At Leahy Hall dedication, FAC rallies for ‘fair’ contract
Published: September 25, 2015
The Faculty Affairs Council protested the proposed contract by administration for the second time Sept. 18.
FAC members stood at three of the four corners of the Jefferson Avenue and Linden Street intersection holding signs that read “A fair contract for faculty,” “Tuition dollars wasted,” “Teaching is the mission,” and more, some of which were held at the previous protest Aug. 22.
After being in Minimal Compliance – Stage 1 since July 13 and peacefully protesting, FAC members hoped the second demonstration would not be necessary.
Daniel Townsend, Ph.D., of the biology department held a sign that read “A fair contract for faculty.” He explained that the FAC did not want to have a second protest.
“We hoped we wouldn’t have to do this one,” Townsend said. He then repeated himself two more times. “We hoped we wouldn’t have to do this one. We hoped we wouldn’t have to do this one.”
The contract negotiations began months ago and, in explaining what a typical negotiation entails, Townsend explained why there is friction between administration and faculty.
“The context of a negotiation is to do just that,” Townsend said. “To negotiate the give and takes, so that each side, in effect, gets some of the things that it would like and is willing to give up some of the things that the other side is less excited about or less willing to accept, and that’s not happened. It has not happened to any reasonable extent.”
Stan Zygmunt, director of news and media relations at The University, provided a statement on behalf of The University.
“We respect the right of our faculty to draw attention to their perspective of contract negotiations.” Zygmunt wrote in an email. “Nevertheless, protests or demonstrations have no influence on our commitment to providing the faculty with a fair, competitive and sustainable contract that recognizes the financial pressures facing The University and all of higher education.”
Jessica Bachman, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the exercise science department who chose to hold a sign that read “Teaching is the mission.”
Bachman explained that the purpose of the protest is to raise awareness and, ultimately, find a compromise between administration and faculty.
“We’re trying to peacefully resolve, so we as professors can get back to doing what we love doing,” Bachman said.
FAC members are not alone in thinking they deserve a fair contract. Sophomore Julia Vitiello also believes faculty should receive better treatment.
“Students are having a good experience here, and professors should have a good experience too,” Vitiello said.
No demonstrations are planned for the future; however, FAC chairperson, Michael Friedman, Ph.D., explained the potential of Minimal Compliance – Stage 2 if the second protest has no effect.
“We don’t want to go to Minimal Compliance – Stage 2, but a lot of our faculty members are asking for it and if our upcoming actions (second protest) don’t have any effect, then, you know, it’s on the horizon,” Friedman said.
Townsend reflected on the goal of the FAC.
“We want a fair contract — we want to be dealt with fairly,” he said. “And the hope is that ultimately, in the near future, we’re going to get there.”