Database failed, faculty records jeopardized

By Theresa Evans

Database software containing full-time faculty information failed in the spring, affecting members of Rider’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).  

Jeffrey Halpern, AAUP contract administrator, emailed union members on Sept. 6 informing them that the 4D database failed. Now there is no updated full-time roster for the fall and salary accuracy cannot be confirmed.  

“It is certainly an inconvenience for people who have been mispaid,” said Halpern. 

Faculty members received their September salary letter, according to Halpern. 

“The vast majority [of letters] were correct because they were simple” said Halpern. “We didn’t get a raise this year. We haven’t had a raise in a long time. But in that sense, it made it relatively straightforward. Take last year’s salary and put it in this year’s, but it’s not quite that straightforward for folks who have other things happening: a longevity increase, a promotion, some folks are doing extra work. Then we regularly compare everybody’s salary letter and salary against our calculations of what they should be getting. That is mostly always accurate.” 

According to Richard Riccardi, senior associate provost, only five faculty members have reported an issue with their September salary letter. 

 “This is not unusual, as each year we have to verify a handful of faculty salaries. This situation is not related to the database failure,” he said. 

Riccardi said the data was never lost and is currently secure. 

“It was the 4D program that failed, not the data,” he said. “Although the database software failed, the University was able to recover all of the data contained in the 4D system. No data was lost, and it remains safe and secure. We are working collectively to resolve the software issue so this does not happen again.”

According to Halpern, The AAUP was not able to collect September dues because the dues are based on members’ salaries, Halpern said.   

“We are hoping to get that all corrected so we can begin to collect dues because, like any organization, we run on money,” Halpern said. “And getting the dues in a timely manner is really important to us.”

Halpern ensures that “there’s cooperative relations” between the AAUP and academic affairs. 

 “I think everybody’s on the same page,” he said. “There isn’t a disagreement in some fundamental way. They might have notified us earlier, but I’m sure they thought this would be relatively easy to fix.” 

Halpern wants the issue to be resolved before the distribution of October letters. 

“I certainly want to see it worked out by the October paychecks which is about a month away and that’s plenty of time even if they have to rebuild the database,” Halpern said. 

Riccardi said that a third-party, “knowledgeable in the 4D database program” was hired to help discover the cause of the malfunction.  

Carol Kondrach, the information technology associate vice president, said that office of information technology worked with new academic affairs employees briefly on the matter.  

“We worked with IT and continue to partner with them to support the academic needs of the institution,” said Riccardi.

Riccardi said that there are not any new academic affairs employees involved with the database.

“ I do not believe the malfunction is due to employees being unfamiliar with the software and or database, but we will work collectively to determine the cause,” he said.

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