The Campaign for Faculty Equality (CFE) is a new statewide organization that aims to work in conjunction with existing advocacy groups and to serve as a forum of strategic thinking and action among those who work in our different institutions across the state—with legislators, unions, faculty senates, and trustees—to promote a one-tier system and equality. Part-time instructors in California’s community college system have options to seek workplace improvements, including through their unions and in collaborations with associations like the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC) and the California Part-Time Faculty Association (CPFA).
As employees of the largest community college system in the world — 116 colleges across 73 districts, part-timers serve over 1.924 million students annually. According to the State Chancellor’s Datamart, we are over 36,305 part-time instructors, counselors, and librarians, compared to 17,727 full-time faculty, and comprise more than two-thirds of all faculty. Part-time faculty are far from being the “temporary occasional” PT employee who teaches a class in an emergency when no other tenured faculty is available, as it was originally designed back in the 1960s. In truth, many of us have taught for decades under these substandard and discriminatory conditions.
For half a century, approximately 50% of the courses have been taught by second-tier employees for generally less than 50% of a full-time faculty total compensation package with little or no security of employment or medical benefits, or a voice in the governance of their colleges. This is blatant exploitation!
Earlier attempts to right these wrongs, like passing AB-420 in 1999 which promised pay equity, office hours, and medical benefits for part-timers had, unfortunately, little impact in most districts. The current system needs to be changed and the One-Tier Model is the answer!
The two-tiered system is also detrimental to full-time faculty. They are expected to serve on committees, evaluate and develop curriculum, assist in the accreditation process, participate in college governance, mentor students, attend graduations, and perform other important faculty duties. These need to be shared equally with their full and part-time colleagues to provide a more well-rounded educational environment for our students. When this workload applies equally to all faculty, as a group, they will be able to spend more time meeting the needs of their students. In addition, the ongoing defense of tenure will be strengthened as it is shared by all faculty. Ultimately, a one-tier system will yield a more inclusive and harmonious academic environment that values every faculty member’s contributions.
The advisory committee of CFE believes we can address concerns, identify common ground, and develop comprehensive strategies through open and transparent dialog among all stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, and even administrators and trustees. We will only achieve effective equality through faculty-wide collaboration and a major shift in the mindset of community college leadership. By scrutinizing the rhetoric and impact of potential partial solutions, CFE will evaluate and oppose ineffective half-measures that further entrench the inequity and embrace changes that will contribute to building a one-tier system.
CFE has chosen the flexibility of a “campaign structure” by inviting members from multiple organizations and uniting people with a laser-like focus on eliminating the two-tier system. You are welcome to join in this campaign with CFE at the next Zoom organizing session to be held on Friday, December 8 from 1 pm to 3 pm.
For more information, please contact CFE at: CampaignforFacultyEquality@gmail.com
Written by – Donna Frankel, Jack Longmate, Margaret Hanzimanolis, David Milroy, Arnie Schoenberg and Suji Venkataraman