Northwestern Students Rally In Support Of Non-Tenure Faculty, University Refuses To Negotiate
Several student groups at Northwestern University in Illinois organized a Halloween rally in support of non-tenure faculty who the university has refused to negotiate with since the union was officially certified in May. Visiting Assistant Professor Jackson Bartlett is part of the Non-Tenure Eligible Faculty Union, SEIU Local 73:
[Jackson Bartlett ]“So, they’re running this confusion campaign, telling people that it’s still up in the air, that there’re still appeals, but we were certified and so they’re obligated under federal labor law to bargain with us.”
The student-led rally was part of national Campus Equity Week, an annual event which seeks to promote awareness of the harmful consequences of the precarious situation of faculty in higher education, to organize for action, and to build solidarity among students, graduate students and tenure track, tenured and non-tenure eligible faculty.
[Jackson Bartlett ]“There’s a lot of different moving parts on campus and there’s a lot of low-wage workers. So, Campus Equity Week is kind of a nice way to pull it all together. It’s really important that the university understands that it’s not just a few angry faculty, right? It’s an entire community that’s coming together to demand justice on our campus.”
Paige Warren, a member of the Service Employees International Union at Chicago’s Loyola University, fired up the students at the rally. She was thrilled at the turnout at Northwestern:
[Paige Warren]: “It was especially heartening to see students really turn out and completely support their part time faculty. Once students become aware of this issue, they are many times our greatest allies. Their ever-growing, ever-exorbitant tuition dollars are not necessarily going into their professors’ pockets. At Loyola, it’s been ten years since we last had a raise, and yet tuition has absolutely spiked. In the last couple of decades it’s become a 75 percent completely disposable faculty, that we’re all on contracts at fifteen weeks at a time. We’re incredibly low-paid. We’re incredibly unstable. This is not the college that they paid for; this is not the education they deserve. And it’s up to all of us to hold these colleges accountable for how they’re spending tuition dollars.”