Arbitrator Rules In Favor of UF Professor
By Dan Breitwieser, TV 20 News.
Andrea Pham said it felt like her career was ruined in June 2008 when she found out she was being laid off. But an arbitrator has given her job back to her.
"This wonderful colleague has been put through a year of hell for what is now by an independent party declared to be improper reasons," says UF Faculty Union President John Biro.
Because of budget cuts, UF officials planned to cut the Vietnamese language courses Pham has taught since August 2002. So they gave her notice she was losing her job in June 2009, before she would be eligible for tenure. The arbitrator ruled that UF was obligated to offer her other classes she was qualified to teach because other faculty with less experience were not being laid off.
"It means that the University of Florida may have to change how it prepares some budget proposals in the future," says University of Florida spokeswoman Janine Sikes. "But at the moment it has no impact whatsoever on the University of Florida's budget situation which continues."
Pham was not in her office Wednesday afternoon and did not return a phone message.
Biro says the reason she was laid off was not the courses or the money saved, but a restructuring of the university using financial need as the excuse.
"All university change but they change as a result of lengthy deliberation and reflective rational discussion," says Biro. "Not under the smokescreen and that's what's been happening here"
Biro says Hannah Filip, another faculty member who found out she was being laid off at the same time, should be having her arbitration hearing soon, possibly in April.
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