Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Senator John Kefalas meets with the Campus Instructor Coalition on the Larimer Campus

By Joe Schicke, Co-chair of FRCC Larimer’s Campus Instructor Coalition

           As co-chairs of the Campus Instructor Coalition (CIC), the adjunct organization of Front Range Community College’s Larimer Campus, Hollie Kopp and I make regular efforts to reach out to adjunct allies in the community. Recently, we were able to sit down with Colorado State Senator John Kefalas. Senator Kefalas listened intently as we described the life of an adjunct and some of our specific concerns we have. We expressed our apprehension about the Affordable Care Act and how it may affect adjuncts’ class loads. We want to make sure that our institution does not our cut hours in order to avoid having to pay for health care.

           Kefalas had already started to investigate this issue before our meeting, and one of his colleagues at the Colorado Health Institute unearthed the CCCS Benefits manual which states that any “regular employee” who teaches the equivalent of a “part time load” is eligible for benefits. Kefalas suggested we learn from our administrators how this language applied to adjunct before he pursued the matter further. Hollie and I will be working on that in the coming weeks and will report back to Kefalas so that he may take further measures.
Senator Kefalas also urged us to strengthen our “power wheel” as he called it. He applauded our efforts at developing a relationship with Colorado Adjuncts and our plans to form a Front Range chapter of the AAUP, but urged that we also make contact with the Colorado AFT, Ray Hogler at CSU, Steve Mumme from the AAUP, Chair of the House Education committee Millie Hamner, and Colorado Commission on Higher Education board member Evie Hudak. Lastly, Senator Kefalas reminded us of an upcoming meeting that he scheduled with Larimer Campus VP Bruce Walthers, and asked us to consider what Hollie and I would like him to discuss with VP Walthers at that meeting. All in all, it was a great meeting, and it is encouraging to know that we have Colorado Adjunct allies in the Senate working for the citizens of this state.