Faculty protest for salary increase, fairer contracts
Rutgers staff and faculty demanded to have their voices heard this year during protests for higher salaries and better treatment.
Faculty and staff protested at a Senate meeting in September with complaints about a slow contract negotiation process and Rutgers’ compensation policies, according to an article in The Daily Targum.
University President Robert L. Barchi objected to claims that Rutgers treats its faculty poorly. He reminded the crowd that Rutgers professors’ salaries are in the “upper tier” of the American Association of Universities.
In light of the criticism that the University has a bloated administration, Barchi said Rutgers was in the bottom 10 percent in terms of the ratio between administrators and students.
“We have really good people in those jobs, because if they miss a ball, there will be no one to back them up,” he said.
David Hughes, a professor in the Department of Anthropology, suggested the funding for professors’ salaries should come from the University’s spending on athletics.
Lucye Millerand, president of the Union of Rutgers Administrators, said many union members have had a salary freeze for the past two years.
In October, members of the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers stood in the Douglass Student Center to protest for fair contracts, according to article in The Daily Targum.
About 40 AAUP-AFT members chanted, “Rutgers is for education, we are not a corporation” and “What do we want? Contracts! When do we want them? Now!”
Sherry Wolf, the lead organizer of AAUP-AFT, said corporate interests are trying to turn a public university into a “Wal-Mart of education.”
“We’re not a knowledge factory,” she said. “We are a university.”
The protesters held picket signs with the hashtag #ReclaimingRutgers, a message about taking the University back from corporate interests, Wolf said.
Wolf said the goal of the protest was to develop a new negotiated contract by November because some professors have not seen salary increases in years.
Mark West, a professor in the Department of Psychology, said the University invests a lot of money in areas like football and construction. He said the Board of Governors does not show appreciation for the faculty, on which they deeply depend.
Underpaid and disregarded faculty negatively affects students, he said.
If the University faculty does not receive decent pay, offices and time to think, students get cheated out of what they are paying, Wolf said.