Faculty members at SUNY New Paltz, whose salaries have stagnated for years, are determined to take action. Thus far, the departments of Anthropology, Art History, Educational Studies, Elementary Education, Library, Sociology, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies have unanimously passed a Resolution for Fair Pay, and more are expected to follow suit in the coming days.
The resolution calls for the College to award raises to those who had previously been recommended for discretionary salary increases (DSI) in 2011 and 2012. The measure also supports a higher starting salary for adjuncts, over 200 part-time lecturers who teach a substantial number of introductory and specialized courses at the College.
According to UUP chapter President Peter D.G. Brown, pay for adjuncts has plummeted by 49% since the 1970s, when adjusted for inflation. At its Delegate Assembly earlier this month, United University Professions (UUP) overwhelmingly supported a $5K Campaign to pay adjuncts a minimum starting salary of $5,000 per three-credit course.
“This is an intolerable situation,” Brown said. “Faculty morale has never been lower in the 42 years that I have been at the College. People are very demoralized, angry and frustrated. Many younger faculty members are actively looking for jobs elsewhere, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to hire good faculty to come and work under these depressing conditions.”
Because the state’s previous contract with the union (UUP) expired in July 2011 and a new one was not in place until July 2013, employees were not paid any DSI during that period. The Resolution for Fair Pay also calls for adjusting the workload of 75 full-time lecturers, whose teaching load is higher at New Paltz than at any of the other comparable colleges in SUNY.
Employees saw their paychecks shrink even further this fall with the imposition of unpaid furlough days and higher mandated premiums for health insurance. According to Brown, “While ignoring the deplorable situation of its current employees, this administration evidently has plenty of money to hire new faculty and lavishly reward former administrators. This is truly an intolerable situation!”
Departments that have passed this Resolution for Fair Pay at SUNY New Paltz:
Anthropology, Art History, Educational Studies, Elementary Education, Library, Sociology, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies.
This Resolution has also been endorsed by the Student Senate of the Student Association of SUNY New Paltz.