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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 23, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Open Letter: Jewish studies program stands with union

Open letter to the Ithaca College community:

We, the undersigned members of the steering committee of the Jewish Studies program, are writing in support of our part-time and contingent colleagues in their collective union efforts to forge a mutually beneficial contract with Ithaca College. We view these negotiations as necessary steps toward fair, living wages and a more welcoming and equitable working environment. It is in everyone’s interest that the wide disparity between faculty wages be ameliorated.

We take great pride in Ithaca College’s commitment to the highest quality instruction of our students at every level and in every discipline. It flies in the face of this commitment to treat our contingent faculty as though their hours of teaching and preparation are less valuable and less necessary than those on continuing contracts. This is particularly the case with part-time, adjunct faculty who are paid $4,200 per 3-credit-hour class and are limited to two classes per semester, which makes them ineligible for benefits. They earn just $16,800 a year. All faculty, regardless of rank, deserve fair compensation for their work on behalf of our students.

It is clear that Ithaca College is following a broader trend in higher education by increasingly relying on adjunct faculty to meet what are, in many cases, permanent instructional needs. We call on the administration to ensure that adjunct faculty per-credit pay for teaching is equitably based on that of full-time contingent faculty. Our teaching needs, and therefore our students’ interests, are best served by faculty working under just conditions. We hope that a resolution can be reached that will avoid a disruption of our students’ education.

Should that fail to occur and our contingent colleagues opt to hold a legal strike, we will not insert replacement instructors into their classrooms.

Rebecca Lesses
Annette Levine
Don Beachler
Peter Silberman