Contingent faculty reported low salaries and poor working conditions in open letters published in The Mooring Mast last week. In order to explore the full story, student journalists set out to discover exactly what the salary discrepancies at PLU looked like. Calls were made, and formal data request forms were filed, but so far there haven’t been any results.
PLU’s Office of Institutional Research seemed like a good place to start. After all, as part of the Office of the Provost, their goal is to provide “the University community with data and information to evaluate progress regarding governing and regulating concerns, measurements of quality, allocation of resources, productivity, cognitive outcomes and accomplishment of the University’s mission.”
Students would seem to be a part of the University community, but a call to the office to inquire about data on faculty salaries was quickly met with a staccato “no.”
To follow up, a formal data request form was submitted. The form explained that access to the data would be used as part of student journalists’ ongoing research concerning the recent open letters posted by PLU contingent faculty, and the issues they outlined.
Again, the request was denied.
A call to the human resources department didn’t yield any answers either. According to HR, aggregated data or information on PLU faculty salary amounts or discrepancies simply does not exist, because faculty salaries are different for each department. Because salaries aren’t the same across departments, their answer continued, there is no scale, or way to compare or summarize that type of information.
April 26 Update: When this story was first posted, various PLU faculty members mentioned that salary information was available publicly in a binder located at the reference desk in PLU’s library. As it turns out, that material is not available for students. Viewing or checking out the binder is only an option for PLU faculty and staff. The library is not allowed to check out or give the binder to any PLU student. The contents of the binder may not be copied, photocopied, or photographed.