February 2, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 37°F


Open Letter: Contingent faculty voice support for activism

To the Ithaca College Community:

Some Ithaca College faculty are making their voices heard this week by participating in the referendum of no-confidence in President Tom Rochon.

But many of our voices will not be heard. More than a third of the college’s faculty are in part-time or full-time “non-continuing” appointments; as such we were excluded from participation in this crucial and historic vote. We care deeply about our College, its future, and especially our students, and like many of our tenured and tenure-track colleagues, we have grave concerns about the President’s leadership. In lieu of participation in the referendum of no-confidence in President Tom Rochon, we would like to make our voices heard publicly. Each signature on this letter comes from someone who does not have the job security of a continuing contract with the College. There are many who may have signed this letter if they had the job security to feel safe doing so. Their names appear as “Anonymous” on the signature list below.

We join with POC@IC in calling for real, sustained action to address racism on campus and hold accountable those who dismiss and ignore the urgent concerns of students and faculty of color. In fact, due to the effects of sexism and racism, women and people of color are more likely to be part-time faculty than full-time or tenured (http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/facultydiversity0310.pdf). Because part-time faculty are often barred from advising, facilitating student clubs, and assuming other mentorship positions, our students have even less access to a diverse faculty body than the already low numbers of ALANA faculty at IC suggest, and our tenure-track faculty of color are often exhausted by the roles they are expected to perform. This is just one issue which contributes to the exclusive environment that minority students at IC experience.

Joining many of our tenure-line colleagues and students, we wish to express our confidence that serious, conscientious changes in campus governance will make the College stronger and safer for everyone. As contingent faculty, our insecurity and lack of participation in college decision-making is the direct outcome of a quickening trend towards the corporatization of higher education in which the bottom line is put above student learning conditions. Our vision of the college is one centered first and foremost around students. To accomplish this, we support faculty, both contingent and tenure line, and students winning a stronger voice in the decision-making processes of the college. Like our students, we recognize that the radical change that is needed must happen from the bottom up. Top-down gestures will only perpetuate a system that must not continue. If Ithaca College is to become a better, more inclusive place to learn, live, teach and work, we must find a way to utilize the energy and experience of our entire community.


Mark Baustian, Lecturer, Biology; Brody Burroughs, Lecturer, Art; Louise Cannon, Lecturer, Writing; Elizabeth Caughey, Part-time Lecturer, Writing; Kenny Christianson, Lecturer, Economics; Shoshe Cole, Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy; Paul De Luca, Lecturer, Biology; Bari Doeffinger, Lecturer, Modern Languages; Pamela Drix, Lecturer, Art; Tahlia Fischer, Lecturer, Women’s and Gender Studies; Frances Gallart-Marques, Assistant Professor, Art History; Megan Graham, Lecturer, Writing; Sarah Grunberg, Lecturer, Sociology; Rachel Kaufman, Lecturer, Writing; Harriet Malinowitz, Lecturer, Writing; Joe Ricker, Lecturer, Writing; Tom Schneller, Lecturer, School of Music; Scott Stull, Lecturer, Anthropology; M. Jean Sutherland, Lecturer, English; Cody Todd, Lecturer, Writing Department; Robyn Wishna, Lecturer, Cinema Photography Media Arts

Eighteen additional contingent faculty members expressed their support anonymously.