Colin Redemer 109

Save Union Jobs at Saint Mary's College

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Tell the administration at St. Mary's College of California why we DO NOT WANT to replace experienced unionized faculty with temporary graduate students.

At this moment, the administration is forming a new grad-student teaching policy which will determine the future of unionized labor on campus, as well as the future of undergraduate education at Saint Mary’s College. This policy may reverse the college’s long and widely respected tradition of staffing core classes with highly qualified adjunct faculty, and allowing departments to replace us with temporary graduate students.

There is a phrase used to describe organizations which do things like this: union busting!

The Adjunct faculty at SMC are vital to the success of students across the disciplines. Not only do we bring expertise from outside the academy, but many of us who teach first year students, minister to needs beyond the classroom. We have developed curriculum, programs, and we are key partners in the recruitment and retention of students. As Cark J. Strikwerda recognized in a recent article for Inside Higher ED: “Non-tenure-track faculty members and adjuncts are essential partners. Often, they teach the majority of first-year students. Many are experts at reaching at-risk students. They can share their insights with other instructors and benefit from more support and training on how to help improve retention.”

John Baptiste de la Salle, patron saint of teachers, and founder of the Christian Brothers, understood the importance of experience. Teachers grow in skill, faith, and zeal alongside their students. We do not merely upload information into a student's waiting mind, but minister, daily, to needs that extend far beyond the page. We must make sure the grad-student teaching policy reflects these values.

As such, we ask that the Administration adopt a position which leads with the following phrase:

"Saint Mary's College will not replace any unionized employee with a graduate student worker."

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