PLU President Thomas Krise sat down tonight for coffee and cookies with PLU students in South hall’s main lounge. “Coffee with Krise” was implemented in February as a way to for students to get to know PLU’s new president. Krise spends one Wednesday night a month in a residence hall on campus, taking questions from students.
Tonight’s questions included funding for the sustainability department, PLU’s anti-sexual assault resources, the relationship between spiritual and non-spiritual communities on campus and at the end of the evening, he addressed the issue of contingent faculty.
Krise was asked by LuteTimes if the administration had known about the contingent faculty’s advertisements in the Mooring Mast prior to their publication one month ago.
“That was the first we had ever heard of it,” Krise stated.
Last Monday, Krise sent an email to all PLU staff and faculty explaining the administration would be looking closely at their current expenses and unrestricted reserve. He explained that a large part of the expenses cut could come from investing in more efficient small purchases. Krise used an example he had mentioned when asked about sustainability measures on campus: Last year PLU saved $20,000 by switching from liquid to foam soap. Small savings like these, Krise explained, when applied campus-wide, would help with PLU’s revenue stream. Krise added, the University of Notre Dame saved 2.8 percent in overall spending after implementing small-scale cuts. Cornell University saved an impressive 4.8 percent.
“We need to raise a considerable amount of new revenue,” admitted Krise. “We need to raise more money in terms of endowment.”
This week’s email suggested new programs to generate additional revenue. When asked what these new programs might include, Krise suggested an increase in the number of graduate students and new joint degree undergraduate programs.
Krise stayed 20 minutes over the event’s end time to continue answering questions about the contingent faculty issue.
Still, he could not say much. “There are very important restrictions,” Krise explained. A federal agency case concerning whether or not contingent faculty have a right to unionize is currently underway. Krise said he could not comment on many parts of the issue because of Federal labor laws involved.
“This is a jurisdiction issue,” Krise said, referring to the school administration’s argument that the National Labor Relations Board does not have legal rights over PLU because of the university’s religious nature. Krise said that the university is waiting to hear back from the court’s decision on jurisdiction rights. He promised that whatever the court rules, “we will obey.”
Krise then went on to defend PLU’s current faculty voting system.
“This is something to pay attention to… Most institutions elect representatives. Our faculty assembly has a vote,” said Krise. “Everybody who’s full time [faculty] has a vote in the assembly.”