Juggling parenting, family needs, children schooling, keeping track of the health of parents and older relatives, and keeping the university running … from the increasingly cramped quarters of our homes. The past three weeks have been a great challenge, as will be the weeks ahead.
Today, let’s take a moment to exhale.
In the midst of a pandemic, our union, PSU-AAUP, has been key to remarkable accomplishments: (1) PSU’s rapid transition to emergency remote operations, (2) mutual support for all faculty and academic professionals that blunted the impact of this dislocation and led to numerous fixes for administration bottlenecks and breakdown, and (3) strong support to retain the jobs of the most vulnerable academic workers in our midst, our “adjunct” colleagues, research associates and assistants on soft money, and graduate employees.
In the midst of a pandemic, our union, PSU-AAUP worked together with our sister unions PSUFA & GEU to ensure that academic workers’ needs and voices were not lost in PSU’s rapid transition to emergency remote operations. Since our last update in which we shared progress on tenure-clock pauses and course evaluation suspensions, we have two more major accomplishments to share. As a result of our advocacy and solidarity with sister academic unions:
The university committed $50,000 to a hardship fund for some of the most vulnerable academic workers, our “adjunct” colleagues
Enrollment minima for courses were relaxed, minimizing course closures impacting “adjunct” faculty.
PSU committed to no cuts to research associates and assistants on soft funding, and not cuts to graduate research and teaching assistants.
We also need to pause and celebrate the following:
Through our concerted effort, we have pulled off something that in retrospect feels like a miracle: In the midst of a pandemic and massive disruptions, we have kept our students. As of today, enrollment, as measured in student credit hours (SCH), is higher than projections PSU made for Spring term before COVID-19. Our education, our virtual public square, is providing a refuge for thousands.
- We are proud of what PSU AAUP has done these last weeks and our work continues!
- As a union, we are operating fully remotely, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Everything has moved online: advocacy, bargaining, support, grievances, and even social events. We remain available at firstname.lastname@example.org for your ongoing and emergent needs. Keep an eye open for creative PSU-AAUP social events during spring term to keep us connected.
Now that we’ve saved Spring term, we return to the bargaining table.
Bargaining resumes tomorrow, Friday, April 3— virtually!
Due to the nature of virtual bargaining, we are limiting attendees to AAUP members only. Please look for the Zoom invite in a newsletter from PSU-AAUP on April 2nd.