05 Mar Facilities Shortcomings Highlighted by Faculty Survey
- This week, we look at the results of our Faculty Survey dealing with facilities, safety, and staff support.
- We encourage all faculty to demonstrate support for SIEU, the workers who help maintain facilities and guard our safety, as they negotiate their new contract for fair pay and staffing.
- UICUF Officer Elections will be held this April 13th and 14th for all elected positions in the union. Nomination forms are available on our website’s “People” page, and are due Monday, 3/30 by 5pm.
Last week, we closed our Faculty Satisfaction Survey and began sharing results. To get a deeper understanding of the survey, we’ll be reviewing each major section in their own segment over the next few weeks, starting with facilities and faculty support.
Our first big question of the survey asked if there are physical conditions on campus that limit faculty’s ability to perform work duties, and an overwhelming 84% answered in the affirmative. By far the biggest portion of these cited deteriorating facilities, which just under half (49%) of faculty respondents complained about. In the most extreme examples, people have complained about buildings that are literally crumbling, or suffer from degraded utilities like broken elevators, poor air circulation, and damage to floors or walls. About a third (33%) pointed specifically to broken equipment, ranging from dead air conditioners and radiators, to defective classroom technology.
Lack of adequate temperature control was the second leading issue at 44% reporting issues with their workspaces being too hot or too cold. Only slightly less widespread, but perhaps more concerning, 42% of all respondents said they lacked sufficient office, lab, classroom, or meeting space fit for their functions.
Finally, while the reporting numbers are smaller, significant portions of the faculty have complained about lack of access to appropriate bathroom facilities (10%) and/or lack of accommodation for disabilities (5%). These issues in particular signal that we’ve still got work to do to create an inclusive environment for all UIC faculty and students.
Campus Safety Concerns
Safety continues to be a major area of faculty concern. Almost two thirds (63%) of faculty said they had safety concerns about one or more areas on campus, with nearly half (48%) stating that the parking lots are a particular issue. Some of these issues were raised in contract negotiations last year, but we were largely rebuffed by the Administration. We did secure a clause giving the union the opportunity to meet and confer on campus security, and we intend to exercise that prerogative in light of the widespread concerns we’re hearing.
When asked if there was adequate staff support for faculty, over half (55%) said there was not, or that they weren’t sure. While we do not have a further breakdown of what lead to these answers, comments tended to describe difficulty getting offices and classrooms cleaned, as well as problems with technology support for classes. We know from our colleagues in SIEU, the union representing support staff, that they are chronically understaffed, and that the understaffing has even led to safety concerns among these workers. As a first step to better support for faculty, we hope you’ll demonstrate solidarity with these workers as they are currently negotiating for their own fair contract.
We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!