It seems reasonable to us that the faculty at Southern Oregon University have some skin in the game when it comes to the university's financial standing. Tying 1 or 2 percent of raises proposed in contract negotiations to the university's enrollment would be an acknowledgement that all school employees are in the same boat and would benefit by rowing in the same direction.
Given that union contract negotiations are almost invariably testy affairs, this divide between the SOU administration and the faculty is a relatively small one. Neither side should allow it to further complicate the school's efforts to return to stable financial ground and end the ongoing budget cuts.
The sticking point is a 1 percent difference — 7.25 vs. 8.25 percent over three years — in the raise being offered and asked in the negotiations. The faculty negotiator is right when he says it amounts to only $100,000. That's probably about the cost of one faculty member; is there a suggestion on whom that should land?
One proposal from the administration is to tie larger raises in the second and third years of the contract if enrollment increases. Again, that seems reasonable — if there is more money to be had, the faculty should be first in line to receive additional compensation. If there is not increased enrollment, and thus not more money, we think it's better that everyone hold the line somewhat than that more "retrenchment" be visited on the institution.