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Letter to the Editor

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By The Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff, ALLIANCE, and the Hispanic Policy Network 

The Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff wish to express our grave concern regarding the university administration’s decision to displace and eventually replace our current custodial/ Facilities staff with contracted workers. We stand in firm opposition to this decision, as it sharply contradicts the following shared values that our university proudly advertises and to which we espouse, which are: 

•A diversity of people and ideas, a spirit of inclusiveness, a global perspective, and a sense of community as essential conditions for campus life; 

•A commitment to service and leadership for the public good; 

•Responsible stewardship of our resources and environment; and 

•Continued reflection and evaluation to ensure that our strengths as a community always benefit those we serve. 

It is imperative that our institution and its administrative leadership uphold the values that attract so many faculty, staff, and students to our institution, rather than surreptitiously reject those same values when fiscally convenient. In fact, it is affinity groups such as the Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff, Alliance, and Hispanic Policy Network that serve as vigilant stewards of our institutional practices, so that we are always honoring in both theory and practice, a sound resolve and commitment to what not only benefits the communities that we serve, but also the communities who faithfully serve us. We understand that the McCoy custodial staff will likely be displaced as early as December 2018, with the remaining custodial staff to later be displaced and replaced with contract custodial workers by the year 2020. CBFS, HPN, and Alliance will continue to collectively air our grievances around a structural determination that disproportionately impacts our communities by destabilizing their sense of job security and diminishes the integrity of their relationship with our institution after years of committed service. As a consequence of this planned action, the institution has breached the trust we felt as fellow members of the TXST community. To acknowledge a potential mistake is a first step, but more importantly, we insist that our institutional leadership reconsider this decision, as it feels punitive for our already underappreciated Facilities staff who are largely people of color. Furthermore, as Texas State University is the largest employer in the city of San Marcos, this will undoubtedly have seismic repercussions on our fellow employees’ families and their ability to earn what was scarcely a living wage as part of the Texas State University community. Our institution has failed its constituents in the past by refusing to proactively act in confronting what is unethical and harmful to its own community and instead, sat idly by until the need was so urgent, that action was inevitable. This cannot and should not be the pattern of behavior that our institutional administration assumes with its own community members. Thus, The Coalition of Black Faculty and Staff is issuing a call to action from our administration to do something different, something honorable; something right. Be the exemplars of the inclusive spirit that this institution proclaims to have. Be the dutiful providers of opportunity and reward for those who have faithfully served this institution. Be the leadership that we are still hoping for by not turning your backs on your own community of employees who are often rendered invisible. Our custodial/ Facilities staff are not only visible to us, but they are the backbone of this institution, and by privatizing their positions, you are promoting self-serving, corporate practices that disenfranchise your own people- our people. Simply, we insist that you to act in accordance with the “commitment to service and leadership for the public good” that you proclaim. 

ALLIANCE at Texas State is deeply concerned by the university administration’s actions regarding the transition to contracted custodial staff. Texas State-employed custodial staff take pride in their work, with many individuals serving as mentors to our students and going above and beyond the requirements of their positions. These employees deserve job security, benefits, and a living wage for making Texas State beautiful. Additionally, ALLIANCE membership spans across campus, with many of us working in spaces where such a transition has already taken place. We are in agreement that privatized custodial services result in a diminishment of work quality and service. In short, our custodial staff members, many of which represent marginalized communities and identities, are an integral part of our Texas State family and the members of ALLIANCE encourage the reconsideration of the transition to contracted custodial personnel. 

Hispanic Policy Network (HPN) is greatly concerned and in opposition with Texas State’s decision to move to contracted personnel for staff positions within Facilities. Staff members within Facilities (Custodial Operations, Facilities, Facilities Management, Facilities Operations, Facilities Planning, Design and Construction, Grounds and Waste Management Operations and Utility Operations) are essential to our community at Texas State, and in addition to and beyond their technical knowledge and skilled expertise. Our colleagues labor and take considerable pride in the beautification and maintenance of our campus and quality of service offered to our students. We consider their efforts as valuable contributions to the retention, success and graduation of our students – and not simply as labor. Our students can sleep, study, learn and live comfortably because of their diligence and efforts. Moreover, it is important to recognize one of our colleagues’ most overlooked contributions to Texas State – the mentoring of racial/ethnic underrepresented students. It is also important to stress that many of our colleagues in Facilities have chosen to enroll their own children as students to Texas State. Through their roles, they readily access information regarding academic and support programs, initiatives and scholarship. Additionally, they continue to support University-wide fundraising campaigns and volunteering beyond paying their child’s tuition and fees. Our colleagues deserve fair and equitable opportunities and treatment that overshadow the benefits of privatization of their positions. The displacement of these valuable staff members by moving to contracted personnel will affect their employment security, benefits, living wages, and self-worth. This change will greatly impact many of our Hispanic/Latinx staff, who make up the largest number of staff in Facilities. As a Hispanic/Latinx faculty and staff organization, HPN is deeply concerned with the inconsistency in the practices of our University’s core values as related to diversity and inclusion. We, in agreement with Alliance of Texas State and Coalition of Black Faculty & Staff, highly encourage and request that you change your decision to move towards privatized contracted positions. 

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