Nov. 2, 2006
IU food, printing eyed for outsourcing: 150 full-time employees could see jobs eliminated
by Steve Hinnefeld
Food services and printing services are next in line as Indiana University looks to see if it can save money and improve efficiency by outsourcing auxiliary operations.
IU President Adam Herbert told the Bloomington Faculty Council that the university will issue requests to see if private companies want to operate those services.
"Food services and printing services will be issued during the spring term," he said.
The university asked last month for proposals to run the Bloomington campus motor pool. It will solicit proposals for operating campus bookstores in about two weeks.
IU trustees have been pushing the university to look at outsourcing. At a September meeting, several trustees expressed frustration that administrators weren't moving faster to outsource.
Dallas Murphy, president of Local 832 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents IU service and maintenance staff, said workers are unhappy about the outsourcing push.
"They're very upset," he said. "Some of these people have 30, 40 years and more in. A lot of them, if they go out looking for a job, they're going to have a hard time finding a job because of their age."
Murphy said about 150 full-time staff are employed by IU in food services and printing services. He said the union won't take the elimination of jobs without a fight.
"We haven't pinned down what actions we are going to take, but we are going to take some actions," he said.
Murphy questioned whether IU saves money by outsourcing. Campus food services were downsized twice in the past, he said, and both times "they turned around and made more administrative jobs, higher-paying jobs."
Terry Clapacs, IU vice president for administration, said officials plan to develop requests for proposals for printing services and food services after they go through the process for the motor pool and bookstores.
"We tried to put together a plan for the year. That's where the president and the board thought it should go," he said.
Herbert said IU's food services and printing departments — like the motor pool and bookstores — could make proposals for keeping the business.
"As appropriate, we will invite internal groups to bid," he told the faculty council.
The motor pool, with 13 employees, services about 600 university vehicles and operates a van service for students with disabilities and a safety escort service. Dec. 1 is the deadline for proposals to run the service.
For bookstore operations, the university will solicit three types of proposals: for the IU Bloomington bookstore only, for bookstores at Bloomington and IU-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and for bookstores on all campuses.
IU student radio station may lose its spot: 100.3 FM likely to change from WIUX to KORN Country WYGB in Bartholemew County
by Sarah Morin
R.E.M.'s 1994 song "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?" would be a fitting anthem for WIUX - as the student-run radio station is unsure of its FM future.
The Indiana University station may be stripped of its 100.3 home on the airwaves, and the spot transferred to a country station in Bartholomew County, less than 25 miles away from the station at the main campus library.
WIUX made the switch to FM from AM nine months ago -- a feat that took four years -- with a low-power license granted by the Federal Communications Commission last year.
But the new type of licenses designed for noncommercial educational broadcast groups can be removed if construction of a new station causes signal interference.
"We think this distinction, and the resulting loss of our signal, is patently unfair," wrote Zach Pollakoff, station manager, in an online letter to "loyal listeners."
"We plan to do everything in our power to fight this ruling and prevent reassignment of other Low Power stations."
The station has the support of IU officials.
Dean of Students Dick McKaig submitted a petition for reconsideration to the FCC.
McKaig outlines the benefits of the student radio station, including that it's been on campus since 1967 and now has a listening audience of 110,000. He also mentions that the frequency change proposal was not properly advertised until after the June comment reply date, so there was no chance to file comments.
Pollakoff hopes that the WIUX situation will lead to FCC safeguards to help protect other small, noncommercial stations from being kicked off their FM spots.
He said Tuesday that if the construction permit is granted for WYGB KORN Country, WIUX could lose its juice by the end of the semester.
WYGB station manager Mike King said by e-mail that the Bartholomew County station is currently broadcasting with 3000 watts at 102.9 FM and will be moving to 100.3 FM to broadcast with 6000 watts.
"There is no target date right now for the switch. It will probably happen in the next 90-120 days," King wrote in an e-mail.
The FCC did not return a call seeking comment.
WIUX 100.3 FM
It was called WIUS and on the AM dial until this year.
The campus radio station started in 1967.
It is run by about 200 students and offers a diverse schedule of music, sports, news, talk and campus topics 24 hours a day.
The station house is at 815 E. Eighth St. The radio transmitter and antenna are atop IU's Herman B Wells Library on 10th Street with a 15-mile radius.
For more information, check out http://www.wiux.org.