UM faculty speaks up about job cuts - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

UM faculty speaks up about job cuts

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MISSOULA -

About 30 lecturers who thought they were out of a job at the University of Montana found out hours later that they are still employed after the school reversed their decision.

The University reversed its decision to terminate 30 lecturers after the faculty union said it planned to file an unfair labor practice complaint.

A few of the lecturers on Monday expressed their take on the situation.

Alex Bulmahn, a physics lecturer, said that he saw the cuts coming, but he said that it happened sooner than he anticipated, especially right before the last week of classes.

And he said that his colleagues are feeling the same way. 

"Demoralized at best. I mean you go between depression, anger, complete confusion. This process doesn't seem to have a rhyme or a reason and getting this at 1:30 pm in the afternoon on a Friday and getting an email at 10:15 the same night, pulling it back is just kind of a whirlwind that a lot of people don't know what to think," said Bulmahn.

Bulmahn said that whirlwind is in part due to a lack of communication between the faculty and administration.

He said that it is hard to work with the administration because they aren't consulting the faculty before making decisions like this.

"I absolutely love the Missoula community and leaving here would be really hard to imagine. I do love every time in get in front of a classroom. I mean that is certainly what i would like to do. It's the question of whether we can get through this and get different people involved in the positions that are making these decisions. We will kind of see how that all plays out," said Bulmahn.

Bulmahn said that lecturers are devoted to teaching.

He said that they teach more credited hours than tenured professors and are paid less for it.

Another lecturer, Gary Kerr, said that he was devastated when he received the termination letter.

Kerr said that lecturers have some of the strongest hearts and will stand up for students as much as they can.

He is afraid that cutting lecturers could have a larger impact on the school.

"I want to stay. We're teaching. Let us teach more. But to not teach and the number of students we have who want to stay here. I think the students are the only reason the university is here, so if the dedicated faculty at the lowest level are being cut. That is going to affect all faculty, our recruitment, and our retention. So if everybody were to believe students are first then we need to actually address that," said Kerr.

Lecturers are still employed until further notice. 

Late this afternoon, we received an email from Paula Short, UM’s Communications Director, that said the President, Sheila Stearns, plans to reach out to each lecturer to explain exactly what happened.

Short also said that UM regrets the stress this process caused for faculty.   

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