As a result, the editorial board of The Fordham Ram feels that one of the most notable issues our university faces is the administration’s decision to economize through human capital.
We feel that the university should support its entire faculty and staff over all else in order to provide its students with the best education possible.
It seems that our administration is forgetting some of the core values of this university. When students enter Fordham University, they expect to join a thriving intellectual community. They expect to receive a Jesuit education from the best professors in academia. It’s interesting that a university which promotes Cura Personalis, or “care for the individual person,” is proposing to take away essential personal health care benefits from its faculty.
How can students expect to be valued by their teachers if their teachers are not valued by their university?
The administration’s decision to propose a new health care plan that would shift all faculty, administrators and staff from United Healthcare’s “Enhanced Health Care Plan” to its “Standard Plan” as of July 1, 2017 is an example of this lack of faculty value.
Although the proposed plan will save the university $4 million annually, according to Senate leadership, healthcare costs on each individual faculty members will increase in return.
In addition, Fordham adjunct faculty, who teach over 50 percent of classes at Fordham, have faced roadblocks created by the administration in their attempt to unionize.
On Friday, March 31, the administration hired “Union busting” lawyers in order to oppose the adjunct faculty’s unionization effort, according to an email from Fordham Faculty United (FFU) members Chris Brandt, Hannah Jopling, Alessandro King, Kathryn Krasinski and Alan Trevithick.
Even New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, recognized this situation as problematic. In regards to Fordham administration’s attempt to prevent unionization, he responded:
“I believe deeply in workers’ right to self-determination – to choose freely whether or not to unionize. I value the contributions Fordham University makes to our city as an institution of higher learning and an economic engine. The non-tenure track faculty makes up more than half of the teaching staff at Fordham and help ensure that the university continues to be a dynamic and innovative institution. I encourage Fordham’s administration to agree to a fair process in a timely manner that allows for the non-tenure track faculty to vote on whether or not to join a union, and be given the same opportunity for unionization as many other employees and faculty at Fordham.”
Clearly, our faculty’s personal wellbeing and right to a living wage is not prioritized by our administration.
If not the education of its students, what does Fordham prioritize fiscally? If not towards paying our professors living wages, where are our exorbitant tuition payments going? Why is Fordham skimping on the most essential part of a Jesuit college experience: the education itself?
We at The Fordham Ram, the university’s 100 year old journal of record, urge Fordham University president Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J and the current administration to reconsider the university’s fiscal priorities and contemplate the hierarchy of values proposed by the university in the status quo.
Correction: April 12, 2017
An earlier version of this article gave the incorrect start year for the new potential health care plan. The shift would occur July 1, 2017, not July 1, 2018.