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Union Response to Intimidation Attempt by IC Administration

Contributed by Tom Schneller on 05/26/20 

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The Ithaca College Contingent Faculty Union recently issued an appeal for solidarity during this crisis to our fellow TT and NTEN professors on intercom (see https://www.ithaca.edu/intercom/article.php/20200506214331555). We took heart in the generous response of our colleagues, and thank them for their support (see https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScyC9XCsYz5jcQEuCemruitJcrY7j3cH4MUI-WolREbkzFV3g/viewform).

Unfortunately, the provost decided to target the individual union member who posted our appeal to intercom by falsely accusing him of violating the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) and threatening him with potential future disciplinary action "up to and including termination." The union has filed a grievance contending that this censure discriminates against him for exercising legitimate union activities and violates his rights of academic freedom. While we are confident that we will prevail, the attempt to stifle IC faculty is an intolerable abrogation of our right to free speech and organizing in the workplace. It should inspire the IC community to come together in solidarity to defend our collective freedom to speak up without being threatened.

We recognize, of course, that the pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge for the SLT­. This is why we have reached out to the administration multiple times, from the very beginning of the crisis, to offer our support and collaboration as representatives of a third of IC's faculty. Despite receiving no response and no outreach from the administration during this time, our offer of collaboration stands. The last thing we want is division at this crucial moment in our history. Our plea was and remains for faculty solidarity and mutual aid. Our goal as a union has always been to foster a more just, ethical, and compassionate IC community, especially for those most vulnerable among us. We therefore ask the senior leadership to reconsider their chosen path of hostility toward contingent faculty, who, facing the likely prospect of imminent unemployment and financial ruin, feel excluded and abandoned by the institution to which they have devoted years of hard work, expertise, and passion as educators.

Instead of attempting to intimidate and silence us, we ask IC's senior leadership to live up to their compassionate rhetoric by supporting contingent faculty in tangible terms during this crisis. To that end, we are proposing a set of MOUs (Memoranda of Understanding, small amendments to the union contract) that would provide an opportunity, at minimal cost and effort, for the College to act on the humane principles it espouses in its public relations. In the spirit of transparency, we are posting these proposed MOUs to our website: https://iccontingentfacult.wixsite.com/union/news

In solidarity,

the Ithaca College Contingent Faculty Union Committee

  • Mark Baustian, Assistant Professor
  • John Burger, Lecturer
  • Brody Burroughs, Lecturer
  • Rachel Fomalhaut, Lecturer
  • Megan Graham, Assistant Professor
  • Arzu Karaduman, Assistant Professor
  • James Miranda, Lecturer
  • Tom Schneller, Lecturer

 

 

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