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Dear Faculty Colleagues,

Below is a response prepared by members of the United Faculty Coalition to President Ely's message to
students Friday afternoon about the Program Prioritization Process. The responses are written to
students, and we ask President Ely to share this response with the "Current Students" list as faculty are
restricted from using it. Failing that, we suggest faculty share accurate and important information with
students and colleagues as they see fit. What is happening at this College affects all of us.

The UFC response is included below as response to specific points in President Ely's message. Our
responses are the underlined text in blue.


Jaeney Hoene
UFC President

From: Eileen Ely

Sent: Friday, April 08, 2016 1:01 PM
Cc: *Restricted - All College Mail
Subject: Program and Service Prioritization Process (PPP)

There have been several inquiries from students about the Program and Service Prioritization
Process (PPP), and budget tensions at Green River College. First and foremost, PPP is a tool that
is being implemented to make informed decisions about how to strengthen programs at Green
River, and provide an opportunity for further analysis of operations. What Dr. Ely does not tell
you is that this PPP process may be an unfair unilateral change in the program review
process already in the faculty contract. In fact, a hearing on the matter will be held by the
Public Employee Relations Board (PERC) in early May. Why the administration wishes to
put so many faculty and programs in a high state of anxiety over the very survival of their
programs and jobs, before knowing if the process is legal is beyond
understanding. However, we find it symbolic of the lack of respect this administration has
shown the United Faculty and its contractual obligations. While the Administration could
have bargained to adapt or revise the program review in the contract, it seems they instead
choose to try an end run around it. Perhaps they hoped no one would notice or care, but

they guessed wrong. Our students, staff, and faculty will not stand for obfuscation and

The catalyst for PPP was impending fiscal challenges that Green River will begin to realize in
coming months. These include:

Decrease in allocation model

The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) has changed the method it uses
to determine how much of the funding provided by legislature will be allocated to each of the
colleges. The new allocation model will decrease Green Rivers state allocation by $1,500,000 a
year. The overall allocation provided by the State has not changed. The new model was
designed to address what was considered unfair distributions in the past, so under the
new model, some colleges will receive more funding, and some less. According to a
document provided by Nicholas Lutes, Operating Budget Director at the State Board for
Community and Technical Colleges, the new allocation model will mean that GRC will
receive $956,874 less each year, but the initial impact will be spread over 4 years. It is not
certain how the college arrives at the $1.5M figure. There are unknown factors at this

Decreased tuition due to low enrollment

Enrollment at Green River has declined over the past few years. As the economy recovered,
fewer people attend college. There has also been a decrease in area high school graduation
rates. Both of these have contributed to a dip in enrollment that has caused a $700,000 loss for
the college in tuition revenue. According to the latest report that was supplied by GRCs
Office of Institutional Effectiveness (table below) overall enrollments are up 2.26%. In
fact, International Student enrollments are up 6.08% and Running Start enrollments are
up 15.79%. The college is focused on the dip of 2.18% in State-funded students. It is true
that almost all colleges are experiencing this dip. Historically, as the economy improves
and more return to work (a good thing), college enrollments dip. These cycles can be
predicted well in advance and good fiscal stewards of institutions should plan for them
when they forecast budgets. GRC has focused on recruiting International Students because
of the considerable profit they provide. But now, because of the new funding model, they
now want to focus on the recruitment of our local students. It would seem that recruitment
and meeting the needs of local students should have always been a bigger priority.
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Health Care Authority (HCA) judgment


Moore v. HCA is a case in which the Health Care Authority had provided incorrect information
to Washington state agencies regarding benefits for part-time employees. The SBCTC portion of
the damages is $13.1 million. Of this, roughly $270,000 is Green Rivers responsibility. This
class action suit was brought by State of Washington employees who worked at least halftime on nonstandard work schedules. The employees were eligible for employer-paid health
insurance, but the State failed to provide that health insurance even though the employees
averaged at least half-time. More information can be found at It is a good thing that GRCs employees who were
wrongly denied health insurance are now being covered. The college is correct that our
share of the damages is $270,000. However, this is a one-time cost that should not be
included in budgets impacted beyond next year. The amount represents approximately
0.2% of GRCs annual budget. Fiscally responsible institutions should always have
reserve/emergency funds to cover unexpected costs such as this.

