Letter to the Editor: Clarion University Alum Stands with APSCUF Faculty
Sometimes it is hard to know what or whom to support; with regard to the strike currently happening in PA State Universities, I am a proud supporter of the professors’ union. A simple “they want more pay” isn’t an accurate depiction of the situation.
Tenured or full professors are advocating on behalf of adjuncts. Adjuncts are part-time or temporary professors, not assistant, associate, or full professors and they make the least money with the least benefits. In order to become a higher level professor with more experience, research hours, and published work, you have to have the benefits adjuncts do not. The state wants to increase the workload and cut the salary of adjuncts as well as cutting professional development funds. You can see where this is going. In effect, it is a weakening of the higher level education system. A quality education is at stake.
There is room, and a place for those working toward their PhD, for retired high school teachers with masters and doctorates, and for adjuncts who want to work at two or three institutions, but to increase their numbers on campuses is not a service to higher level education. If you, as a student, or your child, were to choose between colleges would you pick an institution with 30 percent adjuncts or the one with only 12 percent? Would you want your student to be at an institution with experienced professors with a wealth of professional development and research studies in their field?
All students should have the opportunity to go to an affordable college and our state system offers that with quality, but with these cuts private colleges and other states’ systems would look better to many students. I have always been proud of the PA state system and what it offers to all students and am proud of the professors who are fighting for adjuncts, education quality, and most importantly, their students. I was impressed at the quality of my professors when I returned to school, at a state school, as an adult, and I continue to be impressed by those professors. They are sticking their necks out on behalf of quality education, students, and their profession. We all should advocate for others so vociferously.
Submitted by Alicia Ridenour, Clarion University Alum
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