Statement from President Gary L. Miller on arbitration decision09/18/2020
When I arrived in Akron last October, the Board of Trustees and I agreed that our top priority was to work together with the University community to ensure a sustainable financial future for the University. Our efforts to do this began immediately through an accelerated faculty-led strategic planning process which produced an exciting draft strategy. The COVID pandemic dramatically changed our plans. It required us to resolve an eventual $50 million fiscal problem in a single fiscal year. Using the means available to us through the AAUP Collective Bargaining Agreement and with collaboration from other bargaining units as well as the rest of the campus community, we took the very difficult steps to reduce the FY21 budget by $44 million. This included a strategic and well-planned reduction in the number of faculty.
The Akron AAUP challenged our use of Section 12, Article 15 of the Bargaining Agreement to make the reductions in faculty, a challenge that was resolved today by an Arbitrator. We are grateful for this decision and look forward to moving ahead with our plans to secure the financial future of the University. We will immediately halt the faculty retrenchment process that was recently initiated.
The Arbitrator did, however, rule that Article 15, Sections 9 and 10, relating to recall rights and right of first refusal for part-time teaching, still need to be followed. The University agreed to include these sections in the Tentative Agreement that the Board of Trustees approved in July, and we will follow the Arbitrator’s decision.
The University of Akron is an exceptional public urban research university. We have been keeping promises to our students and this community for 150 years. In the face of great uncertainty, the faculty and staff of the University remain deeply committed to our students and the Akron community.