News story on MU faculty pay termed misleading
TO THE EDITORS:
The March 19 front-page article about Millersville University faculty paints a misleading picture of reality and fuels the public perception of overpaid faculty members.
First, the chart of salaries with hefty six-digit figures includes only administrators, not faculty, despite the headline's and article's focus on pay raises for faculty. Showing administrators' salaries from both MU and the state system fosters misperceptions on the part of your readership about what faculty members are actually paid.
Furthermore, presenting the 11.5 percent and 19 percent figures for the contractual raises can also be misleading. In actuality, the pay raises agreed to by the faculty union in our protracted negotiations with the state were 0 percent for the first year, 1 percent in each of the next two years, and 2 percent in the final year. The figures your article cited reflect the compounding of the pay raises over the life of the contract and whatever steps in the salary schedule that some faculty have earned through their longevity.
Readers should be aware that faculty at Millersville have worked for the better part of two years without a contract and without any raises. Also, our difficulties in reaching an agreement with the state on a contract had more to do with our concerns about the quality of the educational environment for our students than any interest in lining our own pockets.
While I'd be among the first to admit that I and my faculty colleagues are fairly compensated in salary and benefits, I also know the extensive time and effort we put into our work (a point thankfully acknowledged in an accompanying article) and the long years of post-secondary schooling needed to prepare for our careers.
The presentation of your article, however, too easily leads to misperceptions and the possible continuation of the stereotype of the overpaid and underworked college professor.