Let contingent faculty organize: A call for administration neutrality

This week Macalester’s contingent faculty announced their intent to form a union. This will allow them to have a collective voice in negotiating the terms of their employment. As students, we support the decision to organize a union and applaud their courage. Contingent faculty at Macalester are integral in making our experiences as students rich and rewarding. They constitute over half of all faculty, which means without them our education would be incomplete. Furthermore, contingent faculty rise to the same standards of excellence as tenured and tenure-track faculty. In fact, the difference between contingent and tenure-track faculty in the classroom is indistinguishable, a testament to their devotion despite their lack of adequate compensation or job security.

Throughout Contingent Faculty Appreciation Week at Macalester, we have raised awareness about contingents’ importance and begun a dialogue about their adverse employment situation. We hope that the administration sees this week as an outpouring of student and contingent intellect, action and passion. We hope the administration has heard the contingents’ calls and students’ support. We expect the administration will allow for a non-adversarial process as our contingents continue to organize and eventually vote on their union. This is their right.

Macalester promotes ideals of equality, advocacy, empowerment, service and civic engagement. To this end, we encourage the administration to take a position of non-interference in this campaign, a stance to which numerous other academic institutions have committed. We caution the administration against using its power in any way to influence the decision of Macalester’s contingent faculty; it is their decision to make. Macalester should devote its resources to our education, not the manipulation of those who educate. Beyond neutrality, we further encourage the administration to sit down with the Adjunct Organizing Committee and convey their support of the organizing process and pledge to refrain from interfering. As students we await the administration’s response to contingent faculty and are eager to have our faith in our administration confirmed.

Eli Liebman’ ’15 Alizarin Menninga ’15 Ilana Master ’14 Charlie Birge ’15 Sylvia Thomas ’14 Celeste Robinson ’16 Katheryn Paral ’16 Julia Sillen ’14 Alex Bartiromo ’16 Julia Gay ’16 Jeremy Levine-Drizin ’15 Luke Mielke ’16 Cárol Mejía ’15 Mulugetta Fratkin ’14 William Kent-Daggett ’15 Ariana Feldman ’16 Jesse Goldblum ’14 Leewana Thomas ’14 David Clingman ’15 Mira Hager ’14 Josie Ahrens ’14 Daniel Bomberg ’16 Isaac Mathison-Bowie ’15 Hannah Siegel ’16 David Baldus ’16 Sam Faulkner ’15 Anne Sombor ’14 Hannah Trivilino ’15 Becca Cohen ’14 Sophie Hill ’14 Alisha Roopchand ’15 Evan Greenberg ’14