Once again the Board of Trustees meeting was full of red-clad faculty and supporters on Wednesday May 22. At least one faculty member, Pat Sevier, had received a termination notice earlier that day.
Board Chairman Royce Pollard gave an opening statement saying that bargaining would only happen at the bargaining table. There would be no answers given to questions, but the board was happy to hear the perspectives of the audience, he said.
Upon opening the floor to the audience and setting a two-minute time limit for each person, a line formed. A steady stream of faculty and supporters gave various reasons for being at the meeting and asked questions of the board.
“My question is how and when will the board take responsibility, for their trustees, position and will the board be responsive either in word or action to our concerns in any form,” Kimberly Sullivan, AHE president, said.
Later, Sullivan gave a report to the board as AHE president, asking why faculty was asked for input on budget cuts but then ignored. She also asked why a program that in the process of improvement was now being cut. Mainly, she asked the board to communicate and to conduct a climate survey to hear anonymous feedback from faculty.
Sullivan finished speaking amid applause from the audience and started to walk away from the microphone. Pollard called her back and brought up the last time she spoke to them saying, “Last month you made a very impassioned plea to us that as an adjunct stating your situation and the fact that you weren’t making enough salary to join your friends on the things they wanted to do,” Pollard said.
“He doesn’t even know who she is,” audience members murmured. Sullivan reminded Pollard she read a letter from an adjunct, but was not one herself.
When the topic of Sullivan’s salary came up, her answer that she made $97,000 to $100,000 last year and Pollard corrected her saying, “You actually made…” the room erupted in angry jeers.
“Does it matter?!”
“How much did you make?!”
“You have no respect for anyone who works here and you should be taken off the board. I’m going to write the governor about you!” one man said loudly.
“You began your question by assuming she was an adjunct? This is bullshit, ” Sydney Brahmavar, meteorology instructor, said then sat down.
Sullivan ended with saying she is here for the adjuncts, she knows she is lucky to be able to work the way she does and make the money she does. “I’m also very conscious of the fact that people who have children can’t work the way I do,” she said. “I am not here for me, I am here for them. And you don’t. Freakin’. Get it.”
The audience portion and Sullivan’s ending speech during the meeting is available in audio format for those that missed it. A heated exchange between Sullivan, the audience and Pollard begins at minute 37.