September 16, 2019 | 62° F

Molloy issues apology to PTLs for previous 'supply and demand' comment

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 At a town hall earlier this semester, Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy made remarks on how if part-time lecturers did not want to work, there would be others to replace them. In a letter to The Daily Targum yesterday, he apologized and said they were essential to classes at the University. 

Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy has provided to The Daily Targum an apology to part-time lecturers (PTLs) for his previous comments, where he said: “If (PTLs) don’t want to do this, they need to get another job. There are probably other people who can fill the role, so it’s sort of like supply and demand," at a town hall the Targum reported on earlier this semester. 

“I want to apologize for my recent remarks regarding PTLs. They conveyed a lack of respect that left a wrong impression with many in the Rutgers community. I want to make it crystal clear that I respect and value our PTLs who are essential to the smooth functioning of our instructional programs. Our students rely on them, as do we. They are a very important and valued part of our Rutgers community, and it was never my intention to imply otherwise,” Molloy said. 

The apology was initiated after a letter was sent to the Targum and Molloy’s office from Robert Scott, an associate professor and undergraduate program director for the Department of Anthropology, who said the comments were “disrespectful" and "an affront to the part of the Rutgers community that teaches 30% of all undergraduate courses.” 

"I am glad Chancellor Molloy recognizes his remark conveyed disrespect. I encourage him to take the next step of meeting with diverse PTLs like the colleagues I mentioned in my letter," Scott said in response to Molloy's apology. "I ask Chancellor Molloy (to) join the effort for a fair contract for PTLs with a salary of $7,250 per three-credit class, greater job security and health benefits. PTLs need the kind of respect conveyed not by just words but also by meaningful actions."

Rutgers’ PTLs are in contract negotiations that have been ongoing since the Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) began negotiations more than 13 months ago. PTL negotiations are also sponsored by the AAUP-AFT, according to its website

Teresa Politiano, president of the PTL Faculty Chapter and PTL in the School of Communication and Information, said in an email to the Targum, "I represent more than 3,000 part-time faculty members. We conduct ourselves with dignity and respect every day, despite that we earn the lowest pay of all faculty, despite that we do not receive a penny’s worth of health benefits, despite that we have zero job security. We welcome Chancellor Molloy’s newfound respect for those of us who perform the core work of the university. We urge him to join our fight and to remember that respect equals fair wages; respect equals job security, and respect equals access to health care."

The Targum reported last week that an AAUP-AFT full-time faculty strike had been averted after a tentative deal was agreed upon. The deal gives 3% raises for the first three years and a 2.5% raise for the fourth and final year. The deal will also establish a process for salary inequity, longer term appointments for non-tenure track faculty and increased diversity hiring. 

"We are continuing to negotiate in good faith and on a regular basis with the remaining unions," said Dory Devlin, senior director of University News and Media Relations in regard to PTL contract negotiations.

Brendan Brightman

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