LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -
How long could your workplace go without paychecks before things started getting ugly?
The faculty at one Arkansas college has entered their second month without pay.
100 days after Arkansas Baptist College had a campus-wide computer-system meltdown, the effects are still being felt.
Since September students at Arkansas Baptist College have complained about not getting federal financial aid assistance that they were expecting and needing.
Now the technological issues are creating a hardship for the faculty.
In a statement issued Monday, the college explains that "...because federal funds have not yet become available, employees have not yet received their November payroll deposits. We expect that to occur soon."
Over the weekend Diann Parker, president of Arkansas Baptist College faculty senate, emailed a list of 15 concerns.
Here is a partial list of the concerns:
The condition of the college library. Problems with access to technology. No waiting area for the business office. Higher student fees without direct student benefits. A lack of professionalism from Chief Financial Officer Billy Owens. Intimidation and threats of retaliation. Board approved raises have not materialized. 25 percent pay cuts have not been restored. A lack of fiscal checks and balances. And the governing board is not sufficiently autonomous.
Arkansas Baptist College President Fitz Hill is out of the state on business and says he will be happy to discuss the concerns upon his return.
A link to the full list of faculty concerns emailed to KATV by Ms. Parker can be found below.
Air date: December 9th, 2013
NOTE: The day after this report aired KATV received an email from LaCresha Newton, Chief of Staff for Arkansas Baptist College. It included an attached statement from Diann Parker which reads as follows:
"I am writing to state that I did not authorize, write or release any information to the local news media or any other entities, as was reported on December 9, 2013."
Time: 09:42:45 PM ET
Form Name: Contact 7 On Your Side
USER PROFILE INFORMATION
Email Address: ****
Zip Code: 72202
First Name: Diann
Last Name: parker
City: little rock
Phone Number: 501-372-****
Enter your tip here: December 8, 2013 Arkansas Baptist College 162 1 Martin Luther King Drive Little Rock, AR 72202
Greetings Dr. Manning, President, Higher Learning Commission, and Board of Trustees Members: We the Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) Faculty Senate are submitting this letter to the Higher Learning Commission.
Recent events precipitated a convening of the ABC Administrative Confidence Committee. At the conclusion of the meeting, the attached documentation was presented to the Faculty Senate. Documentation lays out deficiencies in the performance of Dr. Fitz Hill, president, and Mr. Billy Owens, Chief Financial Officer/Executive Vice President. The documentation goes further to identify concerns faculty have regarding the detrimental effect his continued performance may have for our institution.
Dr. Hill and Mr. Owens' administration can best be characterized as one of "crisis" in fiscal management and oversight, including a lack of transparency relating to the following: • Shared governance relating to financial operations is none existent • Projected budgets with promises of hard copy distribution being made but not followed through and • Intimidation and threats of retaliation are commonplace. The Faculty Senate is gravely concerned that the college is in violation of the HLC's criteria for accreditation and core components. Most of the faculty's concerns reflect long-lingering problems that have largely from the faculty's point of view been continuously ignored by the current executive administration and by the College's Board of Directors.
Faulty concerns herein addressed include: 1. The unsatisfactory condition of the college library: it is really a matter of great distress that the books are in a very bad condition. Most of the books which are required by us, are either unavailable or have very few copies, insufficient for us. Even the text books are not available, thus depriving economically weaker students from getting assistance. Sufficient seating and proper reading facilities are also absent (Crit. 3D). 2. Problem with Access to Electronic and Information Technology (Crit. 3D.4). 3. Students and traveling family members are being left standing outside of the business office with a heat index on some days of over 95 degrees. We are often reminded as faculty members that our students are customers. Have we failed to relay this message to the business office? If appropriate and courteous service is not forthcoming to students and their families in this location and frustrations arise, often their awkward emotions trickle into the learning environment which in turn disrupts the learning process. (Crit. 5A. 4.) 4. Along with an extended delay in student financial aid refunds, ABC students' fees and tuition costs were raised as with area institutions; however, in contrast, ABC students have remained absent of imperative educational resources, such as computer and Internet access that would allow ABC students to be in contact with the most indispensable systems (e.g., financial aid, ledger, etc.) on this campus as on other campuses, as well as the course management system. . (Crit. 5A.5 ) 5. Faculty members are using their own personal funds in efforts to help meet the undelivered necessities of students in order to retain those who are enrolled. 6. Under Mr. Owens' leadership, there have been numerous fraudulent incidents of double-billing student general ledgers and countless scholarship awards not being immediately applied to students' accounts (Crit. 2A & 2B). 7. The unprofessional demeanor and tone used by Mr. Billy Owens, such as sarcastically addressing a faculty member's concern regarding his financial situation due to his lack of contracted funds that were not being directly deposited. Also, when asked about the lack of payment for insurance carriers, he viciously quipped, "Don't get sick." When told that we had a pregnant faculty member, his uncompassionate, mean spirited response was ''I'm sorry you're pregnant." 8. During Mr. Owens' administration, we have experienced intimidation and threats of retaliation (Crit. 2D). 9. Dr. Hill often speaks of transparency. As faculty members, we were not seeing this transparency during this critical time. Faculty members were still arriving at this institution daily to educate as promised, funds were being taken from their families in hope of remaining employed and to receive the contracted paycheck. At that point, we were the only ones holding up our part of the ABC instructional contract, formally teaching and keeping routine office hours. At that time, we were working with no compensation, broken promises of pay dates, and added stress due to our personal non-payment of personal financial obligations. Not only were we not being paid, but our insurance carriers were not being paid although the money was deducted from our monthly salaries. 10. The lack of shared governance contributes to the abusive and ineffective practices in Dr. Hill leadership and management (Crit. 1D) 11. Faculty compensation, board approved raises during the 20 10 academic year that were never delivered with no explanation. In fact, when the college raises tuition and fees, it is standard practice for colleges to also pay faculty at least a 2% increase in salary. Also, in May 2012, faculty and staff salaries were cut 25% and they were to be reinstated in August 20 13 but salary cuts were not reinstated. 12. Countless payroll inaccuracies have repeatedly occurred during this administration leadership. Faculty members frequently have received paychecks for salaries but were not compensated for earned adjunct wages. This unexplainable, random pattern of inaccuracies appears to have extended into the current belated pay cycle-some faculty overpaid, some faculty underpaid. 13. Under this administration there has not been any fiscal checks and balances established. They have not produced an actual budget for the faculty or staff to review. They have not implemented the use of departmental or operational budgets. As faculty, we have not seen any documentation from an audit review. 14. Dr. Hill and Mr. Billy Owens have NOT conducted themself or the affairs of the college with integrity. There has not been a telltale sense of urgency for traditional academic standards or academic enhancements. In addition, the college is not administered with the ABC mission or a student centered focus in mind. 15. The governing board of the institution is NOT sufficiently autonomous to make decisions in the best interest of the institution and to assure its integrity (Crit. 2C).
Sincerely, Ms. Diann Parker, President Arkansas Baptist College Faculty Senate
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