possible,” said John Zipp, professor and Akron-AAUP chapter president.
The AAUP leadership is calling the university’s salary proposal “insufficient” and said the increased costs for health-care plans and phase-out timetable for retiree, spouse and dependent coverage are “punitive, unnecessary and indefensible.”
According to the AAUP website, at stake is “the quality of education at the University of Akron and the University’s misplaced priorities. We believe that the University administration must prioritize the educational mission of the institution in a way that places academic instruction and student learning first. Faculty who are fairly and competitively compensated is essential to this goal.”
Zipp also disputed a statement by Jonathan Pavloff, chairman of the board of trustees, when Pavloff blamed the 50-2 vote of no confidence in Scarborough on failed contract talks with the faculty. He pointed out that of the 63 members of the Faculty Senate, only three are members of the AAUP leadership.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.