Ohio University (OU) President Roderick McDavis, who sits on the presidents’ council as a part of the IUC [Inter-University Council], supported the original version of the bill that would have banned collective bargaining for all public employees, and does not oppose it in its current form, according to his Chief of Staff, Becky Watts. …
Watts said that President McDavis was “not opposed to SB-5” because it would give the university “greater flexibility” in addressing its budget crisis. …
Watts said that McDavis believes that SB-5 would maintain the status quo at OU.
“SB-5 would support a continuation of the shared governance model [between employee groups and student senate] that we have in place at Ohio University,” she said. “Shared governance is an important aspect of the culture of Ohio University.”
Meanwhile, shared governance itself is threatened by high-ranking administrators’ insistence that the Faculty Senate is merely an advisory body. Shared governance is also weakened when our leadership insists that the Faculty Handbook imposes binding regulations on faculty conduct while conferring no limits on administrators’ discretion (e.g., when it comes to raising health care premiums beyond the caps currently set in the Handbook).
In no way is a university president obligated to oppose collective bargaining simply by virtue of his position. Consider the example of Wright State’s president, David R. Hopkins, who according to The Chronicle of Higher Education recently told his campus the following in an email:
“I was raised in a union family and, as president and provost, have found our union leadership to be of the highest quality. I appreciate all they have brought to us, and I believe we are a stronger institution because of their dedicated commitment to their membership.”
“I don’t think it’s the place of a college president to become at all involved in a lobbying effort of this kind, one that his employees all understand as an attack on their work conditions and their wages,” she said.
White was most troubled by mixed messages coming from the OU administration.
“We have been hearing from the president and the provost about the importance of us all pulling together across the university community to deal with this fiscal crisis,” she said. “To hear that they are actually offering up the salaries and jobs of workers and faculty — to so clearly manage this cut on our backs and not theirs — suggests to me that the message that we all need to pull together is less than genuine.”