UCF faculty awarded 2 percent raise
Impasse ends after months of debate
Published: Sunday, January 26, 2014
Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014 00:01
After months of back and forth, an agreement was finally reached to raise faculty wages.
The UCF Faculty Union, Board of Trustees and United Faculty of Florida reached a settlement of a 2-percent raise for all faculty, which quadrupled the original 0.5-percent raise once promised to them.
Alumni called for a deal to keep faculty pay competitive while still allowing for employment of qualified faculty. Originally, the Labor and Compensation committee recommended a raise of 0.5 percent for faculty, and the slight increase was met with dismay, especially when the faculty was vying for a 3-percent raise back in November.
Labor and Compensation committee chairman John Sprouls, made the faculty salary announcement last November, noting the slight increase.
“The faculty deserves more,” he said.
According to US News & World Report, UCF has a student to teacher ratio of 32:1, a ratio that is much higher than University of Florida at 21:1 or Florida State University at 26:1. Each faculty member has to deal with more students and is compensated less per student.
To help address the problem, alumni began the More Than 1 Percent campaign to push for raises above 0.5 percent. Alumni, alongside representatives from UCF and UFF, held meetings and began a petition, registered at change.org, which has gathered 1,234 signatures.
The social media team, with the help of Nina Perez, who is an alumni of both the English and women’s studies programs at UCF, started a Facebook page called UFF MoreThan1 to gather support for the cause and to help people learn about it; they also had a trending hashtag on Twitter to promote the cause.
Over time, the movement gathered support from the wider Orlando community.
Supporters, including UCF psychology alumna Nicole Elinoff, were adamant in their support. She said she was online every day announcing the countdown to the 1,000-signature goal, encouraging people to spread the word.
“This past year, President Hitt received a $118,000 raise for UCF’s improvement and growth. Well, now it’s faculty’s turn to get what they deserve for all of their hard work to make UCF a success,” she said.
They intended to gather support and present the petition to Hitt alongside the UCF Board of Trustees at their annual meeting last Thursday. However, a day before the meeting, the UCF Faculty Union, United Faculty of Florida and the Board of Trustees agreed on a new 2-percent raise for all faculty.
“I wasn’t surprised by the result, though I was of course excited beyond reason. I think our leaders often need help in being reminded of the right thing to do, and who better than the hard-working faculty and the larger community who has benefited from their labor and careful attention,” Perez said.
She said she never doubted that they would find success.
“There were so many amazing people working on this campaign -- how could we have had anything but success?” Perez said.
Perez said she is pleased with the change and all the support they saw, but with this success she is still looking forward to helping stir up more trouble to benefit the university and its faculty beyond nominal aspects such as wage.
“My biggest hope is that the MoreThan1 campaign will continue to move forward in fighting not just for faculty wages, but faculty-friendly policies that will value and support university faculty who have been living, and working, on the margins for far too long,” she said.