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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

March 30, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Open Letter: Politics professors support union efforts

Open Letter to the Ithaca College Community:

We, the undersigned continuing full-time faculty in the Politics Department, join our colleagues in other departments in voicing our support for our part-time and contingent colleagues in their collective union efforts to forge a mutually beneficial contract with Ithaca College. In the event that adjunct faculty hold a legal strike, the Politics Department will not seek to replace them in order to fill our instructional needs.

As with other forms of systemic discrimination the college is currently grappling with, our adjunct colleagues’ inequitable working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. Adjunct faculty are paid $4,200 per 3-credit-hour class and are limited to two classes per semester, which defines their part-time status and makes them ineligible for benefits. They earn just $16,800 a year. The union’s demand that part-time pay be based on the same equation for teaching remuneration used for the lowest paid full-time contingent faculty members on campus is reasonable.

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. The administration’s oft-repeated counterargument that IC adjunct pay is already “among the highest for part-time faculty in our region” reflects the college’s role in this trend. Far from something to be proud of, this is a poor justification for sustaining inequitable and precarious working conditions. 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 more just conditions.

In solidarity,

Juan Arroyo, Assistant Professor
Don Beachler, Associate Professor
Asma Barlas, Professor
Kelly Dietz, Assistant Professor
Carlos Figueroa, Assistant Professor
Chip Gagnon, Professor
Evgenia Ilieva, Assistant Professor
Naeem Inayatullah, Professor
Alex Moon, Assistant Professor
Patricia Rodriguez, Associate Professor
Thomas Shevory, Professor
Peyi Soyinka-Airewele, Professor