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Wilberforce Faculty Endure Pay Cut, Increased Course Load

Wilberforce Faculty Endure Pay Cut, Increased Course Load


Faculty members at Wilberforce University have agreed to work longer hours for less pay to keep the private, historically Black university afloat.

The concessions will allow Wilberforce to avoid eliminating majors and laying off employees, the university’s president, the Rev. Floyd Flake, said last month.

“Every part of this family is involved in a positive way,” Flake said. “We’ve made a determination we will rise together and we will survive.”

Faculty members agreed to a 10 percent pay cut while taking on additional classes that will increase the standard course load from 12 credit hours a semester to 15, Flake said.

University administrators had proposed doing away with nearly two-thirds of the school’s academic majors to address a projected $5 million deficit. From that plan, only the elimination of the Wilberforce track and field team will occur this fall.

“We share Dr. Flake’s vision,” said Richard Deering, the president of the faculty union who has taught 35 years at Wilberforce. “We want to see Wilberforce not only survive, but prosper.”

Marshall Mitchell, the university’s vice president for institutional advancement, called the faculty concessions “enormous.”

“If you asked college administrators nationwide what they wanted for Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa, this is what they’d ask for,” he said.

Some of the planned cuts may happen eventually. But administrators said they hoped to ease the transition for students, who otherwise would have arrived for classes late last month to find some of their majors were being dropped.

Full-time undergraduates pay $16,100 a year for tuition, fees, room and board. Enrollment increased 7 percent last fall as the university enrolled 1,200 students in its undergraduate program and in its CLIMB degree-completion program. Mitchell said he expects 2003-2004 enrollment to exceed last year.

Efforts to cut spending at another historically Black university, Clark Atlanta University, continued last month with school officials alerting 157 non-tenured faculty members that they will lose their jobs at the end of the 2003-2004 school year, according to reports in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. University spokeswoman Sheila Jack said 75 of the 157 positions will be eliminated, but the university hopes to rehire the other 82 faculty members after school officials determine how many are needed.

— Associated Press

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