There will be two unemployment filing parties this May, both scheduled for the week of May 10. Basic info is below. Follow the links to download the flyers.
Reports have been circulating on the Chicago COCAL mailing list run by Joe Berry about the August 2006 conference in Vancouver. Follow the links below for more information:
Report from Jack Longmate (Oaxaca, B.C. "regularization", legislative efforts)
Steve Wilson on California's "60% Law"
Douglas Giles' statement at the Academic Freedom Panel
We have made these changes in our union structure and collective bargaining strategies because we believe that all post-secondary educators have equal value. It is a critical starting point for any substantial discussion about how we address the issue of contingent academic labour because our employers, of course, want to cherry-pick their way through postsecondary faculty. The employer wants to create arbitrary measures of who is important and who is not. They want to skew the compensation debate to enable their arbitrary choices. But most of all, the employer wants to pit educators against one another and use the disunity to create a post-secondary education environment that reflects their values and priorities.
This was sent out originally on the adj-l list on August 14, 2006 and is a quick summary of three of the presentations. Jack Longmate (email@example.com) teaches at Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington.
The Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization has finalized plans for a forum / town hall meeting on the crucial topic of academic freedom. Entitled "Academic Freedom Under Fire," it will feature a four-person panel who'll examine the issue from local to national perspectives. There will be plenty of time for audience questions and discussion both about the issue and what can be done to protect academic freedom. Below is a list of the panelists. Follow the link below that for a copy of the flyer to post and distribute.
Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association
John K. Wilson, PhD candidate, author of Patriotic Correctness: Academic Freedom and Its Enemies
Jack Metzgar, retired labor historian at Roosevelt University
Tom Auxter, president of the United Faculty of Florida (an affiliate of the NEA and AFT)
Flyer for the Academic Freedom Forum / Town Hall Meeting
Since the Fall of 2005, the Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization, IEA/NEA has been pursuing a grievance that Roosevelt University violated the academic freedom of an adjunct. This grievance is now scheduled for arbitration and has spawned two additional grievances on behalf of the adjunct involved. The RAFO executive committee sent a letter to full-time faculty at Roosevelt explaining its position and below is a slightly-modified version of that letter that was sent via email to adjuncts at Roosevelt and that appears on RAFO's website:
On Wednesday, April 19, 2006, the Roosevelt Faculty Senate voted to support the AAUP statement on academic freedom as it pertains to adjunct faculty. We asked the Roosevelt AAUP chapter to offer such a resolution because of an academic freedom violation that occurred to one of our members. We are currently arbitrating that case. We feel that the way the university has responded to this complaint shows that it has little regard for the values it espouses. We want to share our side of this case with the hope that you will support our endeavor to guarantee the rights to academic freedom to the entire Roosevelt community. We believe, as the AAUP stated, that not to guarantee these rights may create a chilling atmosphere that could hinder the academic experience of students whose adjunct professors may be hesitant to engage in lively debate about critical and controversial issues for fear of losing their jobs.
So what follows is our narrative.
In spring semester 2005, a member of RAFO, taught two world religions courses at Roosevelt. During a discussion of Judaism in one of the classes, a student asked whether Zionism was a racist position. The discussion then turned to the religious beliefs of Judaism and Islam regarding the Holy Land. The book he used also has a short section on this question. The final examination included an innocuous question as one of several options that students could answer.
In the fall semester of 2005, a student challenged his grade on the basis of his answer to that question. The supervisor reviewed his claim and determined that in fact the student had deserved the grade he got.
During the review, the supervisor had two telephone conversations with the adjunct about the case. According to the adjunct, the supervisor was disturbed that a test question about Zionism could have been included on the test and was disturbed that a discussion about Zionism was allowed in the classroom. The supervisor advised the adjunct that a world religions class should not follow any kind of discussion format and that only the basics about the religion should be discussed. The supervisor argued that to discuss Zionism was to make Judaism vulnerable to criticism. The adjunct argued that such a discussion did not guarantee such a response. As they talked the passion escalated until the supervisor discredited the Palestinian claims to the land and characterized them, especially suicide bombers, as less than human. The supervisor copied the adjunct on an e-mail memo to the student, saying that the adjunct had been told not to introduce political content in a world religions class.
After the adjunct had requested a class for Spring 2006, he soon received a letter of non-rehire. RAFO filed a grievance, claiming a violation of the academic freedom provision in our contract. We followed the required grievance procedure steps. At each meeting, the administrators said the reason for the adjunct’s dismissal stemmed from a question of teaching competence in another class, which the adjunct continued to teach even after receiving the letter of non-rehire. But the administration refused to provide a description of or evidence about the teacher's performance.
After we filed for arbitration, the administration shared its "evidence"–a former student's e-mail to another professor asking whether the adjunct’s interpretation of a fallacious logic argument was correct. If this e-mail is, in fact, the reason the adjunct was terminated, then the administration had violated another contract provision, which requires that adjuncts must be informed about student complaints before any resulting disciplinary action. RAFO has thus filed a second grievance.
RAFO and the adjunct have undergone a hearing relating to the adjunct's teaching performance as requested by the provost’s office. The instructor presented detailed materials from his courses, including texts, syllabi, and positive student evaluations (which the university had not reviewed prior to dismissal). Following the hearing, the university only later forwarded to RAFO some photocopies of some e-mails from the student, the supervisor, and two other professors.
Now, the university stands by its decision to let the adjunct go.
We continue to believe that the questioning of the instructor's competence is a diversionary tactic to shift the argument away from the academic freedom violation. We believe the so-called evidence does not in fact indict the adjunct but rather shows that the university has no commitment to collegiality toward its adjunct instructors and it demonstrates a callous disregard for the evaluation of teaching,
The Roosevelt Adjunct Faculty Organization is deeply committed to the mission of social justice articulated by this university. We ask for your understanding as we continue to urge Roosevelt to stand by the values that not only re-accredited us with the HLC, but which our founders felt so strongly showed the need for this university in the first place.
Thank you for your consideration.
RAFO Executive Committee
Beverly Stewart, President
LuAnn Swartzlander, Vice President and Grievance Chair
Vilma Chemers, Treasurer
Frank Brooks, Secretary
Karen Stanley, whose bibliography of internet and email resources related to part-time/adjunct/contingent faculty issues appears on our resources page, has updated her list with corrections to dead links and a few new ones. Check it out here.
Now is the time to start thinking about attending this summer's COCAL VII Conference. It will be held from August 10-13 in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information, consult the COCAL VII web site or download the brochure (which has a registration form).