On September 27th, the University Student Senate, which is comprised of delegates from all CUNY campuses, overwhelmingly approved (with only one abstention) a resolution in support of adjunct faculty. The statement points to the vital role part-time faculty play in the functioning of CUNY and calls on Chancellor Milliken to recognize that fact by ensuring adjuncts receive significant raises in the next contract, with the goal of movement toward pay parity for a more equitable CUNY.

The full text of the resolution can be found below. Thanks so much to Cecilia Salvi, delegate from the Graduate Center, for composing it and bringing it to USS for a vote:

Resolution in Support of CUNY Adjuncts

WHEREAS the University Student Senate (USS) is the duly elected representative organization of all students at the City University of New York (CUNY),

WHEREAS the mission of the USS is “to preserve the accessibility, affordability and excellence of higher education within the City of New York and to protect the rights of the student body and to inform them when their rights are threatened, to further the cause of public higher education and to promote the general welfare of its student constituents and the University,”

WHEREAS the mission of CUNY is, in part, “to maintain and expand its commitment to academic excellence and to the provision of equal access and opportunity for students, faculty and staff from all ethnic and racial groups and from both sexes. The City University is of vital importance as a vehicle for the upward mobility of the disadvantaged in the City of New York,”

WHEREAS CUNY has some 540,000 students and employs some 13,000 adjuncts;

WHEREAS a significant number of Graduate Center (GC) students adjunct to subsidize their graduate studies and living expenses, whether solely or in addition to graduate assistantships, especially those students who entered the GC prior to 2013;

WHEREAS adjuncts comprise 59% of the CUNY faculty but earn only 29-38% of what full-time faculty earn;

WHEREAS the starting salary for CUNY adjuncts for a three-credit course is approximately $2,700, and the average is about $3,275;

WHEREAS increasing adjunct salaries would inhibit CUNY from relying on adjuncts as cheap labor and significantly close the salary gap between adjunct faculty and full-time faculty;

WHEREAS CUNY students have increasingly paid more for their education through rational tuition and various fee increases, and senior college tuition has increased 31% since 2011, but students have not directly benefited from those increases through greater student-to-teacher ratios, and in fact have experienced an overall decline in university services;

WHEREAS these austerity measures disproportionately harm working-class students and students of color, since more than half of CUNY undergraduates have family incomes of less than $30,000 a year, and 75% of CUNY undergraduates are Black, Latino or Asian, and these measures run contrary to the mission of CUNY stated above;

WHEREAS adjuncts are consistently subjected to unpredictable working conditions, including but not limited to late pay, classes cancellations, lack of rehiring, disproportionate class sizes that vary by campus and department, and inadequate access to instructional resources;

WHEREAS contracts for CUNY faculty and staff expired in 2010, and there have been no raises since 2009;

WHEREAS the working conditions of CUNY’s adjuncts and doctoral student workers are the learning conditions of its undergraduate and graduate students and the failure to produce a contract or make pay commensurate with that of other institutions of higher learning endangers the quality of education;

Be it RESOLVED that the University Student Senate supports all adjuncts, especially those who are also doctoral students within CUNY, in their demands for better wages and working conditions, and for a fair and equitable contract that protects worker rights and academic freedom;

And be it further RESOLVED that the USS calls on Chancellor Milliken to negotiate with the Professional Staff Congress, the faculty and staff union at CUNY, for a significant raise in the starting salary per three-credit course for CUNY adjuncts in current and ongoing contract bargaining as determined in negotiation by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC);

And be it finally RESOLVED that the USS calls on CUNY to bargain this demand in good faith, since more equitable salaries and working conditions for CUNY adjunct faculty benefit all staff, students and faculty, especially the University in an effort to preserve the “CUNY value” of affordability and accessibility for all.