February 11, 2013
Who is valued at X – administrators!
Senior administrators at St. Francis Xavier University claim the dismal financial situation they are facing is the result of government cutbacks and declining enrollments. According to the StFX Association of University Teachers (StFXAUT), however, administrators have consistently refused to acknowledge and take responsibility for their own role in creating the problem.
Through a request to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act by the AUT, it has come to light that generous performance bonuses are being paid to the second tier of management at X — the 17 directors on the university’s payroll whose combined bonuses between 2006-2010 totaled $308,744. The annual bonuses ranged from $3,500 to $15,000.
In 2010 alone, the university gave out $209,383 in performance bonuses. This included $76,383 in bonuses to university directors, as well as $133,000 in bonuses to five senior administrators on top of their six figure salaries. These bonuses were paid at a time when X was racking up millions in short-term and long-term debt.
The request for information also revealed that administrative stipends more than doubled between 2006 and 2010 from $50,576 to $105,996 for a total of $342,705 during this period.
“In view of these numbers, it is hard to accept the explanation administrators are giving us for the recurring financial crisis we’ve been experiencing,” said Peter McInnis, president of the StFXAUT.
“The university president has defended continuing to pay bonuses to senior administrators on the basis that they are earned based on performance. Our question is has the Board of Governors been privy to any clearly communicated performance criteria for any administrator from the level of director and above? We certainly have not.
“When you consider the difference between our two sides is only about $200,000, it appears clear the university is more interested in paying high salaries and bonuses to its administrators and managers, than to the academic workers who have a direct relationship with students and fulfill the academic mission of the university.”
Over the years, administrators have created a cheaper, second tier of labour by hiring more and more contract and part-time academic workers at X, the most vulnerable group in the union representing 36% of the membership. They work side by side with full-time faculty, carry the same teaching load, but have no job security and no benefits.
“The university gets the benefit of their expertise at much less cost,” McInnis said. “By giving these academic workers a different status, administrators devalue their work with students. They also create an unstable labour category that has an impact on academic freedom and members’ ability to play an active public role because they are intimidated to speak for fear of losing their jobs.”
McInnis said, “X is asking its employees to pay for management errors and excesses compounded over the last several years. This includes the 200 residence rooms that now sit empty while two new residences are under construction. Who decided they were a priority?”
One of the changes the union is seeking is a greater say in the governance of the university, particularly in how resources are allocated. “StFX administrators are continuously seeking ways to strengthen their managerial privileges, resulting in more unilateralism and less collaboration and transparency which is causing a growing culture of disrespect for the contributions of academic staff,” McInnis added. “This has to change.”
The StFXAUT Executive says its negotiating team is prepared to resume negotiations with administrators to resolve the strike.
You can follow ongoing developments in the strike on the StFXAUT website www.stfxaut.ca
and via Facebook and Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/StFXAUT and https://twitter.com/StFXAUT