Faculty salary increases/contract

The United Faculty Coalition settled their contract with Green River, including salary increases
that total roughly $970,000. The college is correct that faculty received a salary
increase. After six years of receiving no increase at all, and classified staff taking a 3% cut,
the college awarded fulltime faculty a 1% raise and adjuncts 2.7%. This process took over
600 days from the time our previous contract expired. From the time negotiations actually
started, it took the college nearly 2 years to negotiate a 3-year contract. The administration
hired Summit Law Group, a Seattle law firm, to negotiate against the faculty. This cost the
college $126,978.
It is important to put the $970,000 salary increase in perspective. Much of this represents
money that was actually owed to faculty in their previous contract. These increases, called
increments, are paid for longevity, advanced degrees, etc. It is worth knowing as well that
the increments were paid out of local funds (a budget category made up largely of
international student tuition), which means the College's operating budget was or could
be enhanced from local funds to pay the increments. Had the legislature not allowed this
change to possible sources for increment funding, it is unlikely the College would have
agreed to pay the owed increments at all because the other funding sources for increments
were not sufficient. Approved funding sources are now state allocated money to pay
increments (almost never happens), turnover savings from when a faculty member leaves
and salary is saved because their replacement starts at a lower salary (usually insufficient),
and local funds. Thus, the paying of increments likely does not represent a debit on the
operating budget as it already existed, but an agreement the College made to move
additional local funds, which are ample, into that budget in order to pay the owed
It is also important to put this raise in perspective by looking at how much it represents for
each faculty member. For a fulltime faculty member who makes $60,000 it represents a
$600 increase in their base salary. For an adjunct making $20,000 it represents a $540
increase on their base salary.

While at any given time it is hard to determine the precise number of fulltime and adjunct
faculty, Human Resources recently listed these numbers as 488 adjuncts to 163 fulltime, or
a total of 651 faculty. (This 3 to 1 ratio, which has risen over the last five years, is a
deplorable statistic.) If the $970,000 increase were distributed equally among these 651
faculty, the share for each would be $1490.02.
For comparison, between 2010-2014, twenty-four administrative/exempt positions saw
salary increases totaling $420,850, or an average of over $17,500 per position per year. One
Vice President received a salary increase of $92,481 (105%) over a two-year period, in part
for being assigned to a second fulltime, interim position. (During one two-week period, this
VP also received yet another stipend for a third interim position.) This salary has since
been adjusted down because the VP is now being paid for only one fulltime job.

Temporary Funding
Temporary funding has been used to fund permanent functions at the College. These funds are
not secure, and require Green River to make up nearly $1,000,000 in permanent monies. Simply
put, we are spending beyond our budget. It is interesting to hear President Ely admit that
the college has been spending beyond our budget. One administrator said, weve been
kicking the can down the road for years. But, if money is in such short supply why has
the Ely administration gone on a capital spending spree? Colleges generally compete for
State funding when they need a new building or need to replace an aging building. Each
waits their turn for these funds. However, they can supplement State funds with local
money, or what the College also likes to call "temporary funds". Again, this is money that
is largely from international student tuition, which the College prefers not to call tuition,
but "contract" funds. In the past, GRC budgeted approximately $1-$2M per year to
supplement State capital funds. But over the past three years, the Ely administration, with
Board approval, has budgeted $74M of local money on capital projects (buildings). Do the
math and you will find the increase is a whopping 3891%! They have taken the money
from reserves, tuition from a growing international student population, and from
numerous loans that now encumber the college until at least 2035. But there are numerous
examples of very questionable spending decisions by the Ely administration. For other
examples, read this guest editorial in The Auburn
Each year the college makes a profit from International Programs. Last year, this profit
was $8,177,615. As of January 31, 2016 their fund balance was $20,886,741. The
administration can choose what to do with these profits. Our budget crisis is not about
having enough money, it is about where the money is being spent. The administration has
chosen to put very little of it back into instruction or the basic operating needs of the
College and its students, instead spending much of it on bricks and mortar.
While VP Brandes recently argued that the campus needs more space, the college rents
substantial classroom space at the Kent Campus to corporations. Last quarter, large
classrooms were rented to Amazon over several weeks for their recruitment and training
efforts. And, if they cancel the threatened Q5 programs, there will be plenty of space, but

for what?
The administration will tell you that IP funds are considered off-limits for because they
fluctuate and cant be counted on except to support one-time costs. However, except for
2002-03, IP profits have been substantially increasing every year. At a meeting where
Nicholas Lutes, Operating Budget Director at the State Board for Community and
Technical Colleges, was asked if local one-time funds could be used to support on-going
instructional program costs the answer was "of course".
These reasons have caused the Colleges administrators to seek out a tool that would allow the
faculty and staff to participate in a process that would analyze each of our areas. With an over $4
million potential budget shortfall, it was essential to ensure that college operations were in
optimal condition. PPP was one of several tools selected to examine the situation.

