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NSHE to restore long-term disability insurance

Following more than two years of persistent advocacy and lobbying by NFA officers, especially Past-President Kent Ervin, NSHE professionals will once again have coverage for long-term disability, effective on January 1, 2024. 

In the 2020 wave of pandemic related budget cuts, the state eliminated the Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance that was provided to every state employee through the Public Employees’ Benefits Program (PEBP). Since then NSHE faculty members have been one diagnosis or injury away from being unable to continue working and having no income safety net. Since public employees in Nevada do not participate in Social Security, most of us are not eligible for Social Security Disability. Most NSHE faculty are not members of Nevada PERS, which has a disability early retirement provision (also not a true LTD income replacement). So a faculty member with a total disability would have no guaranteed income stream to pay for housing and other basic living expenses. Fortunately, this is rare, but it is catastrophic for affected individuals.

The Nevada Faculty Alliance has been advocating continuously for the restoration of the LTD benefit. A big disappointment of the 2023 legislative session was that the Governor and Legislature did not restore the LTD despite a request from the PEBP Board and advocacy by public employee groups. We are grateful that NSHE and the Board of Regents responded to our concerns and approved LTD insurance for NSHE professionals at their meeting on September 8. The benefits will be very similar to the discontinued LTDI from PEBP: after various waiting periods and exclusions of disabilities occurring before 1/1/2024, the plan will pay 60% of pre-disability salary up to $7500/month through age 65. Look for details from your Human Resources department. 


NFA urges Board of Regents to adopt transparency in salary policy

At a special meeting on September 28, the Nevada Board of Regents will consider revising policies that govern salary schedules for NSHE professional employees, including academic and administrative faculty. The policy, which requires periodic salary schedule updates to reflect changes in market conditions, may be revised to allow COLA as a contributing factor for these updates. The proposal also clarifies the placement of new employees, and impacts on employees who fall below the minimum salary level after a schedule has been adjusted.

Most importantly, however, the proposal gives the Regents the opportunity to vote on one of two options that will require schedule changes to be made public. The first option would require the Regents to actually vote to approve changes to the schedule, while the second option would only require the changes to be presented in a Board meeting as an information item.

Because the salary schedules are published in the NSHE Procedures and Guidelines Manual (P&GM), changes do not currently require a vote of the board. Salary schedules were last adjusted in 2022, but received little attention because the changes were made by way of a memo from NSHE to the Board. The scale of the changes from one classification of employees to another was shocking; from a base increase of nearly 59% for community college presidents to zero (0) increase for community college faculty. To learn more, read The Compensation Gap.

The Nevada Faculty Alliance believes it is the responsibility of the Board of Regents to debate and vote on modifications to salary schedules in the public forum of their meetings. We encourage members to speak up by contacting their Regent or making a public comment at the September 28 special meeting. 

NFA officers make the case for 11% COLA in FY25 at BOR meeting

Kent Ervin addressing legislature

NFA President Jim New provides public comment at a Board of Regents meeting

In June, hundreds of NSHE faculty members heeded NFA’s call to encourage the Board of Regents to approve 12% cost of living adjustments for Fiscal Year 2024 despite behind-closed-door advocacy by institutional administrators for much lower adjustments. Even though it was summer break, these efforts led to dozens of emails to regents and more than 60 faculty speaking out during the Public Comment portion of the June 30 special meeting of the Board. Regents acknowledged our concerns  and approved 12% COLA for FY24 but delayed the decision for FY25 until a future date, which is now on the horizon.

While some campus administrators have voiced their support, others have used terms such as "irresponsible" and "impossible" to describe an FY25 11% COLA for NSHE professionals, matching the amount approved for other state employees, including classified staff in NSHE. In the face of such opposition, NFA officers have initiated a campaign to once again convince Regents and administrators alike that faculty members deserve the adjustment.

Regents will likely make a final decision about budgets, including COLA at their quarterly meeting on November 30/December 1 at DRI in Las Vegas. It is essential that faculty members make their voices heard now. NSHE professionals make the same sacrifices as other state employees during periods of austerity. It is not unreasonable to ask that we also share in the recovery. Furthermore, COLA adjustments are critical for the colleges and universities in the NSHE system to remain competitive in the national market for faculty. Please contact your regent or, better yet, attend an upcoming meeting to make a public comment regarding this critical need.


Campaign season about to get underway

Four seats on the Nevada Board of Regents will be up for grabs in the 2024 elections. Each of the incumbents are eligible to run for re-election but instead of six years, the new terms will last four as the Board starts the transition mandated by Assembly Bill 118, which ultimately will reduce the Board from 13 members to nine with shorter terms. The four districts in contention for the coming election are:

  • District 1 – Clark County (Perkins, incumbent)

  • District 12 – Clark County (Carvalho, incumbent)

  • District 9 – Carson, Churchill, Douglas, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Storey, and Washoe Counties (DelCarlo, incumbent)

  • District 4 – Clark County (McMichael, incumbent)

To the best of our knowledge, none of the incumbents have publicly announced their intentions to seek reelection. The filing deadline is March 15, 2024. Please reach out to any NFA officer if you know someone who would be a strong candidate and solid ally.


NFA awaits 9th Circuit decision on NSHE motion to disallow Amici Curiae

Following an August 20 submission of an Amici Curiae, or "friend of the court" brief by the Nevada Faculty Alliance and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the pending case of Alice Wieland v. Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education, NSHE submitted a motion to the court seeking to disallow the brief. 

The case challenges the dismissal of Dr. Alice Wieland from UNR in 2019. The University cited student evaluations as a significant contributing factor in Wieland's dismissal. In the brief, NFA and AAUP provide a substantial amount of credible evidence that student evaluations are an inaccurate and discriminatory measure of teaching effectiveness, and demonstrate that there is considerable gender bias against female instructors in student comments. The court will rule on NSHE's motion.


Weingarten Rights

Under settled case law known as Weingarten Rights, all NSHE faculty members are entitled to bring another employee with them as a representative to meetings with superiors regarding job performance. NFA officers stand ready to assist if requested.

Legal Defense Benefit

NFA members are entitled to legal guidance on all employment related matters. In cases involving disciplinary actions and termination, the member may also be eligible for legal defense funding depending on the merits and parameters of the case.

2023-25 NFA State Officers

Jim New - President

Shantal Marshall - Vice President

Joey Ray - Secretary

Cheryl Cardoza - Treasurer

Kent Ervin - Past President

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