UToledo employees, students protest budget cuts
The group gathered outside of University Hall to protest
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - University of Toledo faculty, staff and students picketed on campus Wednesday afternoon, protesting budget cuts to staff and academic programs, among other concerns.
“They’re cutting back on faculty and programs, and they’re not doing anything about administrative bloat,” said Donald Wedding, a professor at UToledo and a founder of the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
The crowd included three unions which represent university faculty and staff: AAUP, Communications Workers of America and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Other unions, such as Teamsters and UAW came out to support the picketers. Lucas County Commissioners Pete Gerkin and Lisa Sobecki were also present.
“We’ve had many cuts here that have impacted programs, they’ve impacted faculty and secretarial and custodial [workers],” said Tim Brakel, the President of AAUP. “All those things will impact students.”
University of Toledo President Greggory Postel says the unions’ assertions that administration is being prioritized over faculty and staff are untrue.
“It’s not accurate at all. We have trouble understanding that argument,” Postel said. “We’ve had about a 15% decrease in our administrative levels, which is more than double the reduction in faculty from attrition.”
He concedes that cuts are coming in the future.
“There will be further cuts,” he said. “There will be some staff reductions ... so that our income and expenses match.”
Ultimately, he says he’s just trying to create a better university.
“We want to work together, right. The idea here is we’re trying to strengthen the university,” Postel said.
Those picketing agree.
“We love our university, and we want to continue to see it grow,” said CWA President 4319 Erika White.
The AAUP has been in contract negotiations with the university for 18 months. Postel says they’re close to reaching an agreement. The CWA and AFSCME have contracts that will expire by the end of the year.
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