Faculty deny students access to discussion about unionization of some contingent faculty

–By Alison Haywood–For the Mooring Mast online

Student reporters were shut out from attending the Faculty Assembly Meeting on Friday afternoon in which faculty members discussed efforts of some contingent faculty to unionize.

In the past, student reporters have been allowed to attend faculty meetings with prior permission. Representatives from The Mooring Mast and Lute Times sent an e-mail to Chair of Psychology Wendelyn Shore requesting permission for student reporters to attend the portion of the meeting in which Motion F would be discussed.

Motion F is “an Informal Discussion on the efforts of our contingent faculty to unionize, on the university administration’s response to those efforts, and on the implications of this situation for the rest of the faculty lasting no longer than 20 minutes.”

Professor of Communication Joanne Lisosky proposed a motion to allow student reporters to attend. The motion was shot down with a 98-24 vote, with one faculty member abstaining from voting – a clear example of a lack of transparency in the faculty government system.

Contingent faculty members teaching less than a full load were not allowed to vote.

Student reporters had waited over an hour outside of Leraas Lecture Hall waiting on a verdict on whether or not they would be let in.

An independently-organized group of students had come to the lecture hall 20 minutes before the staff meeting to show support for contingent faculty in regards to the discussion which was about to take place. They stood on the sidewalk outside the building and held up signs saying “I support contingent faculty! Let them vote.”

Students hold "I Support Contingent Faculty" signs outside of the Faculty Assembly Meeting Friday afternoon. Photo by Alison Haywood.

Students hold “I Support Contingent Faculty” signs outside of the Faculty Assembly Meeting Friday afternoon. Photo by Alison Haywood.

They also encouraged students passing by to sign a petition saying they supported contingent faculty, and did not support PLU’s presumed use of tuition dollars to file lawsuits against contingent faculty organization.For more information on SEIU and plans for some contingent faculty to form a union, visit http://www.lutetimes.com and the news section of The Mooring Mast website.

Categories: Campus, Other, Politics, Student Life

5 replies

  1. Thank you, student reporters, for your great coverage of contingent faculty’s efforts to unionize on our campus. The Faculty Assembly discussion was quite civilized and was extended 3 times to almost one hour. In spite of our deep divide, we are trying to walk in each other’s shoes to make PLU a better place for our students. Come to the teach-in on Thursday!

  2. Thanks for covering this very important issue at your school. It’s happening across the country and the working conditions of contingent faculty affect the education of students. Full time faculty need to support their contingent colleagues, not shut us out of academic governance. The two tier system harms both contingents and tenured, as well as our students. Keep the pressure on!

  3. Thank you students (all of you) for your great support. It is your activism which reminds us, your professors, of why we do what we do. You are truly modelling what we teach you in the classroom and I hope you will keep making change and asking questions regardless of where you are in life.


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