Here is our latest UUP Chapter newsletter, the Bullhorn. In it is our latest Labor-Management notes, a spotlight feature on UUP member Joel Oppenheimer, the Chapter Election results, information about the UUP dependent scholarship, and more!! Click the link above to learn more.
The Chapter election results are in! Click the link below to view the results.
The final distribution of Discretionary Salary Awards (lump sum, not on base), a provision of the statewide Agreement ratified last September, was paid out in the final pay period in December 2018. Under the terms of our Agreement, the College was required to distribute a sum no less than 1% of the total UUP salary pool for the 2017 calendar year, before the end of 2018. The total DSA pool for distribution here at New Paltz for 2017 was $ 457,143.01. (For activity in 2018 moving forward, through the life of the contract, there will be .5% of the salary pool dedicated to Discretionary Salary Increases, which will be added to members’ base salary.)
Please remember that the ‘D’ stands for ‘discretionary’ here—the distribution of these funds is entirely left to the judgment and decision-making of the College Administration. As a result, you may notice from the attached lists of DSA recipients and the amounts that they received that there is a great deal of variation in the size of the awards.
Of the 972 UUP bargaining unit members on the payroll at the end of December, 420 received $0 in DSA, either because they did not qualify (weren’t employed throughout calendar year 2017), or more frequently, because they did not apply for it. (Overall, that means that 57% of those on the payroll received some sort of payment, and 43% did not.)
For full-time Academic members, an application process was announced by the Provost’s office late in 2017, with application dossiers due by early February. (Some departments set their own, earlier deadlines.) At that time, we were still without a tentative Agreement, so there was no way of knowing whether there would be discretionary awards available, what their amount might be, and if they were to be paid, whether or not they would be lump sum (DSA) or an increase to base salary (DSI). As a result, a smaller than usual number of these members applied; given the calculations by the Administration of what share of the pool should go to Academics and how much to Professionals, the two levels of award to those Academics who applied were significantly higher than usual (merit = $1,337.10/major = $1,781.51).
For full-time Professionals, whose DSA process was announced several months later, there was more information available from the negotiations table, indicating that DSA would be included in the contract. In addition, Professionals do not always submit an application—in a number of instances their supervisors put in the DSA request on their behalf. As has been the practice of the Administration, the portion of the available payroll pool is distributed to the VPs of the various divisions, who make the ultimate decisions regarding size and distribution of the money.
Many of you may recall that under the terms of the previous Agreement, a pool of money was designated at each campus for mandatory distribution to part-timers; at New Paltz, the Administration decided (given the size of this pool) to divide it equally among qualified part-timers, resulting in $300-400 DSA payments to each of them, with no application process. Under the new Agreement, there is no such formula applied to earmark an amount for the part-timers. In Labor-Management, the Administration informed us that as there had been no application process announced for the 2018 DSA, they decided to reserve a pool representing the part-timers’ contribution to the overall 1% payroll, and divide that evenly among all the eligible individuals. This calculation resulted in a pool of $13,002.32, distributed to 205 individuals, most of whom received a lump sum payment of $63.49, regardless of the number of classes or other professional obligations they may have had in 2017.
(N.B. There seem to have been a number of part-time professionals who were overlooked in the December payments, but who received minuscule awards along the lines of those paid to our part-time teaching faculty; these additional individuals were not included on the attached lists, which represent those reported by the campus to SUNY Central/UUP in December.)
Following are two pdf reports reflecting all of the individuals who received these DSA payments in December 2018. The first list covers the 205 part-time bargaining unit members who were received DSA payments; the second list comprises the 347 full-time academic and professional faculty who received DSA, in amounts ranging from $231.42 to $2,147.63.
UUP member Joel Oppenheimer has undertaken an exciting new project on campus where he aims to examine toxic masculinity. Joel has been a Senior Counselor at the SUNY New Paltz Counseling Center since 2015, and is now working on a new program with the goal of reducing sexual assaults on campus by having open discussions about masculinity. Joel says that men need to look more critically at their role in masculinity and recognize how they benefit and are negatively impacted by masculinity. Joel says women are often left with the responsibility of addressing sexual assaults and that needs to change. He says that men need to take responsibility for being part of a culture that allows sexual assault. Joel says that we have many great programs that support people harmed by sexual assault, but no programs to address those who have caused the harm. These upcoming workshops will feature Native American Chief Sachem Hawkstorm who hopes to build community by finding connections through our shared story. The goal of building community, Joel says, is to show that we are here to hear each other, not hurt each other. He says that so many people feel alone with their issues and don’t realize that there is help. Joel says that if we feel heard then we are less likely to hurt others. This process will help attendees understand their responsibility to the community and move New Paltz closer to positive masculinity.
