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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 23, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Open Letter: Art history department supports contingent faculty

Open Letter to the Ithaca College Community,

The Department of Art History writes to express our deep appreciation and support for our part-time and contingent faculty members, who are currently involved in contract negotiations with the Ithaca College administration. We recognize the essential role performed by part-time and contingent faculty in the education of our students, and acknowledge that their labor conditions have an impact not only on their students’ educational experience, but also on the entire institution’s ability to fulfill its mission.

Unfortunately, the current situation is part of a larger trend in higher education to rely on part-time and contingent labor to fill permanent, full-time instructional needs. The Art History Department experiences this directly, as we work to staff courses that are regularly full or overenrolled. We have had to cancel courses because we were not able to staff them at the rates we offered qualified part-time instructors. Meanwhile, relying on year-to-year contracts means we cannot plan ahead and expand our ICC offerings.

We urge the parties to continue negotiations in good faith, and very much hope that they will be successful. However, if the part-time and contingent faculty hold a legal strike, we will respect their decision and not move to replace our irreplaceable colleagues.

Sincerely,

Nancy Brcak, Professor
Jennifer Germann, Associate Professor
Jennifer Jolly, Associate Professor
Risham Majeed, Assistant Professor
Lauren O’Connell, Professor
David Salomon, Assistant Professor
Gary Wells, Associate Professor
Paul Wilson, Associate Professor