From Dr. Marni Berg
Department of Political Science
Colorado State University:
Educators across the country have likely had the most difficult and busiest second part of the school year in their careers. Instead of a thank you, or a message of job well done, many Non-Tenure Track Faculty at CSU received an e-mail telling them that the Board of Governors decided that they will no longer have contracts and will be switched to continuous appointments.
These 9 voting members of the Board of Governors for the Colorado State University system, who are appointed by the Colorado Governor, made this policy to give them ‘flexibility’ in this time of uncertainty brought on the by Covid-19. These people, in a short-sighted and injudicious move chose to inform, during finals week CSU non-tenure track faculty (NTTF) with contracts expiring in May 2020 or May 2021 that their contracts might not be renewed. They are now continuous appointments (or will be as of May 2021), meaning they are at-will and may be fired at any time. This is a back-track on gains made after the past few years to support and retain NTTF who have been employed long-term at CSU (10 semesters or more).
This decision made by the Board of Governors to allow “flexibility”, occurred across the CSU system, and directly affects many of us. For those with contracts expiring May 2020, but did not receive a letter/e-mail a year prior to the expiration of their contracts, they had their contracts extended for two years.
This choice made by the BOG, as it stands makes many of us angry, sad, scared and disheartened. For years promises have been made to us by people in the College of Liberal Arts, former President of the University, and current Chancellor Tony Frank and others that inequities in pay, lack of job security, etc. would be addressed. And, recently changes have been adopted after work done by various Faculty (TT and NTTF), Committees, the Dean’s Office, the Provost and the President. Now that can all vanish in the blink of an eye, through an ill-conceived plan by 9 members of the BOG. We are suddenly made expendable because of budget constraints brought on by the pandemic. We are being told basically that we don’t matter. We are only items in a strained budget that can easily be disposed of. It doesn’t matter that we make up approximately 40% of instructors in the classroom, that together we represent over 1,000 years of teaching experience and knowledge. We are not being thought of as valuable faculty members who have contributed 1000’s of hours of teaching, mentoring and advising to students, served on various Department, College and University Committees with little to no compensation, not to mention our service to the greater communities we serve in Fort Collins, Pueblo and on the Global Campus. We serve as Faculty Advisors for student clubs and activities. We are Committee Members on Honors’ and Masters’ Thesis Committees. We give talks in various fora to educate and answer questions the communities have about Foreign Affairs, American Politics, Conservation, Water Rights, Border Issues, Trade, etc.
We volunteer in our children’s’ schools, our places of worship, local NGOs, foodbanks, etc. We are members of the communities in which we live. We are a part of the Colorado State University System. We are sounding boards, career counselors, letter-writers and friends to our students. We are not faceless warm bodies in the classroom or budget numbers that can be cut at a moments’ notice and easily replaced when the economy recovers and the Universities’ budgets improve. We are Colleagues, We are Educators, We are part of the Community, Our Children are students (or future students) at CSU, CU, UNC, Metro State University… We are 1000s of Employees across the state of Colorado. We Matter!