Rutgers professors say they’ve been cheated in pay equity adjustments, especially those who work in Camden

Lisa Zeidner, a 42-year Rutgers-Camden English teacher, said she has earned almost 30% less than her male counterparts since hiring, a gap that now stands at around $ 30,000.

This week, however, Zeidner was one of more than 100 professors who received salary adjustments in response to allegations of inequity based on gender and race, as well as differences between Rutgers’ three campuses in New York. -Brunswick, Newark and Camden.

But the university only gave her $ 12,000, she said.

“It’s really not fairness,” said Zeidner, one of five professors who filed an unequal pay complaint against Rutgers about a year ago.

The Rutgers Faculty Union, which has called for changes since the pay equity law came into effect in New Jersey in 2018, said the salary adjustments had reduced professors by at least $ 750,000, maybe up to $ 1 million. And professors on the Camden campus, who say they have long been treated unfairly in terms of salaries and resources compared to their Newark and New Brunswick counterparts, have once again paid the price.

Although other colleges have faced lawsuits or pay equity complaints, Rutgers is said to be among the first to address the issue through such a process, which began to be developed as part of the collective agreement concluded in 2019.

New Brunswick campus faculty who filed applications received an equity adjustment of about 13%, while those at Rutgers-Camden got 7%, said Jim Brown, associate professor of English and chair. from the Rutgers-Camden section of AAUP-AFT.

Rutgers-Camden made up about half of the 105 professors who requested adjustments in the first round. And about one in five of those Rutgers-Camden professors received nothing, he said.

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“Rutgers-Camden is consistently underpaid compared to the other two campuses,” Brown said. He said he was “inundated with texts and emails expressing his anger” after Rutgers’ letters came out on Tuesday night.

Rutgers said in a statement that it distributed $ 1.2 million in salary adjustments based on a negotiated process and that the adjustments reflected “a detailed analysis of the relevant work-related factors for each person who requested a review in order to to determine if it is paid on a fair basis.

The university declined to comment further.

As part of the process, faculty were allowed to choose faculty peers, called “comparators,” who earn more than themselves and explain why they should earn the same. The information was readily available as Rutgers’ status as a public institution means that salaries are public. When professors submitted their letters, in many cases deans signed them, union officials and professors say, but the comparators were later changed by the university. In some cases, the university has compared full professors to non-tenured professors or women to other female professors or made other unfair comparisons, they said.

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The university also used “regression analysis”, which took into account rank, title, discipline, and other factors. Some professors said they were confused as to the nature of these other factors.

“It’s totally opaque,” said Maureen Donaghy, associate professor and head of the political science department at Rutgers-Camden.

She said she compared herself to two associate professors of political science in Newark, a man and a woman, who won $ 111,000 and $ 115,000. She won $ 90,000 when she applied. (She has since received a merit raise.) The two had worked at Rutgers for fewer years than she did, she said.

She also noted that an assistant professor, someone who had a rank lower than her, made $ 10,000 more than her.

But the university only offered her $ 2,000, she said.

“It just makes me feel like I’m underestimated and questioning Rutgers, their transparency and their reliability,” she said.

Haydee Herrera-Guzman, associate professor of mathematics at Rutgers-Camden, said the comparators she provided for the Newark and New Brunswick campuses earn between $ 24,000 and $ 42,000 more. She chose four men and one woman and applied on the basis of gender inequalities and on campus, she said. The university offered him $ 8,000.

“It hurts,” said Herrera-Guzman, also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, who has worked at Rutgers since 2002.

Brown, the union president, said median salaries for arts and science teachers are considerably lower in Rutgers-Camden. Associate professors earn $ 96,093, compared to nearly $ 124,000 in New Brunswick. At the highest level, that of Distinguished Professor, the median comparison is $ 215,292 to $ 173,700, Brown said.

“At every level, the disparities are stark,” said Brown.

New Brunswick teachers were also disappointed.

Deepa Kumar, a professor of media studies and also a complainant, said her comparator joined Rutgers the same year she did, earning just $ 3,000 more.

“What has happened since then is what happens to women of color at this university,” she said.

He was offered for promotion before her, even though they have the same track record and accomplishments, she said, and he received a raise of $ 22,000 after receiving a job offer.

When she was established shortly after him, she asked for a raise and was told to receive a job offer, she said.

Now he earns $ 50,000 more than her, she said. She earns about $ 140,000.

The university in its fit offered $ 10,000, she said.

“In the 21st century, the fact that women and women of color earn even less than their white male counterparts is truly astonishing and sends the wrong message to our younger daughters and sisters and all the young people of today,” said she declared.

Zeidner, Rutgers’ longtime professor, said the process had not been easy.

“It is very difficult to speak publicly about wages, but I think it is necessary to see how some people are undervalued and how inequalities persist,” she said.

“I earn $ 150,000, which may seem generous, until you realize that I have been here for 42 years, published eight books and held many administrative positions, and that New Brunswickers and Newarkers, in the same discipline with fewer publications, earn $ 25,000 to $ 38,000 more.

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About Mark A. Tomlin

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