Earlier this morning, you received an email from the Office of Human Resources entitled “COVID-19 Incentive Program,” announcing the details of an Early Retirement and Enhanced Separation Plan that has been approved by the Board of Trustees. If you have not yet had a chance to review the plan, we suggest that you take the time to do so; even if you are not of retirement age, you may be eligible for the early separation portion of the plan. As you review it, we encourage you to take time to consider the potential widespread ramifications of this plan on the education we offer and on our university community:
Prior to the announcement, the Executive Committee of PSU-AAUP were shown the details of the plan and asked to review it in light of our Collective Bargaining Agreement. To be clear, we were not offered an opportunity to negotiate or otherwise make operant suggestions or modifications to any aspect of this plan, because we were not afforded an opportunity to speak directly to those making decisions about it–the Board of Trustees. In our response, we found no compelling contractual issues that would prevent the Board of Trustees from offering this plan to our bargaining unit.
However, we are deeply concerned about the foreseeable consequences of a large number of tenure track faculty choosing to end their careers at Plymouth State University (and, indeed, throughout the entire University System of New Hampshire), without being replaced. In our meeting with the Provost last week, we were told that the BOT has already stated they will NOT refill any positions that are vacated through this plan–neither with tenure track nor other full-time faculty. Make no mistake about it: this is nothing short of a highly incentivized, voluntary retrenchment program. Through the size of the incentives involved, the Board of Trustees has signaled to us their goal of eliminating as many full-time faculty and what they consider underperforming programs as possible.
More than ever, we need your help, and your voice! As with several issues before us, we need to hear from you in order to best understand how this will impact our students, our programs, our colleagues, and the University as a whole. To this end, we have scheduled and announced a virtual Chapter meeting–open to all tenure-track faculty–to be held via Zoom on Tuesday, June 30, 9 AM. An agenda and Zoom meeting link will be sent out later today. Please plan to attend.
In addition, whether you can attend the meeting or not, we would like your feedback. To that end, we are developing a short survey and will email you a link to it in the coming days.
In solidarity and on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Plymouth State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors,
President, Plymouth State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (PSU-AAUP)