Last Thursday, February 25, the District offered a counter proposal to the CCFF’s Assignment Article, which had been presented to them on November 5, 2015. The document they presented was the CCFF’s initial proposal but altered. Some sections were deleted, some struck-through, and what was left had been transcribed to a legal document. As legal documents have, it had numbered lines of text for easy reference: a total of 1331 lines on 32 pages. Of the 1331 lines, 813 had been struck-through. So, about 60% of the District’s counter proposal looks like this
5.11.1 Duties and Responsibilities: The department chair shall provide leadership to the department and shall assist the dean/immediate supervisor.
At essence, 60% of the CCFF proposal struck-through. Dismissed.
Other sections had been deleted. Consider the CCFF’s proposal for Part-Time faculty vis-à-vis the District’s response.
As you can see, the CCFF part-time faculty proposal is innocuous enough – a minor change in policy to grant the part-time faculty a modicum of job security. The change would be imperceptible to the District, utterly cost-free. Yet, for part-time faculty, knowing that they would be protected against an arbitrary or capricious dismissal is huge.
Yet the District could not say “Yes” to this.
Never mind the hours (most uncompensated) Kimberly Rosenfeld and others put into crafting the Assignment Article, never mind the hours of discussion among the CCFF leadership to refine the proposal, never mind the article’s inherent reasonableness and wisdom and fairness and propriety, never mind the 13 years without a contract, never mind the fact that part-time faculty work without benefits and for paltry pay, couldn’t the District just offer some small gesture of gratitude, some sign of acknowledgement, some utterly painless but munificent “Thank you” to part-time faculty?
It took more effort to remove that section than it would have just to leave it in.
Some years ago while I was teaching as a lecturer at UC Irvine, I handed in my winter quarter grades to the secretary in the Composition Office, turned to check for my spring assignment in my mail box, and found that my name was not there. I touched the box that had been mine. No, that was not my name. My name was nowhere. Gone – as if I didn’t exist. As if I hadn’t existed. It was, of course, the university’s way of telling me that I had been laid off. It took my knees some moments to remember who I was and how to walk. How was I going to tell my wife? How were we going to pay for rent, for gas, for groceries for three boys?
Getting laid off can be as traumatic as losing a spouse. Some liken the psychological effects to PTSD. Seeing that proposed section for part-time faculty deleted from the District’s counter proposal and seeing so much CCFF work dismissed with strike-throughs brought back that day in front of my former mail box, that same indelible, knee-buckling dread.
There is, of course, the chance that the District may reconsider the deletion. But for now, security deferred is security denied.
We do not have to treat one another like this.