By David Schilip
Some Rutgers University students may not know quite how much of their tuition is actually going to the professors that are teaching them. On April 10th, the American Association of University Professors-American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) held an event titled, “Open the Books!” where Rutgers’ budget and professor tenure were discussed.
The “Open the Books!” presentation that was put on by Professor Howard Bunsis showed that, from 2008-2013 Rutgers University had a 1% increase in tenure-track professors, a 67% increase of non-tenure-track full time professors, and a 47% increase of part-time professors.
Richard Gomes, who has been a part-time lecturer at the Rutgers-Newark Campus since 2006, and President of the Part-Time Lecturers Faculty Chapter of the AAUP-AFT, spoke about the frustrations and struggles of being considered a part-time lecturer despite teaching eight classes.
He expressed his concerns stating that since the ESL courses that he teaches are below 100-level, and are non-credited, they are not seen as full-time classes.
Gomes mentioned, “I only make about $28,000 per year lecturing at Rutgers. That is not a lot of money to live on!” He went on to say, “I have another job to support myself.”
Part-time lecturers do not receive health care benefits. Gomes has signed up for the Affordable Care Act in order to receive health insurance. Gomes referring to the presentation at the event was, “Pissed off that 79 administrators each make over $250,000 for a total of $26 million in administrative costs.” He added, “Part-time lecturers make up less than 2% of the entire Rutgers budget, and that they have no health care or job security.”
Sherry Wolf, who is part of the AAUP-AFT Rutgers staff talked about how there has been a 4% slashing in the number of tenured professors and that Rutgers is spending its budget in the wrong places, such as athletics and on administrators.
“Rutgers does not have a budget crisis, they have a distribution crisis,” Wolf said. “The ‘Open the Books!’ presentation showed that 44% of the almost $72 million sports expense comes from student fees.”
Wolf and Gomes both expressed concerns about Rutgers University cutting down on tenured professors. They both feel that being tenured gives professors academic freedoms, and more time to help their students.
Barbara Foley, who is a Ph.D. and a tenured professor in the English Department at Rutgers-Newark agreed with the importance of having a professor receive tenure. Foley spoke about how there are, “Big advantages on being tenured.” She added, “Tenured professors have more time for students, and have more academic freedoms.”
Foley continued to speak about the importance of student surveys for part-time lecturers. “PTL’s (part-time lecturers) have to rely on student surveys and if one or two students fill out negative surveys because they have a personal vendetta against the professor, that can really hurt them!”
If people would like to look at the entire PowerPoint presentation from the event at Rutgers-Newark called ‘Open the Books!’ it can be found at: http://www.rutgersaaup.org/documents/open-books-april-10-2014-presentation-professor-howard-bunsis