The official APSCUF press release, full of quotes, etc, is just out about the latest on retrenchment: six people in three departments at Kutztown have received formal letters terminating their service with the university as of May 2011. HR departments across the system are sending job vacancy notices to APSCUF, as required by Article 29 of the contract.
It’s a constant, painful reminder that some of our people no longer have the job they thought they secured years ago. The worst part of it is that it is all so illogical. In his email to the faculty, Kutztown president Cevallos said it was done due to “meet our projected deficit in years to come” — well, last Wednesday the system’s Board of Governor’s approved 2011-12 budgets and Kutztown’s spreadsheet shows a $225,000 surplus, yes, I wrote that right, SURPLUS! Of course this is fictive (as all budgets are to some extent), since on the same sheet of paper (page 33 of the board report; you can find it on the KU APSCUF blog) it shows a 0 balance for 2009-10.
Since the audited books for KU for years have shown surpluses, including $500k for 08-09, the artificial nature of that 0 hints at the big lie. As Ken’s earlier blog indicated, the standard should be financial exigency, which the AAUP has defined in the authoritative document for such situations (known as “the Red Book”).
Kutztown University is not facing exigence: to face that, they would have to had years of deficit spending — which they haven’t had — or a decreased enrollment to the point of unviability (KU enrollment is up approx. 17% in the last decade). Annual surpluses and student growth are not “exigency.” We don’t know what the answer is at Kutztown — management says it’s financial even as they ignore their own published numbers. But we do know that doing away with tenure without real financial or programmatic reasons reeks of a violation of academic freedom. It also reeks of inhumanity as six people are asked to uproot their lives and leave behind the years of commitment to a whole body of students. It makes no sense.