Led by the Lecturers’ Employee Organization, 200
supporters gathered in front of the Fleming Administration Building
yesterday afternoon demanding non-tenured job security and benefits
for lecturers.

Held right before the University Board of Regents meeting, the
rally was organized to show the University the vast amount of
support for the grievances of non-tenure track faculty at the
University, LEO organizer Ian Robinson said.

Other main concerns Robinson brought up at the rally were higher
wages and increased representation in University policies affecting
the teaching and job conditions of lecturers.

A non-tenured lecturer who has worked at the University for 10
years, can still be denied renewal of his contract without further
explanation under current University standards, Robinson said. He
added that the $19,600 salary of a lecturer with a graduate degree
is half the salary of a starting high school teacher with the same
degree.

“Members are committed to teaching but we don’t want
to see the University exploit that. They should give people their
just due. … Students have been able to rely on their
professors commitment but we don’t know how long that
commitment will last,” Robinson said.

He added that if the University continues to mistreat its
non-tenured lecturers their commitment to teaching would eventually
develop into cynicism, affecting their teaching.

The students who said they would be most affected by a decrease
in lecturers’ motivation showed up to support their
teachers.

Art and Design junior Noel Bielaczyc showed up to support a
lecture he has worked with since his freshman year.

“We always end up talking about (my instructor’s)
concerns in class. It concerns me that my teacher has no security,
so we’re showing up to show support,” Bielaczyc
said.

Members from Students Organizing for Labor and Economic Equality
and the Graduate Employees Organization also joined in to support
LEO.

“The important thing is to work together as unions to show
the University that unions don’t just stick to our own
unions, but all University employees stick to the same issues
— its about solidarity,” said Pete Soppelsa a graduate
student instructor.

University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said the terms have not
yet been settled for the various grievances that have been
expressed by LEO.

“Right now we are discussing issues of mutual concern and
exchanging data. The major focus of our conversation currently is
the appointment process. There is a wide range in the circumstances
under which these instructors are employed in the various academic
units. We have not yet begun to discuss salary and benefits,”
Peterson said.

Negotiations with the University began in August 2003. LEO is
looking to sign a first contract with the University by March
2004.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.