I thought about taking the rejection of my three steps to the union, but then I thought that maybe I should look into whatever official channels for redress or reconsideration there might be. My boss said that, according to the academic manual, I had the same right as anybody else to write a letter to the appropriate parties asking for a copy of the official report upon which the rejection of my merit increase had been based.
So I wrote said letter and waited. Throughout the summer. When fall came I asked my boss if she would ask for me at the end of September, then I asked if she would ask at the end of October and finally, some time, in October I got a copy of the official report. It didn’t make any sense. For one thing, my boss had said that the committee had whole heartedly back my three step merit; but the person writing the report remarked that the backing could hardly be considered whole hearted since one person had voted against my getting an increase.
This clarified one thing right off. Different people over in the administration building had reviewed the different merit cases. How could one vote against me be taken as a sign that I didn’t deserve my three steps when one person who had three votes against him or her had received the three steps? This could only mean that one person had approved a three step for a person with three no votes, and another person had reviewed me and taken one no vote as a sign that I didn’t deserve the merit. Not only had two people done the review of the cases, but clearly these two people had never sat down in the same room or talked to each other to standardize the criteria they were using to evaluate the merit requests.
Second, and glaringly, the author of the report said that he or she didn’t see why I should get a three step merit for this last four year period of review when I had done at least as much, if not more excellent work, in the three years before that and yet I had not requested a three step at that time. So why should I request and get a three step this time, when I hadn’t requested or gotten one before. This was a major gaffe indicating that the person writing my review had not been given much information about lecturers and their contract or he or she would have known that the last time I was reviewed it was not possible, according to the then existing contract, to ask for a three step merit.
This was like more than annoying. It was damn disheartening. I couldn’t help but feel, while of course there was nothing personal about it, that my case, and probably the cases of other lecturers as well, had been handled in a cursory, offhand, and desultory manner. But I screwed myself up, and sent a copy of the report off to my boss, along with my analysis of it, and more or less agreeing with my analysis, she wrote off a letter to the appropriate parties requesting that my case be re-reviewed.
The photo shows a slightly different view of my office. That’s my official campus supplied computer there, and the viewer will note that it has been adjusted to the proper height by the very latest in phone directories. Next to the phone directory sits my modern up to date touch tone phone that will not allow me to phone anybody outside my immediate area code.