Q&A with Joel Oppenheimer
The term “toxic masculinity” is trending across social media and the news. What about the current atmosphere has brought this term to the forefront of our society?
The “Me Too” movement has strongly brought sexual assault conversations forward and part of those conversations is this idea of male privilege. This comes with this idea of this grey zone which is where men can take advantage of male privilege. This is playing on gender power dynamics in a way that’s pushing the line of appropriateness in different spaces where men know they can act in intimidating ways, whether it be sexual behavior or power dynamics in the workplace. A lot of this is coming up more because women are now able to talk about it more. What’s important for me and what I’d love to get across in this article is the amount of emotional work it takes for a woman to come forward. My masculinity project is working to shift that to men, and that the responsibility to address toxic masculinity is mens responsibility. Men need to understand our role in it, understand how we take advantage of it, and then call out other men for this type of behavior. My deeper goal is to reduce sexual assaults on campus by helping people of all gender identities to look at how masculinity impacts us all.
The community at SUNY New Paltz is generally quite progressive in terms of addressing societal issues. Do you think this culture has an effect on the presence of toxic masculinity?
Statistically we are in line with other campuses in terms of sexual assault. Despite the progressive thoughts and people that are here, this idea of masculinity and it effects on sexual assaults are still the same. If we look at the population of people who have been harmed by sexual assault, we do an okay job of supporting them. We have programs like Title IX, we have support groups on campus, we have services for victims. But we don’t have a single thing to address the men who have actually done it. If the women feel strong enough to come forward and say a name, and go through that very difficult process, we have to look at the other side. We have take a look at the people doing harm, and see how we can work with them to reduce the harm that they are causing. We all have to work together to change this culture, and I feel that this masculinity project is a way to get all genders involved in this conversation, especially men, in a way that’s looking at shifting culture and affecting each other.
How can women help address toxic masculinity around them?
Women can hold men accountable. Again, that takes a lot of emotional space for them. They can support men in a way that helps men feel safer to be more vulnerable, to talk more about their feelings. Women can share their personal stories of what gender oppression feels like. I don’t think that is women’s responsibility, but I think that’s a way they can help if they feel they are able to do so.
How do you reach out to men who embody “toxic masculinity”?
People who are significantly toxic are surrounded by other people who are supporting that. Part of it is getting them in the conversation as best as we can, and getting them to show up to things like this, and hearing stories from other men. My in is about what it is really like to be a man today. We all have issues with our fathers. We all have issues with isolation and loneliness. Not all of us, but it’s a super common theme. There’s feelings of not wanting to be open and vulnerable, and these are basic human things that we go through, and that’s really where it starts. It’s so hard for us to see what this culture does to us. We know this from all kinds of studies about high levels of suicide in men, particularly white men between the ages of 25 and 45, and we know that the depression rates are very high in this population. We know that as men go through life they have less and less friends and are less and less connected. Then we look at the active shooters. These are white men struggling with this same issues.
What can the community expect from your upcoming workshops regarding “toxic masculinity”?
I’m going to be co-facilitating these workshops with a native american by the name of Sachem Hawkstorm, a native american chief from this area. What we are doing is building relationships in the community through stories. We are bringing different individuals together to tell stories, and when we tell stories we humanize each other. Some of it is about helping the people in the room to be more connected with each other, building our community, and the other part of it is understanding our responsibility to a broader community. I’m trying to change toxic masculinity to positive masculinity. Part of positive masculinity involves breaking down hierarchy and status, because that’s something that people take advantage of in many ways. At a workshop last semester we had deans, high level faculty members, and we did not identify who they were or what their title was. We broke down status to put everybody on the same level in order to break down this topic and share with each other how this affects us. What I heard back from people who were authority figures is that they were so thankful to just be themselves. One of the deepest aspects of our cultural issues is identities that separate us and don’t bring us together. Part of breaking down status is saying that we are all one, and this is something that Sachem Hawkstorm and a lot of indigenous cultures can really bring in a much more truthful way than I can. This is about breaking down color and gender and getting to a deeper place of wholeness and connection through a unified story that exists through our community. I’m in the process of putting together what I call the “positive masculinity toolkit” which will help people become more aware of these issues. I also want to put together a leadership model, so we really want to get a lot of students to come together to see if there are some leaders who can take this information with them and be leaders in this area.