July 18, 2018 | ° F

Protestors take stand at Board of Governors meeting

Photo by Dimitri Rodriguez |

Faculty members and University students alike called for better pay for adjunct professors outside yesterday's Board of Governors meeting at Winants Hall on the College Avenue campus.

Chants of “what do we want? Respect. What’s outrageous? Adjunct wages,” filled the air as the board voted to begin their meeting behind closed doors.

In the course of the event, the protestors described the state of affairs regarding the salary of part-time lectures (PTLs) as “shameful.” Many cited the statistic that a mere 0.6% of the Rutgers budget is allocated to compensating the individuals who teach an estimated 40% of the classes at the University.

The University budget was more than a set of numbers, said David Hughes, a professor in the Department of Anthropology and president of the Rutgers chapter of the AAUP-AFT.

“It is a moral manifesto," he said.

He said the AAUP-AFT had asked the board's chairs for the opportunity to speak at the meeting, but was denied.

While faculty protestors kept their distance, several students interrupted the meeting to support their instructors.

The four students were escorted out of the meeting.

After the meeting was made open to the public later in the day, University President Robert L. Barchi congratulated the 2015 Rutgers University – Newark Debate Team for their accomplishments.

According to the Rutgers University – Newark website, the team ranked no. 1 nationally out of the northeast for the third year in a row.

Felicia McGinty, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, spoke about substance abuse on the New Brunswick campus and Rutgers' efforts to combat drug use.

"(The University initiative is) the gold standard in the country," Barchi said.

The University of Michigan found nearly 23 percent of its students reported using illegal drugs within the past 30 days, McGinty said.

“That study also notes one out of 17 high school students admitted using marijuana daily or near daily," she said.

8,300 people were accepted to hospitals for drug use in the past year, in the state of New Jersey, she said. About 17 percent of Rutgers students reported using marijuana.

The University has several drug treatment programs including: the Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), Recovery House and Marijuana 101, an online educational program, which requires a fee of $35.

Vice President for University Communications and Marketing Kim Manning began sharing details about the University's 250th anniversary celebration.

A lot of effort is going into celebrating this unique milestone, she said.

"The University’s 250th anniversary is taking place in three parts — planning, development and implementation,” she said. “We are now moving into the implementation phase.”

In honor of this historic landmark event, the school is offering an online history class about the University, she said. The class will be made available to students on all three campuses.

According to the official Rutgers website, there will be numerous events throughout the year, which students can stay informed of through monthly updates, 250.rutgers.edu and an app yet to be released.

Following discussion about the anniversary, several distinguished faculty members were recognized for their contributions to society.

Jayne Anne Phillips, the director of Rutgers University-Newark’s MFA Creative Writing Program, was named a Board of Governors Professor of English. Phillips is a dedicated faculty member and novelist who boasts numerous accolades and awards for her writing.

Mark Gregory Robson, a Professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, was also honored for his work by being named a Distinguished Service Professor.

The Board of Governors approved a number of motions including a proposed third-floor extension to the Waksman institute of Microbiology on Busch campus and the creation of a new Master of Science Degree Program within the Packaging Engineering program at the Graduate School of New Brunswick.

Before the adjournment of the first Board of Governors meeting, Alexandra Williams, a junior in the School of Arts and Sciences motioned to speak about a concern that she shares with many other students.

Williams, the Class of 2017 Student Representative, said the University has not always handled sexual assault cases in what she and many others believe to be the “best way.”

“One student admitted to committing an act of sexual assault, but was only suspended for three semesters,” she said. “He was allowed to return as soon as the woman who he assaulted was gone.”

Another example is a football player who was accused of relationship violence, but was soon thereafter allowed back on the team, she said.

“Is this really creating a safe environment?” she said. “I think we are making great progress ... but this is one area where the majority of students feels that (more can be done).”

Francesca Falzon

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