We are very pleased to share our newly signed Memorandum of Understanding with the FIU administration concerning Fall faculty work. It is a comprehensive agreement (you can find it linked here and it is also linked on the homepage of our website), and I encourage everyone to read the entire document. A few important highlights:

Returning from Remote Work:

2) “No faculty with self-identified health concerns, or who have responsibilities to care for someone who has a health vulnerability, will be required to work in a non-remote setting in the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semesters.”

This means that faculty will not be compelled to return from remote work if they have any health concerns.

3) “All faculty who otherwise would be assigned such work if not for the health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 global pandemic will receive alternative increases in teaching, research, and/or service effort to correspond with any reduced effort in such areas.”

This means that faculty who express health concerns and will not be returning from remote work will not receive any reduction in their FTE assignment.

For those Agreeing to Teach Face-to-Face:

18) “Faculty will not be responsible for enforcing social distancing or face covering policies. Faculty have the right to ask a non-compliant student to leave a particular class but must report the non-compliant behavior to the Office of Student Conduct. Faculty have the right to end a class session any time in which they do not feel safe due to students not following established classroom health and safety protocols. Faculty must report any such incidents to their Department Chair/Director.”

Impact on Evaluations

11) “Student course evaluations shall not negatively impact annual evaluations. However, they may be used to positive effect.”

20) “Any lack of research productivity as impacted by this situation for faculty with research assignments during AY20-21 shall not negatively impact annual evaluations.”

25) Extended promotion and tenure protections

Additional Notable Items:

7) “Faculty shall maintain ownership of all course content, even if it is presented in an online format.”

13) “The decision to move to modified course modalities and course sizes has arisen only from the unique circumstances arising from the COVID-19 global pandemic and with guidelines developed by the FIU Repopulating Task Force and consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and evidence-based approaches. As during the Summer 2020 term, the move to these new modalities does not set precedents for or inherently consent to these modalities for future instructional work.”

I believe this MOU sets the national standard for faculty rights and protections during this extremely uncertain time, and I want to thank Barbara Manzano and her bargaining team for their work over the past two months.  I’d also like to thank Provost Furton and President Rosenberg for their commitment to the health and safety of our faculty and students in a time when many campus administrations are facing substantial political pressures to ignore the scientific data concerning COVID-19 and require faculty to return to face-to-face instruction.

Moving forward, we are going to schedule a ratification vote for shortly after 9-month faculty are back on contract and will be sending more information about that process in the coming weeks.  We will also be scheduling a Q&A meeting about the agreement in the upcoming weeks.

We are extremely proud of the work we have done to secure these conditions for our faculty, and I am happy to answer any questions folks may have.

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