B.U. Faculty Files Contract Grievances, Charges Illegal Dismissal Procedures
The Boston University (B.U.) faculty union charged yesterday that B.U. is illegally terminating the contracts of most junior professors and is penalizing professors active in the union by not granting them merit salary increases.
In grievances filed with the university deans the union said the terminations violated contracts because the university provost's office did not give faculty one year's notice or consult the departments before sending the pink slips.
The professors' contracts expire in September 1980.
Sylvia Sieferman, chairman of the union contract advisory committee, said yesterday nearly all junior faculty members in the college of liberal arts and in the school of education received termination notices this month. This amounts to more than 60 persons, she said.
Booting the Rookies
Associate provost Jon Westling said his office sent 50 to 60 termination letters to junior professors in all of B.U.'s schools and colleges. But this is only about one-fourth of B.U.'s junior faculty, he said.
About 30 such letters have been sent annually in recent years, he said, emphasizing that this year's number was not especially unusual.
Not all of those receiving the pink slips will lose their jobs Westling said, because notices were sent whenever there was doubt about renewing a person's contract. He declined to estimate how many would be retained.
Westling said the terminations were legal under the contract. He said the letters were sent before Aug. 31--the one-year notification deadline--and departments were consulted when the deans decided which contracts should not be renewed.
Sieferman also said many professors active in the union do not receive merit salary increases because of their union ties.
Westerling said, however, that Sieferman's charge is "absolutely and totally false".
Robert C. Bergenheim, vice-president for labor and public relations, said yesterday he was unaware that the union filed the grievances, but added that professors active in the union had never been penalized in pay.
"That would be a temptation," he said, laughing, "but you just can't do it. You just have to bend over backward with the union."
Bergenheim said the university is considering firing several professors who refused to cross the picket lines of striking clerical workers earlier this month. The professors either did not hold classes or held them off campus, he said.
No final decision has yet been made on firing these professors, he said.