Howard Community College trustees endorsed a $3 tuition increase last week to pay for the hiring of six faculty members, but their decision not to raise tuition to cover pay raises has angered faculty and staff.
Upset at the loss of 5.5 percent merit increases, the HCC faculty last week authorized their representative organization to circulate a protest petition.
But Assistant Professor Alan S. Berman, president of the Faculty Forum, said the group will delay drafting its petition until representatives can discuss the situation with HCC President Dwight A. Burrill.
"There is very strong support for a petition," Berman said.
He said Faculty Forum leaders will decide whether to circulate the petition after meeting with Burrill, if they can arrange a session "in a timely fashion" with the college president.
The Faculty Forum represents the 63 full-time and 250 part-time members of the teaching staff.
Burrill assessed the mood of the faculty as "a tremendous amount of concern" and added that he understood the frustration of those who will receive neither merit nor cost-of-living increases next year.
But the college president said he didn't see any solution.
"The money's not there, so there are not a lot of options," he said.
The community college's operating budget request to the county government would have covered merit increases but included no money for cost-of-living adjustments.
The trustees decided that if a cost-of-living increase were given in 1991-1992, it would be given by the county government.
The teaching staff is "very upset" over the loss of the merit increases, said Mark M. Canfield, former acting dean of instruction at the HCC campus in Columbia.
"Not getting that basically means the faculty has put in extra projects for no compensation."
Faced with flat financing from county and state governments, theboard of trustees could have obtained additional money for the next school year only by increasing tuition.
The board voted May 8 to raise tuition from $44 to $47 per credit hour, generating enough revenue to hire six additional faculty members for the 1991-1992 school year to accommodate enrollment increases but not enough for employee raises.
Between 1989-1990 and 1990-1991, full-time equivalent enrollment at HCC jumped 8 percent, to 1,024 students.
Community collegeofficials initially sought a 12 percent increase in the current $16.9 million operating budget but scaled that back to an 8 percent increase after hearing County Executive Charles I. Ecker's explanation of the county budget crisis.
Ecker recommended no increase in the current $7 million county support.
The County Council, in a straw vote May 8, endorsed the executive's recommendation.