Number 3 – May 5, 2020

A publication for faculty, campus staff, and students by the independent
Rank-and-File Temple (RAFT) Caucus

Temple has more than enough money to pay us and pay us well

Temple University is a wealthy institution. Its annual operating expenses are ~$1.3 billion (excluding “patient care”); it’s been generating a nice annual “profit” (of ~$100 million). Not bad, for a non-profit institution!

You’d be forgiven, however, for not considering it wealthy. After all, you know how it treats its workers. There’s a tension at Temple’s core: those who generate its value are not valued themselves. But for the administration this “contradiction” poses no problem. Indeed, they would heighten it further: threatening us with pay-cuts and termination; refusing to extend “benefits”; “negotiating” a terrible contract; forcing us to do more with less.

Yes, the administration is taking a 10-20% “pay-cut” (excluding bonuses). But what is 10% of an obscene salary? What’s the difference between ~$670,000 and ~$530,000, when you factor in the “extra” annual compensation of ~$200,000? President Englert and his baker’s dozen of vice presidents make ~$6.8 million (collectively). No one comes to Temple because of the administration! And yet the administration has job security, benefits, and more-than-adequate compensation. Why can’t we say the same for all faculty and staff?

Austerity is a choice. Temple has more than enough money to pay us and pay us well. Temple’s administration demands a 5% budget cut (2019-2020 budget was ~$1.3 billion, 5% of which is ~$64 million). It’s absurd for the administration to claim that it can no longer afford those whose work enriches Temple. There are options other than austerity. Here’s what we propose:

  1. Use the endowment! In 2016, Temple’s “endowment” exceeded $500 million. Presently, it seems to be valued at ~$650 million. On the model of the “Fox Fund,” TU workers should manage democratically all of the endowment. If they can give students partial control of the endowment, they can give workers total control of it. Why should anyone other than us control it? Temple also has an “Emergency Fund.” Does this seem like an “emergency” to you all? Let’s use that fund to ensure that no one is fired.
  2. Temple is receiving $28 million from the CARES Act. By law, 50% of it must benefit students. What better way to “benefit students” than to retain all presently-employed faculty, whether full-time or part-time? What better way to benefit students than to compensate adequately faculty and staff? Temple is “freezing tuition” for next year (in-state tuition is ~$16,000, out-of-state tuition ~$29,000). This is not enough. Why has the administration been increasing tuition? Why indeed, if not to pad a surplus which (surprise!) never seems to “trickle down” to students or workers? We would not only lower tuition but (eventually) abolish it outright. In sum, half of the $28 million should be used to lower tuition, the other half to give raises to all faculty and staff.
  3. The combined budgets of the offices of the president, the provost, the vice president, CFO, and Treasurer is ~$37 million (CLA’s budget is ~$78 million). How can they justify their budget, if all they can cook up is austerity? Here’s an idea: slash all administrative compensation by 90% (saving ~$6 million). Then slash the budgets of the above offices by two-thirds. Along with the CARES Act, this will make up for the entire “budget shortfall” and leave extra for worker raises.

That’s how to run a public university! For more, visit our website.

And please take our short survey on job security concerns and organizing possibilities during this crisis!

Finally, reach out to RAFT to get involved!

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