I am here to communicate that there is a great deal of dissatisfaction among faculty and employees at UCF. I know at the last BOT meeting you spoke to and received data about the impact of the Great Resignation at UCF. I know we are expected to act and feel that the pandemic is over, but for many of us it doesn’t feel like it is over and for those that might not feel that way can’t ignore the scars from the last two years.
I am here because we have concerns about how UCF is spending funds. UCF has only spent 31.8% of HEERF (Higher Ed Emergency Relief Funding from the Federal Government); they are sitting on $112,364,913.77 of unspent funding.
Some of that funding is set aside to provide relief for employees during the pandemic. What we are seeing is UCF sitting on funds. This financial behavior has a long history of going back at least a decade. In years past the legislature punished UCF for stockpiling money for a raining day while hurricane force winds were blowing around us and they later stepped in to force UCF to spend down those funds.
More recently we saw UCF squirrel away funding and used said funding to build Trevor Colbourn Hall, an act which produced a financial scandal and brought down a president at UCF.
Sherry Andrews, Associate General Counsel at UCF, told us in a June bargaining meeting that UCF had a bad habit…a policy of making internal loans that weren’t really loans. She said this created a problem or a mess with their budget they had still not resolved.
Instead of using these federal COVID funds in improving instruction, or provide the means for faculty and employees to get through the pandemic, UCF is instead sitting on this funding.
What UCF employees need is direct relief as we are exiting the second year of the pandemic. The President and Provost of UCF have showered UCF Faculty and employees with praise and we have heard how proud they are of us, but talk is cheap. This funding can be used to support and help sustain faculty and employees, this was the intent of the funding and we expect UCF to use some of this federal funding directly on employees.
Many of us including my own household have taken deferring our student loans during the pandemic and that ends in January, let’s not forget the rising costs of goods and services, housing, home ownership all have gone up during the past year.
You rewarded the president for his hard work over the past year with a $197.000 bonus, I am sure that went a long way to make his household whole since the pandemic. None of us in this room and no one in the union wants President Cartwright to be visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past this coming holiday.
Higher Ed Emergency Relief Funding can be spent on direct aid to faculty and employees at UCF and we expect UCF to do so.