An open letter from an APSU professor of history has compared the salary discrepancies at APSU to the “robber barons of the 19th century.”
Professor of History and member of the Faculty Senate Cameron Sutt sent his open letter to APSU faculty, APSU President Alisa White and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Rex Gandy.
Sutt wrote that he will be boycotting three Faculty Senate meetings in response to the salary discrepancies on campus.
“My boycott will begin March 24, 2016,” Sutt wrote. “Let me say that I agree with the administration’s policy of hiring new faculty as close to the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA) figures as possible.
“It is inappropriate to make others suffer because one suffers himself or herself. At the same time, something must be done to alleviate the horrendous salaries of those who have been serving APSU faithfully for years.”
According to CUPA research, salaries for professionals in higher education have experienced raises of around 2 percent in 2015.
Sutt wrote that he feels he has no power as a senator in the Faculty Senate and his boycott is more of a symbolic gesture.
“I am under no illusions that this action will make the state relinquish millions of dollars for salaries or that money will start growing from trees,” Sutt wrote. “My boycott is a symbol of the deep discontent and frustration that so many of us feel at the Peay. The culture of the Peay is one of paternalism and obedience: ‘Just do what you’re told, and you will be alright.’ My boycott is a rejection of that culture and a statement that we, the faculty, are upset and we are demoralized.”
Prior to Sutt’s open letter, White addressed the Faculty Senate at their Feb. 25, meeting and said there is a plan in place that has been through the Human Resources department and the Compensation Committee.
“I am an outcomes based person and there are a myriad of different ways to get where we want to go,” White said according to minutes from the meeting. “I don’t care about the process, we just have to fix the situation we are in.”
Sutt came to APSU as a tenure-track professor in 2008 to teach classes on Medieval Europe and the Middle East, according to the APSU website. He is previously from Central European University in Budapest.