Leigh Corrette’s editorial on April 4, 2012 was inflammatory, and the string of disturbing emails that followed was an embarrassment and outrageously offensive.
Keene State College works because everyone — students, faculty, adjuncts, PAT, OS and all other types of employees make meaningful contributions. And when some members of the community hold themselves in higher regard than the rest – we have a community problem.
Here’s the thing. I do know a lot of the people that were highlighted in the editorial, and these people represent the “do whatever it takes” muscle on this campus.
Sure, it’s easy to create a train wreck on campus by drawing in the paparazzi to gawk at a selected set of salaries. However, the public flogging of 51 KSC employees failed to mention some key facts:
• All USNH employee salaries (faculty and non-faculty) were recently reviewed in 2010, and the findings revealed that salaries were within market range – with some staff salary categories falling 9% below market range.
• PAT/OS staff recently took a hit with increased health benefit costs and reductions to health reimbursement accounts and reductions in vacation/paid time off.
• The salaries listed reflect total compensation, which means for some employees the dollar amount includes overtime and/or additional jobs on campus.
The letter’s point would have been so much better served it had stuck to a single message of expressing concerns around feeling disenfranchised as an adjunct employee. If the point of the editorial was to show salary ranges, then why didn’t Leigh Corrette publish her own salary along with the salaries of all her colleagues? When personal attacks and offensive language get tossed around like a cafeteria food fight –it’s not intellectual, it’s not courageous, and it’s certainly not productive.
I am concerned that we have members of the Keene State College community who fail to realize that “administration” is not just the offices in Hale. I am part of the administration, and I’m proud to provide support and services to the Keene State Community. There are many, many (not just a few) talented and dedicated administrative staff on this campus who represent the whatever-it-takes muscle at Keene State College.
The letter stated, “If students woke up tomorrow and most administrators were no longer here—there’d be no change, maybe they’d even have their tuitions lowered!”
And so, to those who might support the letter’s sentiments about administration –your wish has been granted. Here’s a glimpse of your new life at Keene State College with no administration:
• Your courses have been removed from Blackboard because there is no one to perform the needed administration functions.
• Your students can’t access MyKSC, and you can’t post student grades, nor can you obtain your class roster.
• Your students can’t receive financial aid, so you’ll be expected to find funding for them.
• You and your students can’t use the Mason Library.
• Your students can’t buy or return their books to the Bookstore because there is no administrative staff to manage this service.
• Your students can’t live on campus, so they will be living with you.
• Your students won’t be able to participate in any athletic events because there are no coaches.
• There is no Campus Safety, so your students will call you directly 24/7.
• You and your students can’t use the Recreation Center.
• There are no classrooms, no green buildings and no efforts to maintain a beautiful campus.
• You and your students won’t have wireless or network access.
• Your students won’t be able to register for classes for next semester.
• Your students won’t receive academic advising.
• Your students won’t be able to travel abroad via global education programs.
• Your students won’t receive any medical care or counseling services.
• Your classes won’t be held on campus because your courses weren’t included in the classroom scheduling plans.
• Your students won’t have anywhere to eat on campus.
• Your new incoming students won’t participate in orientation events.
• Your students won’t receive a tuition bill. The College won’t be collecting revenue and because there’s no budget – you won’t get paid.
• Your students won’t be eligible to request a transcript, and they won’t be able to participate in graduation ceremonies nor Alumni events.
• And since no one will be visiting high schools to spread the good word about Keene State, no one will bother to enroll.
Now, let’s get back to reality….
I believe that teaching on a college campus is truly one of the most sacred and respected professions. This place works because there is a critical dependency within all of our roles. No one is here at KSC for the money.
Yes, there are some higher-end salaries, and those salaries are within the market range. The simple fact is that we could all make more money in the private sector. We are here because we believe in the good work of helping people receive a college education in the hopes they will be better world citizens.
Maybe the letter never attended any of the countless open sessions here at KSC where it was made crystal clear that the intent was to hire more full-time faculty positions. Maybe Corrette doesn’t have the perspective of working at another higher education institution. Maybe she doesn’t know how rare it is for someone in higher education to stand up in a public forum and directly deliver horrid, sticker-shock bad news and then stick around for questions.
And so to Leigh Corrette and her allies…
Your misdirected anger is allowing you to be used as pawns for the circus show in Concord. It was the wisdom of our legislatures who placed a higher value on reducing the cost of cigarettes than on reducing the cost of a college education.
The 48% funding cut to USNH (in a state where students already graduate with one of the highest debt ratios) represented an egregious act. We’ve tightened our belts. We’ve made cut after cut at KSC. I personally don’t know how to do more with any less. And if you’re not aware of the stress and the significant workload issues on campus, then you simply have not been paying attention. No work place is perfect, and we certainly have our share of challenges. Say whatever you will – but Keene State College is a good place. And if you think it’s really so bad here, then don’t be a victim. You always have choices: build a bridge and do whatever is needed to get over it, or make the decision to leave.
And if you really want to do something productive and courageous with your anger, then ignite a fire and lead an initiative among students to make changes in Concord this November.
But whatever you do, you cannot be so blatantly disrespectful to those of us who take great pride in our work and the meaningful contributions we make to the Keene State College community.
And now, I’ve got to get back to finishing up my latest and greatest “report on reports.”
Keene State College
Director of Enterprise Information Systems
Editor’s note: There is one more letter to the editor to be published on this issue in next week’s paper. Subsequently, no more letters on this matter will be published.