Saturday, April 12, 2014

Some legislators determine half of CCCS workforce (4,000+ faculty) are not real workers doing real work

by Caprice Lawless

         House Bill 14-1154 was defeated in the House Appropriations Committee Thursday by a 9-4 vote. Nine of the committee members chose to disregard scores of personal letters describing lives on poverty-level wages, mounting debt, working while ill, etc., that had been sent to them by part-time and full-time professors from across the many colleges within the Colorado Community College System. Instead, the nine members were influenced mightily, they reported, by six full-time, highly paid lobbyists who work at the behest of the administration and/or six-figure-earning college presidents from whom, they reported, they were given the truth about the situation. 
          Many of the dissenters on the committee, when they weren't cracking jokes to one another or chatting even while Rep. Fischer was trying to explain a fine point another committee member had posed to him, enjoyed nearly an hour of grandstanding about how fervently they supported the exploitation of the professoriate at work in the community colleges. Several pointed out that teaching part-time at the community college was not, after all, a real job and that those who teach as adjunct professors should get out and find real jobs elsewhere. Some said that to pay the faculty majority a living wage would destroy the community college system and that people in their district would therefore be unable to get a college education.

          Some of the nine dissenters reported that they once worked as adjuncts, but discovered they needed to pursue, for example, careers in architecture or law, and suggested community college faculty should do the same. Some had attended community colleges in Colorado or had children who had attended them. One pointed out that he taught for a while as an adjunct, found it was too demanding, and so passed the job onto a junior partner in his firm. 

          Some who supported the measure said for the record as they cast their votes, they would be willing to champion a similar bill in the next legislative session.
Lobbyists gathering in the foyer following the hearing were all smiles, while leadership who had worked so hard on behalf of community college faculty and quality teaching fought back tears.