Letter to the Editor: Provost’s all-student email misleading, ethically wrong

General Opinion Graphic

Samuel Burns

Oregon State University has a binding code of ethics. One of the key aspects of ethics within an academic setting is not misrepresenting data. On Monday, the Provost sent an email to the entire community stating that the minimum graduate salary is $3,922 a month, but he failed to include a critical piece of contextual information: that this amount is the FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT, and that despite being required to commit 48 hours a week to the university, we only get paid for 12-20 hours a week. The actual minimum salary is $1,176 a month. In an academic setting, reporting data without informing the reader of critical contextual information that changes your results by a multiplier of 0.3 to 0.5 would be a clear instance of academic misconduct, and would carry consequences up to and including revocation of tenure and loss of academic appointments.

I personally believe that upper administrators at a public, tax-payer funded institution have a duty to the public and the community to operate with honesty and integrity. For that reason, I am initiating a formal ethics complaint against Provost Feser. If you would like to join me in calling for accountability for public “servants” who take home half a million in taxpayer and tuition dollars a year, you can do so via the university’s EthicsPoint portal.

Samuel Burns 

Oregon State University graduate employee