Letters to the Editor

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 07, 2013 5:00 AM

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Faculty need balanced lives

I am writing in response to a recent article on the Board of Regents report that found UI faculty work an average of 57.57 hours per week. It seems as if the regents have come to expect excessive “overtime” hours from the faculty at the three regents’ universities in Iowa. 

I have been a professor at Iowa for 16 years, and I have serious reservations about the message that the regents are sending: that work is valued more than family or personal life. Faculty who make the choice to give personal lives equal priority to their work lives are penalized in the merit-pay system (which is the process used at Iowa for faculty). This system rewards achievements that can only be accomplished by very long work hours that preclude involvement in home life, be that sustaining relationships, caring for children or other family members, or engaging in healthy leisure activities. In my own experience at Iowa, I have certainly paid the price at work for prioritizing raising my son, as well sacrificing my family life so that I could achieve promotion, tenure, and merit raises.

Until the university, the Board of Regents, and society as a whole acknowledge and value workers’ choices to balance personal and professional life, we will continue to be forced to make sacrifices that come at the expense of one or the other. If the regents would like to encourage faculty to invest such long hours, they would be well-served devoting more of their efforts providing faculty with the necessary support systems to do so, such as on-site daycare, elder care, and maternity leave for both fathers and mothers (faculty members do not receive formal maternity leave, unless they choose to take unpaid leave) so that they can continue to be high achievers as well as balanced human beings.  

Christine Rutledge

Olson campaign on the move

In the span of one week Tyler Olson’s gubernatorial campaign secured the support of every member of the University of Iowa College Democrats Executive Board and also won the endorsement of AFSCME/Iowa, which represents many public employees in Johnson County including employees of the university.

It is quite obvious that Olson’s campaign is on the move here in Johnson County. I believe that exemplifies the energized motivation and campaign organization that Iowa Democrats will need to defeat Terry Branstad in November of 2014.

Mike Weinard

Behind the Obamacare websites

I read a lot about people complaining about the Obamacare websites not working. If they took the $24 billion the Republican tea party wasted shutting down the government and had the programming talent of the NSA spying agency working on the website instead of illegally spying on us, we wouldn’t have these website problems.

Out here in sunny California, we don’t have these web site problems because we set up our own exchanges. Most of the problems are affecting states that opted out and didn’t want Obamacare in the first place. There’s a word that describes that, but ironically, I can’t remember what it is.

Marc Perkel

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