Southern faculty rethinking furlough agreements

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Posted: Sep 15, 2011 6:14 PM by Stephanie Ryan
Updated: Sep 15, 2011 6:30 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: Southern University, Southern, faculty, faculty senate, furloughs, furlough agreements, signatures, Dr. Sudhir Trivedi, Paul Bell

BATON ROUGE-- About 20 Southern University faculty members who signed furlough agreements to keep the university from a financial crisis are rethinking their signatures.

Some say they believed the furlough agreements would only go into effect if 90 percent of faculty signed them. Instead, 60 percent of tenured faculty signed, and the Southern University's Board agreed to make more cuts to budget around that number.

"Most of the people have misunderstood. That being the case, it should be withdrawn," one faculty member said in a Senate Faculty meeting Thursday.

Contract law attorney Paul Bell was invited by Senate Faculty President Dr. Sudhir Trivedi to answer faculty's questions.

Bell said since agreements haven't been delivered to Chancellor Llorens yet, they are not valid.

"It is not accepted until he delivers it to Llorens," Bell said.

Trivedi has not delivered the furlough agreement letters to Llorens because he wants written guarantee first that Llorens will not furlough faculty and ask to declare a financial crisis later. He also wants to ensure more advance notice for faculty if programs and jobs are cut.

But Trivedi did ensure no one who wants to withdraw their agreement would be ignored.

"I'm not gonna send any contract to Llorens if you tell me not to! Take my word for it!" Trivedi shouted above murmurs in the meeting Thursday. His comment was met with applause.

Trivedi isn't sure what happens next. He anticipates there could be a stalemate between the faculty and administration, but won't look for any more signatures until his guarantees are met.

What happens to the budget if 20 faculty members opt out of the agreement the university used to balance its budget?

News 2 tried several times to contact Chancellor Llorens Thursday. His spokespeople said he was unavailable, and would not comment further on the furloughs.

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