November 4, 2011

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New Paltz, Cortland chapters hold events for “Campus Equity”


New Paltz UUPer Jeff Johnson watches as a student signs a petition calling for fair wages, working conditions and treatment for contingent and part-time college employees during a Campus Equity Week (CEW) outreach event hosted by New Paltz’s UUP chapter.

She was one of more than 2,000 students, faculty and staff who signed the petition during the week-long event Oct. 24-29 at New Paltz which will go to New Paltz President Robert Christian. The biennial initiative at hundreds of colleges across the country is meant to spotlight these often exploited employees in the U.S., Mexico and Canada

At New Paltz, where nearly 50 percent of employees are contingent or part-time, Campus Equity Week (CEW) is a very big deal.

“It’s an opportunity to highlight the unfair, unjust treatment of adjuncts,” said New Paltz Chapter President Peter D.G. Brown. “At New Paltz, adjuncts teach one-third of all courses, and the bulk of the general education courses. And they have no job security, which means no academic freedom.”

New Paltz UUPers staffed an information table and handed out CEW information to interested students and staff. The latest issue of the chapter’s newsletter, The Bullhorn, is dedicated to CEW.

“This has been a major issue for us at New Paltz,” said New Paltz UUPer Susan Lehrer, who worked on the event with Ed Felton, the chapter’s part-time concerns representative.

Cortland does CEW

With more than 50 percent of SUNY Cortland’s employees listed as contingents and part-timers, CEW was an opportunity to illustrate the inadequacies they face and recognize them for their hard work. It also allowed Cortland UUPers to invite them to take on a bigger role in UUP.

“Many of our contingents and part-time members are virtually invisible on campus, because they work at odd hours, or in the evenings, or hold multiple jobs to make ends meet,” said Cortland Chapter President Jamie Dangler. “They feel marginalized and that’s why we go the extra mile to reach out to them with this series of events.”

Those events included a “Union Matters” chapter lunch meeting and a reception where contingents and part-timers could meet with Cortland Chapter officers and other UUPers, said Jackie Pittsley, Cortland’s part-time concerns representative.

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