TL;DR: Rutgers has more than enough money to give students free COVID testing; provide adjunct faculty with better pay and job security; meet student demands; and hold itself accountable to all the communities that make it what it is today. Follow The Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union on Instagram, Twitter (@ruaaup_ptl), and Facebook to stay in the loop and please reach out and let us know if you are interested in organizing with us!
Hello Students and Alumni,
My name is Anjali, and I am a 2021 Rutgers graduate working as an organizer with the Adjunct Faculty Union. The Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union (PTLFC-AAUP-AFT) is a union of adjunct professors (also known as Part-time Lecturers or PTLs) across the New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden campuses. We are writing to you in order to build lines of communication with student communities.
What is an adjunct professor? Each semester, roughly 1,300 PTLs teach at least 30% of all undergraduate courses and hundreds more work in our professional and graduate schools. Yet, PTLs lack job security, affordable healthcare, and livable wages, often teaching at multiple universities to make ends meet. Rutgers expects and even asks adjuncts to prepare coursework, update class materials, and gear up for a semester WITHOUT PAY and without confirmation of their appointment. This means that they may spend their entire summer unsure of if their contract will continue in the fall. Learn more about adjunct working conditions by checking out our attached flyer and visiting our new website.
I first got involved with the PTL union when Rutgers administration laid off over 1,000 employees during the pandemic, including staff, workers, grad students, student workers and roughly 400 adjunct professors. The English department, where I was a student, was hit particularly hard: classes were cut, and many faculty were laid off. We had fewer course offerings and larger class sizes, yet we still paid the same tuition. To top it off, while declaring this false financial emergency, Rutgers administration spent almost 1.6 million dollars to hire Jackson-Lewis, a union-busting law firm, to enforce these terrible measures.
Learning about the behind-the-scenes workings of the university made me realize how important it is to redefine our school spirit to mean being in solidarity with the people and places that make our Rutgers experience meaningful. Otherwise, our tuition money—and the work of our incredible student organizations—will be used by the administration to market corporate agendas that disregard employees, students, and the communities that surround Rutgers.
- This year, Rutgers has denied vaccinated students Covid testing and refused to record the cases that they don’t test. This has left campus community members scrambling to find outside testing options, as well as responsible for notifying both peers and professors about symptoms. Not only does Rutgers have the money to provide testing for all, but they haven’t yet spent the federal money granted to them for Covid and student relief.
- Meanwhile, the University funneled half a billion dollars into its athletics program landing $265 million in debt—and it’s still in the red. Rutgers reported their loans as revenue, violating NCAA guidelines, and then evaded public record requests until they were finally sued by the Coalition of Rutgers Unions (CRU). How is Rutgers financing this massive debt? A good portion comes out of mandatory student fees (about $400 per student in New Brunswick) and taxpayers’ pockets. To learn more check out our organizing toolkit for resources and action items about the athletics scandal!
Abuses like these are only possible when we do not have dialogue across our communities, when we do not swap stories, and when we do not organize for a holistically more just and transparent university. I am hoping to make the stories and demands of adjunct faculty more visible to students and to build relationships with students/student orgs and hear about the issues that students are concerned about.
Our PTL union believes that Rutgers students deserve better. Please reach out if you would like to be involved with us!
To stay in the loop, please follow us on Instagram and Twitter (@ruaaup_ptl), check out our Facebook page, and reply to this email with any questions or feedback.
Student Outreach Organizer, Rutgers Adjunct Faculty Union