Opinion

Re: TAUP protests lack of resources for adjuncts

A member of the university’s administration responds to a news article about TAUP’s recent protest and comments on the negotiations between the university and TAUP.

In a story in the Temple News on Feb. 28 titled, “TAUP protests lack of resources for adjuncts,” numerous misstatements were apparently made by people associated with TAUP.

For example, the story quotes TAUP Vice President Steve Newman decrying working conditions for adjuncts, specifically the lack of office space. Unfortunately, Newman ignored the fact that TAUP agreed to take the question of office space off the negotiating agenda more than two months ago.

Newman is further reported as stating that TAUP hopes 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. This strategic spin omits that the parties already have made significant progress through cooperation and compromise at the negotiating table.

TAUP’s public and media strategy is directed at motivating students and others to pressure the university to accede to TAUP’s demands notwithstanding that many would disadvantage both current adjuncts and full-time faculty. For example, one TAUP proposal would create full-time positions at the expense of 100-150 adjunct positions and would be available solely to current adjuncts, expressly excluding current nontenure track faculty members and others.

TAUP, both in The Temple News article and at the negotiating table, paints a picture of adjuncts as a “second class” faculty who have been unable to excel due to poor working conditions. The university begs to differ. Our adjunct faculty are outstanding contributors to Temple’s quality education, with or without TAUP. Temple’s competitive compensation allows Temple to recruit and retain adjuncts at a rate of 80% percent, according to TAUP’s own survey. In addition, Temple’s adjunct rate is only a floor; Temple’s schools and colleges are free to provide higher amounts and do so in many cases. Also, Temple already provides a solid health plan and subsidy for adjunct faculty. TAUP’s proposal for health benefits would have adjuncts paying a higher premium than they do now.

It has become apparent through negotiations that Temple provides, either by policy or practice, much of what TAUP has requested. Many of the agreements reached have been as a result of TAUP’s recognition of this fact, regardless of the rhetoric at the Bell Tower.

In the current negotiations, Temple has been committed to a contract that includes and honors Temple’s adjunct faculty, while continuing to support and ensure the needs of Temple’s full-time faculty. Temple will continue to work with TAUP openly, honestly and with due regard for all Temple faculty and the best interests of our students. Temple asks TAUP to do the same.

Sharon Boyle is the associate vice president for Human Resources and chief negotiator on the university’s negotiation team.

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