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Decision to declare financial emergency at Washington state's community colleges draws concern from faculty union

The Associated Press
The decision to declare a financial emergency at Washington state's community and technical colleges is drawing concern from the union that represents faculty at the schools.

Last month's action by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges would allow individual colleges to declare their own financial emergencies and then have an easier time laying off faculty without having to adhere to some contracted job protections.

"Individual colleges can invoke the law," said Sandra Schroeder, president of the Washington chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. "Then there's no longer any reasonable protections we can give to the people who have been targeted. Seniority becomes fairly meaningless in this process."

Under the rule, full-time tenured instructors and those on the tenure-track could be laid off as easily as part-time, non-tenured teachers.

But Schroeder's worries may be just an exercise if no one decides to invoke the rule. To date, no colleges have exercised the authority or announced an intention to do so, Deb Merle, deputy executive director, government relations, for the college board, said Tuesday.
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