Last week, I mentioned this odd “gesture of appreciation” my university was making to thank us for all our hard work and sacrifices during these pandemic years. We could take two days off in the coming semester. I was baffled…no, I can’t. I’m in a salaried position with daily responsibilities to my students and colleagues — unless you’re telling me that I can send the students home, this is a meaningless, useless gift.
I said as much to one of our administrators, and whoa, I got a straight answer from them. They admitted that “the days off are not as meaningful a gift of time for faculty as for others.” They’re a good thing for staff with regular 9-5 working days, I agree — of course, I suspect that they’ll get eaten up with sick days, or days spent caring for kids who’ve been sent home for school. Then I was told I “can take a day off formally, in the system when you are not teaching”, which is great, except that teaching is something I have to do every day, and is my primary job responsibility. So basically this is a promise of a little extra free time that I’m not allowed to take, but hey, the administration at the Twin Cities campus gets to feel good about doing a little something which is actually nothing.
I suspect some out of touch bright MBA in the marble halls of the central administration wracked their brains really hard to come up with a sop to the workers that would look really good on paper to outsiders, yet wouldn’t cost the university a penny.