Field of Science

How to run a university - who are the low cost employees?

A cheerful memo arrived just the other day.  It informed faculty that the Building Service Workers (aka custodians) would no longer empty broken glass containers in labs and classrooms. The memo then went on to inform us where the containers should be placed when full, and that new containers could be purchased at the stock room for some lordly sum (about the same as a good latte).  Now there are two things about this.  First, there is the assumption that yours truly will be emptying broken glass containers. This suggests that the administration thinks it too expensive to have BSWs doing this, so let's let faculty do it.  Well, that never was in my job description, although the rule is that if you break it, you clean it up. And if the administration thinks TPP is going to buy containers for classrooms, well, let's just wait and see if it ever happens. My budget line for broken glass containers is zero. Now of course this is aimed at people who have grants and even they will not spend their grant money on classrooms.  Isn't that what tuition is supposed to pay for?  Second, why do we have broken glass containers anyways?  Why it was too dangerous for BSWs to empty the trash bins if they contained broken glass, and if it did they wouldn't empty it. Will that be the next task dumped onto faculty? Now this is the rather ludicrous part of this whole thing. To save a little money, or make BSWs a little bit more happy, they take a task and transfer it to faculty.  And how is this a savings? Who gets paid the most for 20 minutes of labor? A time study a few years back showed that faculty active in scholarship spent over 50 hours a week with teaching, scholarship, and service, and faculty don't get overtime pay for those 12.5 hours worked above the official 37.5 hour week. TPP doubts the philosophy or English or history faculty have this problem. But rather than have BSWs who accommodate the crap that actually happens when people do science, the science faculty get more custodial duties. Yeah, that's how to run a university.


The Lorax said...

We are in year two of having our trash collected once a week (usually, sometimes it gets forgotten). So mostly I'm changing out the trash in my office. In the same vein we've routinely had hornets entering the lab over the years. Last time I killed a bunch and called facilities management to take care of the problem. Person came up with a broom killed the remaining hornets and left the carcasses all over. Probably cost more for him to wander up and back than the time spent not fixing the problem.

The Lorax said...

Actually I expect it's a fraudulent use of funding dollars to supply teaching labs, unless of course the funds are for the teaching labs.

The Phytophactor said...

Totally true about grant dollars, but sometimes the admins don't seem to understand that money in different pockets can't just be moved around. The university wants to control classroom space in terms of scheduling and use, but it isn't their space when it comes to any costs for maintaining the space, and of course, the dept doesn't get the revenue generated by the space. Some business model.