Hocking College art faculty member Brian Alloway, who was reinstated to his job at the institution effective last month after an arbitrator determined he was wrongfully eliminated, will soon be suspended again when his academic program is frozen as part of a cost-saving effort.
Alloway, who’s president of the Hocking College Education Association union, was notified on July 1, 2020 that his position would be eliminated the following month because of a lack of full-time work in his academic program, leading him to file a complaint with the college the same day alleging the college violated his contract and union’s bargaining terms.
The college entered into arbitration with Alloway over the complaint, arguing there was no breach of contract.
Months later, an arbitrator, David Stanton, determined the college had violated the terms of its collective bargaining agreement with the faculty by eliminating full-time positions before non-bargaining units.
The arbitrator found that Alloway’s position had been eliminated while part-time, quarterly, probationary and other non-bargaining unit workers were left unscathed. Additionally, Stanton determined that Alloway was not offered a similar position for which he met qualifications, a stipulation in his contract.
The college argued, according to Stanton’s decision, that the elimination of Alloway’s position was a result of the college’s art program being suspended, which was suspended along with several other programs because of low enrollment numbers.
For the past several years, Hocking College has had an enrollment of about 3,000 students, a dramatic drop-off from years past.
Since Hocking College was the non-prevailing party in the arbitration, it will be forced to pay fees and expenses associated with the process. It is unclear how much money it will owe.
“The contract is clear about the circumstances under which positions may be eliminated, and I am pleased the contract was upheld, allowing me to continue serving students and helping to carry out the important educational mission of Hocking College,” Alloway said in a press release from the union.
Despite the labor resolution, The Arts and Design program will be suspended for the upcoming fall semester and Alloway’s position will again be suspended, the college confirmed.
Alloway told The NEWS that the months he awaited a decision were filled with anxiety, as Ohio was well into the pandemic and thousands were losing jobs and struggling to file for unemployment.
He said that he feels the initial elimination of his position — as well as that of natural resources faculty member Scott Kreps, who is currently undergoing the arbitration process with the college — continues the trend of ongoing reductions in the full-time faculty at Hocking College, replacing them with adjunct part-time instructors and administrators.
The Hocking College Education Association president noted a striking figure: only 29 full-time faculty remain of 158 professional bargaining unit positions that were in place in January of 2015.
At a June Hocking College Board of Trustees meeting, President Betty Young described the college as being in a “good place post-COVID 19,” according to The Athens Messenger. Last year, she accepted a $70,000 performance-based bonus.