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Campus Equity Week at PSU

Amidst the drizzle of rain and fall weather, approximately 60 members of various Oregon education institutions, gathered Monday to rally and discuss the issues facing both part-time and full-time faculty.

Oct. 28 through Nov. 3 has been named “Campus Equity week” in the state of Oregon. During this week, faculty members try to increase public awareness about teachers and their situations. The hour-long rally, held in the South Park Blocks, included many speakers from different schools around the state.

Margaret Butler, from Jobs for Justice got the crowd going with a chant of, “United we stand, divided we beg.”

Faculty members face issues such as: lack of full-time positions, health benefits and job security.Jacqueline Arante, a PSU instructor, stated that Oregon is ranked 43 in teacher salaries among the 50 states.

One of the items that the faculty wishes to address is more opportunity for full-time employment. Sixty percent of PSU’s faculty is on a term to term, or year to year basis. The faculty members want equal pay for equal work. They don’t want part-time teachers to have to teach at multiple institutions at the same time.

They also want healthcare. Many teachers are forced to take pay from their checks to help pay for healthcare.

The American Association of University Professors, (PSU-AAUP), and the American Federation of Teachers are two of the organizations working together to help make the faculty’s voice heard.PSU’s Campus Labor Coalition is also doing their part to help the faculty. PSU’s Labor Coalition is fighting to have wages increased and healthcare offered to every faculty member, as well as improved working conditions.

Emily Garrick, Associated Students of Portland State University’s Vice President, gave a student perspective on the matter, saying, “We (the students) are here to support you, and we will be here in the future.”

The rally also gave faculty members a chance to show off their acting skill in three skits. These skits demonstrated the needs of faculty members.

During one of the skits, titled, “I’m sorry, your class is cancelled,” a scenario was played out that involved a teacher, a student and an “entrepreneurial education consultant.” The consultant was discontinuing one of the teacher’s classes that didn’t meet the goals of an entrepreneurial college.

The teacher didn’t understand the cancellation. She had taught that particular class for five years, and all of a sudden it was dropped. This scenario intended to show the limits of tenure in Oregon’s educational system.

After the teacher lost her class, a former student wanted to get together with her to discuss a paper. She agreed to meet him in parking lot C.

“Don’t you have an office,” the student questioned, “…or office hours?”

“Hours – yes! Office – no,” the teacher responded.

Many faculty members want more time with students, but most teachers aren’t getting the time they need. Many of the faculty members are stuck sharing a desk with three other faculty members.

Students receive very little time to meet and discuss problems with their teachers. Instructors also want to be paid for going to meetings. The faculty feels that if they put in extra time, they should get extra money.