Ithaca College students and community rallying to support contingent faculty

“Contingent faculty are paid poverty wages, receive no health benefits, and must re-apply for their jobs every year,” say Ithaca College students who have organized a rally for tonight to support their part-time and full-time non-tenure-track teachers.

Ithaca College students rallying to support contingent faculty. Photo provided.

Ithaca College students rallying to support contingent faculty. Photo provided.

“Many of our favorite faculty have trouble planning their lives and making ends meet,” according to a Facebook event page for the rally, scheduled for 6pm today at Free Speech Rock on the Ithaca College campus.

Both part-time and full-time faculty have unionized at Ithaca College this past year, with SEIU200 United as their union, according to a statement from the Tompkins County Workers Center, which is encouraging community members, especially union workers, to come out in support of the IC faculty at tonight’s rally.

“By the time I find out whether or not I’ll be hired for next year, it’ll be too late to apply for another academic job,” says Shoshanna Cole, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, in a series of photos shared by students concerned about their teachers. She’s one of many IC faculty with no job security.

The Ithaca College Contingent Faculty Union is “prepared to take action at several events” at Ithaca College, including outside tonight’s Board of Trustees cocktail hour. “The lavish catering budget for the Board of Trustees and top administrators exemplifies Ithaca College’s wrongly prioritized spending,” according to Chris Machanoff of Faculty Forward, a program of the SEIU200 United union.

Last month, negotiations broke down when the union bargaining committee walked out, saying “the administration had not come to the table with serious counterproposals on faculty compensation, job security or longer term appointments for over a month.” The union has rejected a request from the IC administration to bring in a federal mediator. Bargaining team member Rachel Kaufman said in a statement, “We believe that a mediator is not what’s necessary at this moment. We need to see real movement on the part of the administration, movement that will help bring faculty off the fringes and allow them to make ends meet.”

Free Speech Rock is on Ithaca College’s academic quad outside the Campus Center building. Organizers say several area unions will be there in support of IC contingent faculty, for the rally beginning at 6pm today.

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