'No to the Status Quo!' has a certain poetic rhythm to it, even as it expresses the sense with which Contract Academics (CAS) face the obvious contradictions between 'inspiring lives of leadership and purpose' (the marketing slogan of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario) in the classroom AND the poor compensation and lack of benefits provided by the Senior Administration.
Of course, budgets are tight but that never stops them from hiring more senior administrators and managers and in syphoning off moneys from operations (where from salaries are paid) and putting them into capital and other funds and assets (such as property and buildings).
Yet, it doesn’t explain why students are paying nearly 20% more tuition this year than four years ago nor why, in spite of such tuition increases, class sizes have increased, course offerings have been cut or program options have been restricted (or are about to be - and are likely to face further such changes)?
The institutional per annum inflation of 5-8% is certainly not being caused by contract faculty teaching 52% of the students in classes, labs, tutorials and seminars. This is an increase from 38% in 2007. (Unless, they mean “institutional inflation” in terms of the numbers of students that CAS are responsible for?!)
Since the Senior Administration continues to expect us to provide the education that they keep charging students (and their parents) more and more for, and they in turn do not want to offer us anything that recognizes our ubiquity, or how integral we’ve become, to delivering the kind of student experience that the Senior Administration markets to prospective students and donors.
It is this ever increasing sense of responsibility of delivering the majority of Laurier students’ educational experience and engagement while having an ever diminishing paycheque (e.g. it’s being eaten away by parking fees, gas and food inflation, rising rents and so on).
Despite being so integral to Laurier’s educational mission (more than 50% of CAS surveyed have taught at Laurier for more than 5 years and the Admin have started giving out ‘long service’ awards [not compensation of course] for 15 years service ['hard labour'?] - for CAS as well…), we never know if we are working from one semester to the next, we never know if we have the same courses as last year or have all new preps, which increase the amount of hours even before the first class takes place - and assuming that the class isn’t cancelled at the last minute - or being called in at the last minute to teach a class!
We put out the fires - or the absences in course provision - and at a moment’s notice. None of this appears to count for anything, judging by the way Senior Administrators speak of us (we’ve not talked about some of their terms they use for us and about us…maybe a later post will offer you a choice selection of their ‘pet’ phrases….).
We are passionate about teaching (as we have said in the previous post and in our posters and in the first cards in our series) and we merit respect (second series of cards), but surely you cannot expect contract faculty to keep on subsidizing the expansion of the university (why such inflated tuition fees for students, then?)?
That’s why this card says 'No to the Status Quo!' and points out that the Senior Administration only seem to offer us "lives of insecurity and marginalization".