Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Welcome to Ohio Mr President ~ NFM Press Release




New Faculty Majority Challenges President Obama: Extend Economic Proposals to Adjunct Faculty
Akron, Ohio - September 8, 2010 - New Faculty Majority President Maria Maisto challenged President Obama to take action on the issue of the mistreatment of adjunct and contingent faculty on American college and university campuses.  The president was in Cleveland, Ohio today to deliver a speech at Cuyahoga Community College, where Ms. Maisto serves as an adjunct instructor in English.  
 "It's great that the president came to my campus to address the economy today," said Ms. Maisto, "because we know that he understands the critical role of higher education in driving economic growth.  
"Unfortunately, however, while it is clear that his concern for the middle class is real, neither his economic recovery plan nor his higher education agenda directly assists the hundreds of thousands of adjunct faculty in the United States who do not receive a living wage, have little job security, are typically denied unemployment compensation when they aren't working, and do not have access to affordable health care." 
"These professionals need economic relief, and they need it now.  They did their part.  They went to college, earned an advanced degree, and are giving back to the next generation of students.  But they are treated like second class citizens in the institutions that depend upon them to teach the highest possible number of critical introductory courses across the curriculum."
New Faculty Majority contends that at institutions like Tri-C, adjunct faculty should not be earning poverty level wages while they are helping their students to achieve middle class status.  Furthermore, the organization consistently argues that a teacher's working conditions have a definite impact on student learning conditions, educational outcomes, and retention and completion rates, and regularly publicize the fact that adjunct faculty deal with unprofessional working conditions such as lack of office space, equipment, and administrative support as well insufficient paid time to prepare classes, evaluate work, and advise students outside of the classroom.
Matt Williams, Vice President of New Faculty Majority, discovered the hard way what often happens to adjuncts who try to improve their own working conditions in a state where part-time faculty are barred from unionizing.  He was fired by The University of Akron after pointing out that The University's short-lived DNA sampling policy violated federal law.  Not even protests by the Ohio ACLU over his termination have succeeded in obtaining so much as a hearing on his dismissal.  
Williams has repeatedly attempted to draw attention to the mistreatment of part-time faculty at The University of Akron, where a part-time faculty member earns $16,800 per year on average for teaching one course below full-time teaching status.  
"It's not a matter of funding," said Williams, "It's a matter of priorities.  The University of Akron's president and thirty-five vice presidents earn more than half of what UA's 1,000 part-time faculty earn as a group.  Only 2.4% of The University of Akron's $400 million budget is spent compensating part-time faculty, who now constitute 60% of the teaching faculty.  And The University of Akron does not contribute to part-time faculty health insurance.  If a part-time faculty member at The University of Akron wants to purchase health insurance through the university, they must do so out of pocket with post-tax dollars for as much as 101% of their total pay.  It's just absurd."
NFM suggests that if President Obama is intent on helping ordinary Americans, he might start by helping the country's largest group of college faculty gain a foothold into the same middle class that their exploitation helps create.  
  • A first step in any long range plan to move faculty out of the ranks of the working poor and into the ranks of middle class professionals would be to ensure that adjunct faculty are not denied unemployment compensation between terms in violation of the clear intent of the federal statute. 
  • Secondly, NFM proposes that the president could direct that institutions that receive federal funds and accept federal student aid must provide access to health insurance on a pro-rata basis for all instructional faculty.  If federal funds are being used to guarantee student loans for instruction, these funds should not contribute to the exploitation of taxpayers.  
  • Finally, NFM would like to see President Obama direct U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to initiate an investigation into the inequitable treatment of adjunct faculty and the concurrent rising cost of administration and facilities on college and university campuses.


New Faculty Majority is a membership organization dedicated to improving the quality of American higher education by encouraging stable, non-exploitative work environments, advancing academic freedom, and achieving professional equity for all faculty.


Contact:
Matt Williams, Vice President of New Faculty Majority 
(330) 459-1123
Maria Maisto, President of New Faculty Majority 
(216) 262-4375


3 comments:

  1. Thanks for giving voice to concerns that are important to me. Keep challenging Obama, UA, and the whole system!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for your effort to bring fairness to the academic world. I had to retire with a pension from the public schools before I was able to afford to do what I had always wanted to do---teach at the college level.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Pamela & Mark... have you checked in and made yourself heard at the Community College Summit page collecting ideas, comments and feedback? Vote for the ideas supporting adjunct equity issues. If not, please do so. Getting heard will take our united effort

    ReplyDelete

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