http://www.dnews.com/story/local/49373/ Moscow-Pullman Daily News Online
By Yesenia Amaro, Daily News staff writer
Posted on: Saturday, February 20, 2010
Judy Meuth said the jobs of employees working at Washington State University on a temporary basis or on a contract should be protected to some degree during times of budget cuts.
"These set of faculty have rights and should be considered core faculty," said the clinical associate professor. "We need to have protection."
Meuth is the co-president of the WSU chapter of American Association of University Professors. The organization is bringing a prominent national faculty advocate to speak at the university Monday.
Gary Rhoades, general secretary for the national AAUP, will give a presentation titled "Gaining Public Support for Higher Education in an Era of Corporatization."
The event will take place at 4:30 p.m. inside the Bundy Reading Room in Avery Hall. Rhoades is an advocate of the rights of faculty, adjunct faculty and graduate student employees.
Meuth said contract faculty and staff "are much more likely to be seen as somebody who can be removed" without some procedures set in policy. She said that makes the budget situation "more precarious."
Meuth said she hopes faculty, staff and graduate student employees will gain more information to work with from Rhoades' visit. She said he has done national research at how other universities treat their contingent faculty, which in many cases is different than how they are treated at WSU because contingent faculty have more protection at other institutions.
"I think that one of the things that Gary and the AAUP really look at is how contingent faculty are critical to the university and the university's mission," Meuth said.
WSU professor Charlotte Omoto, co-president of the WSU chapter of AAUP, said WSU and other universities across the nation are hiring more non-tenure and non-tenure-track faculty, and "they don't have much job security, and they don't have a good pay."
"There are other cuts coming down the pipe, and we really have to work on faculty rights," she said. "Not only for the sake of faculty, but for education."
Omoto said she hopes Rhoades' visit to WSU will help bring more transparency at the university. She said many times faculty are told not to speak about certain information.
She said, for example, faculty in the committee currently analyzing the potential transfer of the School of Molecular Biosciences from the College of Sciences into the College of Veterinary Medicine have been told not to share anything with other faculty.
"We are faculty, we care about education and we are really smart. We shouldn't be told to shut up," she said.
She said she also hopes it will create more faculty shared governance.
"It's really sad what has happened to the climate of shared governance of the university. It's like, all gone," she said.
Rhoades also will host a question-and-answer session for faculty and graduate students regarding higher education employment issues, among other concerns. The sessions will take place in Neill 416 as follows: 10 a.m. noon for faculty, 1:30-3 p.m. for graduate students and 3-4 p.m. for faculty and graduate students.
Yesenia Amaro can be reached at (208) 882-5561, ext. 237, or by e-mail at email@example.com.