Monday, February 20, 2017

How do I exploit thee? Let me count the ways

by Caprice Lawless     
          Our advocacy work on behalf of faculty may seem to be eclipsed, at present, by national events, but the stellar AAUP members in our Colorado Community College System (CCCS) Chapters, befriended now by scores of authors, activists, lawmakers and organizers around the country, tirelessly persist, in this, the Age of Persistence.
          It looks as though our request for a legislative audit has been successfully railroaded by those under the dome who are opposed to social justice. Those of  you outside Colorado may be interested to know that in November, Colorado voters determined that an aged statute legalizing slavery in Colorado, in certain circumstances was worth saving and so it stands. We have many downtown who ARE dedicated to social justice, but they are in the minority, at least for now.
          When you understand that so many in Colorado eye slavery as a useful employment model, it makes it easy for the high rollers in our system to cast those of us asking for a living wage as less than grateful, I suppose. Paging Karl Marx, Charles Dickens, Victor Hugo and Upton Sinclair.
          Meanwhile, in the rapidly corporatizing 13-college system of community colleges, communicating with peers grows more difficult by the day. Our once friendly and spacious mail room, its walls lined with big faculty mailboxes, has been replaced by a wall of slots into which we are allowed to leave a folder or two, under the watchful eye of a staffer, but never much more and AAUP items are strictly verbotten. All the shabby and endearing bulletin boards crammed with evidence of community and life have been removed. They were replaced with new, smaller bulletin boards, postings for which must be approved by the vice president. Furthermore, the individual presidents at the 13 colleges, it appears, have determined that the AAUP is a so-called "outside group" and so we are not allowed to set up a table to pass along literature about the AAUP, without first paying a hefty "table" fee of $50 and then showing proof of a liability policy, should someone trip over a chair or sprain an ankle. Those policies run about $200/per event, thus effectively killing any presence of the AAUP on our college campuses.
         It is in this Orwellian environment that we filed a Colorado Open Records Act Request in early January, to get a bit of the information that is never made available to the public in our increasingly non-transparent public institution.
          Briefly, here's a breakdown on the categories of employment by headcount (not by FTE).
          From our AAUP 2017 Colorado Open Records Act Request, we have learned that, of the 12,590 CCCS employees:
   • 6,831 are administrators, professional-technical, classified, hourly or student employees;
   • 4,613 are adjunct faculty
   • 1,146 are full-time faculty
   • 80% of all faculty are adjunct faculty
   • Only 9% of its total employees are full-time faculty
   • More than half its employees are not faculty
          Notably, salaries at the top continue to rise. See the chart at the bottom of  this pdf that we received from CCCS headquarters in response to our CORA Request.
          Now that non-faculty outnumber all faculty in our college system, it is no wonder that the most recent vision statement was created without even one faculty member present. Given the abysmal state of affairs for the profession of teaching in the CCCS, it is yet the latest example of poetic injustice.
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