Some Southern University faculty members want to withdraw their voluntary furlough agreements, but the administration is not planning to give in.
“Our position is we’re going to go forward with all of those who submitted their furlough agreements,” Southern Chancellor James Llorens said Wednesday.
Llorens had previously said at least 90 percent of the tenured faculty needed to accept 10 percent of their job time off without pay in order to avoid the university declaring a financial emergency, called exigency.
Fewer than 65 percent of the faculty — about 130 of 210 tenured faculty — signed such furlough agreements so the exigency request stood.
But the Southern Board of Supervisors refused last week the request to declare exigency, which would have given the administration more leeway in eliminating academic programs and laying off faculty more quickly.
Because not all the faculty were united, some who accepted the furloughs became upset they would lose money while many of their colleagues lost none.
Southern Faculty Senate President Sudhir Trivedi said nearly 20 faculty members have asked to withdraw their agreements thus far.
“I believe the faculty member who withdraws his request has the right to do so,” Trivedi said Wednesday.
While Llorens knows who signed the agreements, Trivedi said, the faculty have not handed them over to the administration.
The Faculty Senate is meeting Thursday to discuss the legal options of the faculty.
Southern mechanical engineering professor Ghanashyam Joshi said he is among those who want to take their agreements back.
Joshi said the faculty members felt rushed and forced to accept the furloughs and that they believed the furloughs would only go into effect if nearly all the faculty agreed.
Now, only the “good Samaritans” are punished instead, he said.
Furloughing a little more than half the faculty does not save enough money to justify splintering them, he said.
“We’re killing the rodents of the house to let the pests thrive,” Joshi said.
The administration and staff — who make at least $30,000 — are receiving 10 percent furloughs. But tenured faculty can only be furloughed through exigency or voluntary agreements.
Exigency is generally considered a serious blemish that could scare away current and potential employees and students.
No public Louisiana university has declared exigency since the University of New Orleans did so after Hurricane Katrina.