PPP began in September, 2015. Vice President of Instruction, Derek Brandes, and the Executive
Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Chris Johnson, met with College Council and their
constituent councils to discuss the implementation of the Program and Service Prioritization
Process (PPP). Actually, the PPP process was first presented by VP Brandes and Chris
Johnson to the Board of Trustees at a Board meeting in July 2015. Normally, faculty
would have attended this type of meeting, especially if they had known the PPP process
would be presented. When faculty asked if this was going to be a regular meeting, they
were told it was a retreat. Faculty now question whether this meeting violated the
Washington State Open Meeting Law. The process is loosely based on a method described in
Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services: Reallocating Resources to Achieve Strategic
Balance by Robert Dickeson. The Dickeson model has been used by other colleges in the
Washington State Community and Technical Colleges system. Olympic College is implementing
their findings from the process conducted at their college this year. College Council decided
that the group would appoint a Steering Committee to implement the process, three Pillar
Committees to analyze the data submitted through the process, and a Budget Committee to
provide further analysis of programs and services in the 5th Quintile ranking. Faculty are very
skeptical of a process that is not only divisive in the way it pits employees against one
another, but it is also biased against smaller programs that have traditionally been the
backbone of community colleges. Not only is it biased against small departments by calling
them "programs", it's biased against transfer education in general--look at the rankings
and it's apparent. Why would the college adopt a process that disadvantages nearly all of
its transfer education programs when those programs make up the overwhelming majority
of the college's teaching?
PPP is usually implemented over a two-year time period. GRC administrators forced
faculty and staff to complete the process in less than 9 months. Even Dickeson admits that
the PPP model will not be successful without buy-in from the major stakeholders. To quote
Dickeson, Among the stakeholders in the ensuring process-students, faculty members,
presidents, vice presidents, board members, alumni-are people who care deeply about the
institution and believe to varying degrees that its future has been entrusted to their care. The

importance of securing commitments of courage in advance is a prerequisite to a successful

conclusion. (Dickeson, 2010, p.35). And, perhaps President Ely did not read Dickesons
companion book, How to Engage Faculty in Academic Program Prioritization where he
states, People tend to support that which they help to create; therefore, faculty participation
and involvement should result in a greater sense of buy-in and ownership. (Dickeson, 2014,
p.5). While faculty requested early on to use our existing, contractually-negotiated, and
tested process for program review, the PPP process was forced upon us. Faculty have filed
an unfair labor practice complaint, for which a hearing is set on May 2. Students, alumni
and community members were left out of the process entirely. It was only after students
started to voice their concerns at the recent rally that they heard from President Ely via
this email.

To be frank, the Dickeson model is often criticized for being a way to cut programs, as that is
precisely how Dickeson, himself, used the process. At Green River, it was made clear from
the beginning that the aim of the PPP was not to cut programs; PPP is a tool to help in
creating efficiencies, realizing revenues, and cutting costs. PPP has never been an
opportunity to make budget cuts at Green River. The process is a tool to help programs to better
align with the mission of the College. For programs in the 5th quintile, the additional analysis
being performed by the Budget Committee is an opportunity to examine why programs ended up
there, and how we can adapt things to better serve the college for the future. Vice President
Brandes has made statements that the process would be used to cut programs. At an
Instructional Council meeting in the fall quarter, he compared Green River's instructional
programs to different types of businesses. He went on to suggest that maybe we have too
many "product lines" and some needed to be cut. He claimed that the PPP could help the
college make those decisions. He has recently and unexpectedly changed the narrative and
stated that this is just one tool. He provided few details as to what the other tools might be.
Further, at meetings as recent as April 1, Dr. Brandes told threatened programs that they
could do a 45-minute presentation on April 8, the same day President Ely sent her email to
students, to convince him why he would be sorry to eliminate their programs.
As mentioned before, the faculty contract has a long-standing, and tested process for
evaluating programs that the college has refused to use. This process is also aligned with
the mission of the college, at least as we understand the mission. It seems that the rules and
criteria for placing programs in quintiles has been changing weekly, if not daily. The
college has already admitted that some programs that ended up in Q5 were removed
because the information/data used to place them there was wrong or incomplete. Put
yourselves in the shoes of faculty members who were told on a Friday that their programs
were in Q5, and that they would have to defend them by developing a 45-minute
presentation, only to find out on Monday that it was a mistake. We are now hearing that
even programs in Q4 might be targeted?

