An open letter to President Monaco and Provost Harris from Tufts part-time lecturers

Dear President Monaco and Provost Harris,

As you know, the recently formed Service Employees International Union (SEIU) of part-time faculty has been in negotiations with Tufts since the spring, and we have made some real progress. Tufts has moved to bring its practices into line with its averred values. In regularizing the appointments and contracts of part-time faculty, Tufts has begun to acknowledge how critically important its part-time faculty are to the full life of the university. Tufts has demonstrated a desire to address and remedy some of the inequities in its treatment of the people who teach more than 600 courses each year. But the salary schedule offered in our most recent discussion falls far short of such remedy, and perpetuates the inequities that first brought us to organize.

The administration’s salary proposal provides for some gradual increases in the pay of foreign language instructors, currently the most underpaid group among teachers in the humanities, and introduces a 2.25 percent across-the-board cost-of-living adjustment. Clearly, the university has recognized that it should cease its exclusion of part-time faculty from the cost-of-living adjustments it has given since 2009 to every other group in the university, but it has made no effort to undo or rectify the consequences of that exclusion. The denial of cost-of-living raises has effectively lowered our pay.

More fundamentally, the proposal fails to address the manifest unfairness of unequal pay for equal work. The university treats our work as equal when it calculates credits assigned for courses or tuition assessed to students. Our proposals have suggested only that part-time lecturers should be paid, on a per-course basis, what full-time non-tenure track lecturers are paid.

The question of how part-time faculty is treated has become a much-discussed part of the national debate on income inequality, and on the responsibilities of government, institutions and citizens to address such inequality. Tufts has a long tradition of encouraging its students to inquire into and engage with their responsibilities as citizens and their obligations to lead. In acknowledging the claims of part-time faculty to fair pay, the university can model for its students exactly how an engaged leadership might, and should, act.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Ahlstrand, Peg Barringer, Nina Barwell, Carl Beckman, Aida Belansky, Donald Berman, Phillip Brown, Tad Brunye, Robert Burdick, Stacy Camposano, Anne Cantú, Patricia Chaput, Mark Chase, Thomas Chen, Kerri Conditto Miller, Christine Cousineau, Jennifer Cullen, Ellen Detwiller, Patricia Di Silvio, Deborah Donahue-Keegan, Barry Drummond, Emma Duffy-Comparone, Louise Dunlap, Eli Evans, Marisol Fernandez-Garcia, Pamela Follett, Michael Fusillo, Linda Garant, Julia Genster, Rebecca Gibson, Marie P. Gillette, Laurie Goldman, Laura Graham, Rosalind Greenstein, Geraldine Grimm,Pam Haltom, Jane Hershey, Marcie Hershman, Joseph Hurka, Peggy Hutaff, Ronna Johnson, Sibyl Johnston, Nancy Kelly, Andy Klatt, Tanya Larkin, Elizabeth Leavell, Elizabeth Lemons, Nan Levinson, John Lippitt, Alicia Lynch, Wanda MacDonald, Meghan MacFadden, Teresa Marcelin, Tamara Márquez-Raffetto, Jackie Mascher, John McCann, Michael McLaughlin, Neil Miller, Carrie O’Connor, Adele Oppenheim, Elena Paolini, David Pauling, Nilza Pedemonte, John Perella, Isabell Perricone, Nancy Petrov, Marion Reynolds, Katherine Risse, Kareem Roustom, Stephen Sarikas, Susan Setnik, Michael Shapiro, Patricia Smith, Emese Soos, Lynn Stevens, Jonathan Strong, Lauren Sullivan, Jan Swafford, Joe Swingle, Grace Talusan, Cheryl Tano, Viola Thomas, Robert Trant, Scott Trudeau, Allison Van Deventer, Jaclyn Waguespack, Shannon Weber, VirginiaWeisz, Carol Wilkinson


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