Perspectives on the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program provided by the current and former Salem Chapter presidents and members of the Executive Committee at Salem State University
In support of voting YES on VSIP:
- We take it as our responsibility to provide this generous offer to our members. The offer is being made to AFSCME, APA, and non-unit (administrators) personnel. It seems unfair not to extend it to faculty and librarians.
- President Keenan has assured us that there will be no retrenchment of faculty and librarians for 2019-2020. However, if we keep facing deficits and declining enrollment, retrenchment will have to be considered in future years. The administration is hoping to reduce the campus work force by 52 positions (that is 52 in total including AFSCME, APA, administrators, and MSCA). If the MSCA votes Yes, and if Salem State reaches this reduction, then retrenchment is put off.
- This program is voluntary, while retrenchment is not. We would rather see faculty and librarians choosing to leave rather than being told to leave.
- If we don’t reduce personnel voluntarily and retrenchment takes place, it is done by seniority: the first to go are part-time employees, then tenure-track, then newly tenured, on up to more senior people. We most definitely do not want this to happen. See Article X of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for a complete explanation.
- While it may hurt some departments to lose some senior faculty, the administration has committed to offering the program to people by seniority, by department, and by operational needs. The administration pledges not to cripple any department by letting a substantial number of people from its ranks go.
- If this separation program works at this juncture, it may be made available again in 2025 and beyond when there will be a large demographic dip for 18-year olds.
- This program has already been bargained statewide and could potentially be offered at other campuses if implemented at Salem State.
In support of voting No on VSIP:
1. We should be pursuing a political strategy to increase funding for the State Universities, including passage of the Resolution in Support of Increased Funding for Higher Education.
2. Students could be harmed if VSIP reduces the quality of their education, the gains in student graduation rates.
3. Departments and programs could be destabilized by VSIP to the point of unsustainability.
4. The larger finances of the institution should be the focus, especially performing a salaried employee audit, rather than VSIP.
5. Inclusive decision-making should be valued. We should not accept the way the administration is framing this conversation around finances as reflected in VSIP.