Dear Fellow SU Students,
This February 25, at Noon, many of the faculty members at Seattle University have decided that they will be walking out of their classrooms. Professors from around the country will be joining together in solidarity on National Adjunct Walkout Day. There are surely many reasons to walk. For myself, I am walking because I believe that Seattle University’s mission is dedicated to the types of transformations that our professors are demanding, even if the administration is not living up to them.
Currently, universities and colleges across the country are becoming more and more dependent on temporary, short-term, part-time, “contingent” instructors to teach a vast number of courses to undergraduates. This trend is justified by corporatized university administrations, citing budget concerns and lowering costs, despite the fact that tuition continues to rise and money is spent on non-essential marketing projects like re-branding. Simultaneously, many of the professors who work part-time at this university and others are reduced to near-poverty, with no chance to improve their situation through negotiation or advocacy. Our faculty at this school is 56% contingent, course offerings and jobs are being lost to budget cuts, and our tuition has risen 5% since the last year.
Contingent faculty members have been working hard for the past few years to develop a strategy for making their concerns, and our concerns, known. All attempts thus far have been ignored, and unionization has been actively contested by the university administration. The legal process, although drawn-out by the administration’s efforts, has resulted in a favorable decision for our faculty. That being said, this same administration appears committed to blocking efforts to change the status quo at any level.
Even with this opposition, we know we can win.
Please join these courageous members of our university community who risk their jobs and reputations in order to work for a better future at SU. Consider this letter an invitation to all students to join our adjuncts on February 25 at noon, in solidarity with faculty and students across the nation who are seeking a change in this system. Stand with us on National Adjunct Walkout Day, and let’s teach our administrators something about the kind of university that we are. This is what social justice looks like: you won’t see it on a brochure.
I’m standing up for what is right and will be participating in National Adjunct Walk Out Day:
Rev. Shelly Fayette
Mary Eileen Langsdorf