Historiann asked in this post, "Do we really owe our institutions loyalty?" I'm about to write here isn't a direct response to Historiann, but I do think that it's a relevant tangent.
See, I got an email from the president of my institution within recent days asking me to give money to my institution. My institution that hasn't given a cost of living raise for the past two years. Ummm.*
This is what I think about loyalty. I think loyalty is a two-way street. I think that loyalty means a two-way commitment. I do not think that "loyalty" means me investing in an institution that treats its employees like they aren't worth shit.
I tend to be quite a loyal person. Loyal in the way of a trusty dog. (Shout out to Roxie's World!) But you know what? A dog that you don't feed properly and that you don't exercise and that you don't let in the house isn't exactly going to win the Westminster Dog Show. Nor is that dog necessarily going to do tricks when guests come over. And that dog certainly isn't going to give you money out of her paycheck when you don't give her a basic cost of living adjustment.
Fact: My institution struggles to meet the baseline for salary with CUPA. There are serious problems with salary compression, and (I'd argue) serious problems with equity for anybody who's not white and male.
Fact: At my institution, faculty have to pay to park, and they pay approx. 3x what students pay. We are not in an urban area, and there is no street parking option and there is virtually no public transportation option. In other words, my salary is approx. $300/year less because I can't actually come to work without paying for parking.
Fact: Faculty morale at my institution is at an all-time low, maybe because we don't get raises, because of the parking thing, and because of the hefty chunk that health care costs take from one's salary.
Now, there will be some commenters who will say, "what about a union? you silly people!" And you know what? My state doesn't negotiate with unions. The whole "union" thing? A non-starter here.
So here's what I think about "loyalty." I think that "loyalty" is a very nice concept that assumes that employees are fairly and well compensated. I think that "loyalty" - from faculty to institution - depends on faculty feeling like they are valued, and it depends on resources for faculty to do the jobs that they are hired to do.
And I think that administrators who "encourage" faculty to donate money from their paychecks to the institution that fails to compensate them adequately and that fails to support the performance that it requires of them are tone-deaf in the extreme. You want my loyalty? You want my motherfucking money? Well. Then you might need to give me some things that I need in return. It's not up to me to subsidize my employer. In fact, it's my employer's job to pay me for the very real and specialized and expert work that I do. So, no, I won't be giving money to my university. The fact of the matter is, I don't have it to give since there are no raises.
* And yes, I'm lucky because we haven't had furloughs or actual pay cuts.
4 years ago