The Temple Association of University Professionals held a demonstration at the Bell Tower Friday to highlight issues that adjunct professors face at Temple. The organization created a mobile office designed by TAUP members to bring attention to the lack of office spaces available for adjuncts.
“I’ve been a professor at Temple for 15 years, and I’ve had instances where my students need to talk to me privately,” said TAUP Vice President Steve Newman. “They’re going through a really difficult moment in their personal lives that’s affecting their performance.”
He added that under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as FERPA, it is unethical and “possibly illegal” to talk about personal matters in shared offices, which many adjuncts are forced to use.
The mobile office will move between the Tyler School of Art and the corner Warnock Street and Montgomery Avenue, Newman said.
More than 600 part-time faculty voted to join TAUP in December 2015. Until then, TAUP represented 1,300 full-time faculty, librarians and academic professionals, like lab technicians and academic advisers, from the schools and colleges that enroll undergraduate students. The vote allowed 1,400 part-time faculty to join the union.
Friday’s event included TAUP’s Executive Committee members, who are in charge of negotiating the terms for the union’s contract, Donald Wargo and Jennie Shanker. State Rep. Chris Rabb, who was a former adjunct professor of strategic management at the Fox School of Business, was also present.
“I don’t care if you have a Ph.D. or a GED, no one deserves a poverty wage,” Rabb said. “I let my students know in 2015 that I wasn’t using the classroom as a way to get out votes or get out money, but I wanted to let them know that I was tired of being bullied, that I was tired of listening to the status quo, that I was going to be part of the solution.”
According to the 2016-17 Temple Adjunct Faculty Handbook, “resource limitations do not permit the assignment of offices, telephones [or] computers … to all adjunct faculty members. However, colleges and schools are encouraged to provide such resources to the extent possible.”
Newman said TAUP is hoping to educate students and faculty about adjuncts’ desire for a new contract, adding that they can advocate and try to persuade the administration to compromise on some issues.
“The students, because they’re paying tuition, actually have power to support the adjuncts in their campaign to get a fair contract,” said Heather Squire, a geography and urban studies second-year graduate student and member of Temple University Graduate Students Association. “They have a lot of power.”
“We can’t have second-class faculty,” Rabb said, adding that adjuncts need proper facilities and resources, and fair compensation and benefits.
He said that this would help adjuncts better fulfill student needs.
“I think the question that comes down to it is, ‘What kind of Temple do you want?’” Newman said.
Diamante Ortiz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.