On April 1st, rankings were provided for each of the programs in the process. Results were to
be released to the entire campus the morning of April 5th. However, the results were not
released until 4 pm that day because President Ely was reviewing them. This review was
never mentioned as part of the process. The scores were based on information that was
provided about each program, by faculty and staff from their respective programs. Programs
were asked to respond to a series of data driven questions about operations, enrollment, costs,
revenues, internal demand, external demand from regional businesses and organizations, and
other related information. The process was intended to create a metric that would allow for a
comparison of resource allocation at the College. Programs that ended up in the 5th quintile are
scheduled to meet with the Budget Committee in late April or early May to discuss how the
program serves the college and the historical and current budget impact of the program. Both
faculty and staff have been asked to engage in an extraordinarily large amount of work
within an unreasonably short timeframe. Faculty were told that the process was
voluntary but then told they needed to defend their targeted programs by developing a
45-minute presentation. Those in the Student Programs Pillar are being told they need to
take training in how to use the campus financial management data base (FMS) in order to
extract data to defend their program and then also answer a long list of questions within
the next couple weeks. Really? While the student newspapers staff scrambles to report on
all of this, they also need to develop their own defense because they were also placed in
Q5. The Budget Committee will present the results of its analysis and recommendations for
creating efficiencies, realizing revenues, or cutting costs to College Council on May 24th.
College Council will review the Budget Committees recommendations and provide additional
recommendations to President Ely on May 31st. A complete timeline of for PPP can be found
at This site also contains a FAQ that contains questions compiled and
answered by the PPP Steering Committee. The information on this website is mirrored from an
identical site on GatorNet, the faculty and staff area of the intranet.

The responses provided through PPP illustrate the powerful work that is done at Green River.
Across the College, faculty and staff work to serve students and provide a pathway to further
education or a high-demand career. Student success is at the core of everything we do.

Unfortunately, this is not the story that anyone is hearing about Green River. When people speak
from a place of partial information and fear, all too often they build up a situation to be
something it is not. When there are threats to the College budget, they are often seen as threats to
individuals and ideas, even if no one has indicated this outcome. Negative ideas about Green
River have spread on campus, and they are hurting everyone. We have an ethical obligation to
tell the truth, and to stop perpetuating an unfounded climate of fear. Most faculty and staff will
agree that there is a climate of fear on campus. And most can provide specific examples of
where they feel it has been the administration who is responsible for this climate. It is
important to understand that these examples dont just come from this latest attempt to
terminate programs and people. Our grave concerns about the Ely administration started
shortly after she arrived in 2010. While faculty and staff made numerous attempts to add

our voice to the decision-making process, we were rejected at every step. We outlined our
concerns in two Votes-of-No-Confidence, each of which were supported by 92% of the
fulltime faculty. President Ely and the Board quickly dismissed these votes. We do agree
with President Ely that we have an ethical obligation to tell the truth. We are interested in
how we can make our programs more efficient, how we can do more at Green River with fewer
resources from the State, and how we can help some areas generate more revenue. The
Administration and I aim to strengthen Green River, and ensure the College will be here for
another 50 years. PPP is one of the tools that will help us achieve this goal.

I wish to thank all of the faculty and staff who dedicated their time and energy to work on the
PPP. This is an important process for the College to undertake, and we couldnt have done it
without the cooperation of the talented individuals who work at Green River. Thank you to
everyone who has contributed to the success of PPP.

If you have additional questions about PPP, please email them to Chris Johnson
at They will be answered and added to the FAQ on both the GatorNet
and public websites. President Ely will rarely speak to people directly or answer their
questions directly. Some students noted that she was on campus during your rally, but she
did not come out to speak. Instead, she retreated to her office to concoct this email. And
now, instead of asking you to direct questions to her, she refers you to Chris Johnson.