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Petition Circulates in Support of Faculty

Students+penned+an+open+letter+in+support+of+contingent+faculty%2C+which+continues+to+circulate+and+gain+support+amongst+the+student+body+%28Courtesy+of+Kevin+Stoltenborg%29.
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Petition Circulates in Support of Faculty

Students penned an open letter in support of contingent faculty, which continues to circulate and gain support amongst the student body (Courtesy of Kevin Stoltenborg).

Students penned an open letter in support of contingent faculty, which continues to circulate and gain support amongst the student body (Courtesy of Kevin Stoltenborg).

Students penned an open letter in support of contingent faculty, which continues to circulate and gain support amongst the student body (Courtesy of Kevin Stoltenborg).

Students penned an open letter in support of contingent faculty, which continues to circulate and gain support amongst the student body (Courtesy of Kevin Stoltenborg).


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By Helen Stevenson

Students penned an open letter in support of contingent faculty, which continues to circulate and gain support amongst the student body (Courtesy of Kevin Stoltenborg).

Fordham’s Undergraduate and Graduate students penned an open letter urging the university’s administration to support its contingent faculty. The letter has over 300 signatures from students and continues to build in support.

The letter advises the administration to use tuition revenue and the university’s $739 million dollar endowment in order to install multi-year contracts with clear standards for renewal, higher minimum salaries, meaningful promotional paths, improved benefits, professional development opportunities and greater access to office space and equipment.

“We are invested in our professors; they provide so much mental, emotional and physical labor to educate us and help us grow. We call on the Fordham administration to invest in our professors too,” said the letter.

The letter addressed what it believes to be an inequity among salaries between the administration and adjunct professors.

“These unjust teaching conditions for our non-tenure track faculty strain their ability to provide an excellent education for us as students,” said the petition.

The students cite the Jesuit values of the university, addressing what they feel is the administration’s responsibility to provide fair benefits and wages to contingent faculty in order to stay true to the Jesuit mission.

“Fordham University prides itself as an institution dedicated to excellence in education and social justice,” says the letter. “By paying non-tenure track faculty low wages and providing little in the way of benefits, the Fordham administration is stifling faculty and student potential and contributing to income inequality.”

Students also reference their responsibility to write this letter in order to stay true to the messages of the university and the Jesuit mission. According to the letter, students are taught to use their voices to speak up about the injustices they witness, and they find the salary and lack of benefits received by Fordham contingent faculty to be an injustice.

“Treating our entire faculty respectfully and equitably will enhance our education and the life of the university. Together, we can and must do better,” the letter says.

According to Diane George, an adjunct professor of anthropology and member of Fordham’s contingent faculty union, the letter was created and organized completely by students.

“It was written by students and is being circulated by students, I believe led by Fordham Students United,” she said. “They were tremendously supportive of our efforts to unionize in the first place.”

Many professors are happy with the support growing among students.

“We’re excited and inspired by their commitment to social justice. We hope this confirms how important we are to the university community,” said George.

According to Sarah Lopez, FCRH 2018, the petition has grown in support because it has been shared by students who care about the welfare of their teachers.

“[Most of the classes taught at Fordham are by NTT faculty, so the well-being of the teachers is directly related to the quality of education students are able to get,” she said. “Also, it only seems natural to want to ensure that people have job security, a stable income and a living.”

Lopez is hopeful that the letter will enact change and help adjunct professors in their negotiations.

“If we show solidarity with our teachers, we are showing that the students are not going to sit back and let their teachers be taken advantage of by their employers,” she said. “The letter is a commitment and a sign of the unwavering allegiance of students to justice for faculty. The university might not listen now, but we will make sure they will.”

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Petition Circulates in Support of Faculty