Saturday, October 24, 2009

UUP Chapter at SUNY New Paltz marks Campus Equity Week

Campus Equity Week (CEW) is a bi-annual, national week of action to call attention to the working conditions of part-time, adjunct, and other contingent academic and professional faculty in higher education. The local chapter of United University Professions (UUP) on the SUNY New Paltz campus has actively participated in CEW for many years. This year, CEW is being held across the country from October 26 to 30.
New Paltz UUP Chapter President Richard Kelder states that 
“we have been trying for years to improve pay and working conditions for our part-timers and adjuncts and our union has had some success. Through the efforts of UUP the salary of adjuncts has increased in the past 10 years and we have been able to secure health insurance and other benefits. However, their compensation still lags far behind full-time faculty on campus. The major problems are the continued under funding of SUNY by NY State and a lack of political will on the part of our legislators to fund and support public higher education. UUP will continue to take a public stand to ensure that our citizens are able to receive a quality postsecondary education and that all faculty and staff are compensated fairly for their knowledge, talents, and teaching ability. For campus equity week, UUP will be speaking to faculty, staff, legislators, students and their parents to inform them of the situation that many SUNY instructors and others face every day. Many of our adjunct faculty have served the college with distinction and dedication for many years and are entitled to job security and better compensation.” 
Currently, part-time or adjunct faculty comprise slightly less than half of the teachers at SUNY New Paltz. They teach about a third of all the courses at SUNY New Paltz. 

New Paltz Vice President for Academics Peter D.G. Brown recently updated a survey of the salaries paid to individuals in a range of different job descriptions, from 1970 to today. When adjusted for inflation, part-time faculty at SUNY New Paltz today make only half of what they earned back in 1970 when there were only 100 adjuncts," said Brown, a Distinguished Service Professor of German. “I first brought this appalling data to the administration’s attention in 2006. Not only has absolutely nothing been done to close this ever-widening salary gap, but it has grown every year since. New Paltz administration has yet to communicate with the union any meaningful plans to close the widening salary gap between adjuncts and tenure-track faculty."
UUP is dedicated to equity and to improving the terms and working conditions of part-time and contingent faculty. Legislative initiatives, support for national and international adjunct activism, and recognition of individual UUP part-time activists are just some of the ways that UUP has demonstrated its commitment to serving the needs of this constituency.
During Campus Equity Week, members of the UUP SUNY New Paltz Chapter will be tabling in the lobby of the Jacobsen Faculty Tower, distributing information and discussing the plight of adjuncts and other exploited contingent members of the faculty with the campus community.

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