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Contact: Erin FlynnOctober 5, 2020 A new satellite clerk's office is open in room 105 inside the Bernhard Center. KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Students and Kalamazoo city residents have new, expanded access to ...
The following letter was sent to the Office of the President on behalf of PIO's Executive Board on October 12, 2020. So far, we have received no response.
Dear Dr. Montgomery,
My name is Rebeca Perez Menon, and I am the President of the Professional Instructors Organization (PIO) at Western Michigan University. I have been teaching for the Family and Consumer Sciences Department since 2014. I am writing to you because as the president of PIO, I am very frustrated and disheartened with the way that WMU’s administration has handled the part-time instructors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In our capacity as contingent faculty, WMU has never offered us benefits, job security, adequate compensation, or much recognition in the past. During the abrupt transition to online-only instruction in the Spring, we worked tirelessly and put in numerous extra hours with no additional compensation to provide our students with the best education possible under the circumstances. But the treatment we have received lately has been particularly unacceptable. Many of my colleagues, despite several years of commitment and service to the university, have been laid off in an off-hand way that makes them seem disposable and fails to recognize their value to this institution and its students. I am particularly saddened by the situation with one of my laid-off colleagues. Here is a direct quote: “So, I've taught at university for the past 20 years as a part-timer (and I taught classes all through my graduate school career too). Fall semester begins tomorrow and this marks the first time in over 20 years that I haven't a single class to teach. I'm having trouble articulating how I feel about this. The classes that part-timers taught have been farmed out to tenured faculty (who, incidentally, roundly despise teaching that stuff because it's nothing that's in their area of expertise - I can't imagine they are too happy about the current situation). The way the university is supposed to function is that the tenured faculty teach courses germane to their area of expertise so they can focus on their own research . . . But the sense one gets is that Covid19 has been an excuse used to decimate part-time instructors. So, at 58 years of age, I'm suddenly out of work in the middle of a pandemic . . .” This colleague, as mentioned in the quote above, taught at Western Michigan University for twenty years. He was a highly rated professor and well loved by his students. The impact he had on countless students is immeasurable. Despite this, he never received any recognition or support from the university – not even a thank you note. This is truly unacceptable. And sadly, this is not an isolated case. Here is a partial list of other laid-off part-time instructors who have been similarly affected by WMU’s recent decisions: Steven Chamberlin, Part-Time Instructor for 20 years (Department of Comparative Religion) Doug Coulter, Part-Time Instructor for 16years (Department of Biology) Kimberly A Eberstein Hend Hegab Judith Atlee Buchanan Michelle Calco Michele L Coash Linda A. Dove Patricia Marie Leamer-Quackenbush Grace Mannion Carlos Salinas Kevin Abbott Jacqueline K Chandler Arus Harutyunyan Jessica Marie Wesel Note that this list includes only PIO officers, stewards, and other part-time faculty who registered for a recent workshop to file for unemployment; the total number of laid-off instructors is many times larger. (For example, of the 50 part-time instructors in my own department, only 20 are currently teaching.) Also, in contrast to the practice with other employee groups, it appears that terminations have been applied with no consideration of longevity or seniority. How about some recognition and compensation for all those years teaching for WMU? Due to my positions as the President of PIO and a part-time instructor, I am aware of the circumstances that Western Michigan University is going through due to COVID-19. These unprecedented times are difficult and scary for everyone, and I recognize and appreciate that you, along with other administrators and full-time faculty, have agreed to modest salary cuts. However, despite our obvious value and longstanding commitment to our students and this institution, part-time instructors at WMU have been treated especially harshly and borne very large financial, personal and professional costs that have done relatively little to ease the University’s financial situation. Going forward, we demand and expect more respect, recognition, and support from the administration at WMU. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely,
President: Rebeca Perez-Menon, Ph.D., BCBA-D Vice President of Enforcement: Doug Coulter, Ph.D. Vice President of Organizing: Steven Chamberlain, MA Communications Officer: Jasmine LaBine, MA Treasurer: Judith Buchanan, MA AFT Staff: Ian Anderson, MA ... See MoreSee Less
Mandy Lynn my coworker Mili posted this as I think she is related to Rebecca and I wanted you to see it/get connected to others if you wish.
✊ TAU stands in solidarity with you
Go get ‘em, Rebeca! It is bull$@#& how WMU has treated both part time faculty and staff during this difficult time. The enrollment numbers are definitely not as bad as projected. But the quality of teaching and the student service just took a huge hit with the layoffs. Parents of students are not happy. They will lose enrollment next year as a consequence for this behavior.
Thank you, Rebecca and PIO officers. I appreciate the firm message send on behalf all part-time instructors.
As election day approaches PIO has some yard signs provided by AFT Michigan if any of our members want some. We have been provided with signs for Gary Peters, Supreme Court candidates McCormack and Welch, and specific AFT Black Lives Matter signs.
If you would like to have any of these signs please reach out to our staff organizer, Ian Anderson, at email@example.com, or by just messaging this page! ... See MoreSee Less
Today some PIO officers and activists got a chance to sit down with some local politicians, AFT MI President David Hecker, and AFT National President Randi Weingarten to talk about some of the issues we're facing as non-tenure track instructors!