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Letters to the Editor

Genshaft’s pay raise out of sync with faculty’s

What the Board of Trustees seems to overlook is the stellar accomplishments of many of USF’s research and teaching faculty. It is as a result of these accomplishments that USF has approached the status of a truly major player in higher education.

What the BOT seems to overlook is the fact that our average faculty salaries are way behind those of institutions low on the totem pole of higher education. Is the BOT aware of, or concerned about, the fact that the salaries of four faculty members combined do not add up to the salary of the president? Is the BOT aware that the president’s bonus is ten times the raise of meritorious professors?

To her credit, the president has done her part in selecting an outstanding and visionary provost and her staff, one who recognizes and nurtures excellence in faculty accomplishments. What has the BOT done to secure the funds needed to recognize and reward these accomplishments?

The BOT came to the conclusion that the president deserves $35,000 as a performance-based bonus. Is the BOT aware of the fact that faculty who are recognized by their students, their peers and by the University for outstanding accomplishments are rewarded by a mere one-time $2,000 performance-based bonus? There is a glaring dichotomy between the elite ruling class and the downtrodden, working faculty.

By the way, the BOT, in its infinite wisdom, has created a dilemma for me. According to news reports, Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dick Beard has said, “The president gets an A for accomplishing 80 percent of the goals set.”

This is causing a major problem for me and for my students. What should I do when my former students, numbering in the thousands, who earned a “B minus” for a score of 80 percent, ask for a change of grade? This semester I have over 350 students in my classes, and my syllabi state that for a score of 80 percent the student will receive a grade of “B minus.” Do I have to change my syllabi midstream?

Herein lies the problem: What do I do with a downpour of potential A’s for students who deserve a mere “B minus?” Are we going to create an avalanche of grade inflation?Finally, what grade should we, the underpaid workhorse of this university, give the Board of Trustees?

Manoug Manougian is a professor in the math department at USF.

FEMA aid warranted, needed for some
Re: Column “It’s a question of principle,”Adam Fowler, Jan 12, 2005

Adam, I would like to be able to live and continue going to school. I would like to be able to enjoy life occasionally.

I am disabled, but because of the “system,” I cannot get disability, although I had a small business for 16 years and paid taxes through the nose. I returned to school with the hope of finding something that I could do to survive, since everywhere I turned I heard, “You don’t qualify.” Our only income is Pell Grants and student loans — less than $10,000 a year for a family of two, with both people dealing with health problems and the associated costs. Because we are on financial aid, we were even denied food stamps.

We live in Northwestern Polk County, and were hit by all three hurricanes. We had one storage building wrecked. Luckily, there was no damage to our home, although we were without power for over nine days. I developed an infection because of the storm, and I needed medical attention and around $70 worth of medicine. I missed over a week of classes because of the storms, and it took almost the entire semester to catch up.

We applied for FEMA help, and were denied; we “don’t qualify.”

The storms caused a significant impact on our finances — over 30 percent of our income for the semester gone in under two weeks, and the damage is still not repaired. Yet, I know people with six-figure incomes (and who have insurance), who only lost the food in their fridge, and they got a nice check.

I have learned that people, as a rule, expect that a one-time handout will fix everything and they get hostile toward people like us, who need more than a “quick fix.” Expecting people who have suffered misfortune to survive on handouts from individuals will not work.

Churches are also not willing to help someone survive over the long haul; they also want the “quick fix.”

Been there, done that.

You should try being on the receiving end sometime. You’ll learn quickly that for the most part, the whole U.S. system is based upon stereotypes and works to widen the income gap. It is actually very abusive toward poor people — especially if they are honest, as we are.

Robert D. Bowers is a junior majoring in anthropology.