University of Guam’s Faculty Union are voicing their concerns made by Lawmakers during UOG’s recent Budget Hearing.
“They’re not shooting for pie in the sky. What they’ve presented to the legislature is the budget we actually need to do our jobs. If we continue at this level of funding, it’s going to severely, it already is, but it’ll continue to get worse on how it impacts us,” said UOG Faculty Union President Dr. Bob Barber.
Both Dr. Barber, and member of the Union Executive Board Dr. Arun Swamy, told PNC that they wanted to clear what they say are “misconceptions” that Guam Legislature raised over UOG during a budget hearing that took place on April 12th.
The comment, coming from Republican Senator Joanne Brown who said, “we’re paying for the substantial amount of the infrastructure at the university. Where the students are there or not with the instructors and the professors. I mean, that cost is still there at this juncture; it really is hard to understand why the university does not have regular classes with professors in the class and students in the class when we, pretty much throughout the island, have the ability to go anywhere and do anything pretty much aside from distancing the classes in the schools for students have not changed. I don’t see how it’s any different with the university. I would assume adults would be a little more responsible.”
To address Republican Senator Joanne Brown’s statement, both Dr. Barber and Swamy told PNC about the continued work that University staff, including professors, librarians, aids, and the like, did during the COVID lockdown outside of in-person instruction.
Dr. Barber gave an example of how the School of Agriculture, during the pandemic, was still aiding in community outreach efforts as farmers were struggling with produce due to the lockdown.
Another example that Dr. Barber gave was how UOG’s Isla Counseling Center was open throughout the lockdown to help with students’ mental health and fellow faculty.
Moreover, to address the comparison of Guam Department of Education students and faculty returning to face-to-face instruction, Dr. Swamy told PNC that the University is a different institution altogether.
Another concern that Dr. Swamy addressed was the lack of in-person staff at UOG. Telling PNC that, “the statement was made that ‘Faculty don’t want to come back to work.’ And that statement was absolutely false. Because whether we’re online or face to face, the faculty are working extremely hard to deliver instruction and our other obligations from research to library services to extensions. So the idea that faculty were not working when we’ve been working harder than we’ve ever worked was quite outrages.”
In summary, the UOG Faculty Union reports that the staff does more than face to face instruction. And that the lack of in-person instruction does not represent the work that the University provides.
According to Union, the over $30 Million budget request does not include professor pay raises but rather much-needed infrastructure and maintenance upkeep within UOG.