Yesterday I testified in front of the CUNY Board of Trustees. Adjunct contracts end in February.
According to US News and World Reports, 22% of matriculating students graduate from a two year CUNY college. No time frame given. According to CUNY's internal documents, 30% of all matriculating students graduate a two year CUNY college within 8 years. 59% return. 40% withdraw. Only 1% withdraw because they have transferred.
Clearly, one cannot call these two year colleges value for money.
The community college system, rather than being the boat that rising tides lift, offers up to NYC sad souls whom leaked from their drainpipe, returned to their communities unimproved from the state in which they came. Which is, btw, the title of a document by CUNY trying to understand this phenom.
What has happened which is wrought such a phenom? I proffer some correlates. One such event is the geometric rise in administrative salaries. According to SALARY.com, the NYS average for a university chancellor ranges from $250-490,000/annum. Our chancellor, Felix Matos Rodrigues earns $670k. Beneath him, 3 exec vice chancellors, each making between $330-45-K.
Then come 6 Vice Chancellors, making $234-270K. Then 2 University Associate Vice Chancellors, making $234-265K.
In total, there are 95 listed executive positions with 11 different types of vice chancellors.
CUNY's chancellor makes 2x the NYS average. The chancellor gets housing, use of CUNY Vehicles, business expenses, university paid professional association memberships, and severance pay. Clearly, only administrative boats can be allowed to float in these tides.
Would that these high tides were available to float all the boats which sail in the good seas of CUNY.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary of a college professor is $108,330. If you calculate that within CUNY, a professor is expected to teach 9 courses a year, this parses out to $12,037/course. Currently, the amount earned is approximately $5500/course. The average yearly salary of a CUNY-adjunct is $28,000/year.
Now unlike most adjuncts, I don't want to be a f/t professor. I prefer being part-time. I earned my doctorate believing that I would spend my life teaching 1/3 of the time, consulting 1/3 of the time, and conducting research 1/3of the time.
This is what I aspire to. The reality--between hustling around teaching courses and hustling to improve my clinical base fees, I don't have time to think or write research grants or be collegial with my fellow academics and collaborate jointly on research projects which will bring greater glory to myself and more non-taxable income to CUNY. I don't have the time to create, to ideate, to write, to be a colleague. Instead, like the 40% who withdraw, I am returned to my community in an unimproved version.
How did this disjunct between administrative and professional salaries happen? All CUNY salaries, (executive, professionals, clericals), are drawn from tax-levy funds. However, a decade or so ago, administration, in collaboration with their outside consultants, drew up a plan where their salary, and their salary alone, is based on experience, degrees, academic accomplishments, and other special qualities germane to the position, performance review, and "THE MARKET REQUIREMENTS." Hence, administrative salaries skyrocketed while professional salaries remained flat. Because only admin gets the market requirements--housing allowances, CUNY vehicles, professional expenses, severance pay (if they resign/or are fired) included with their salary. Hence--market requirements.
Every 5 years, you, the CUNY Board of Trustee, revise the Executive Compensation Salary and adjust them. I ask the same for professional staff and adjuncts. Like you, we demand a pay that includes the requirements of the market. What does the markets show? NYU, New School, and Columbia all pay adjuncts over twice what CUNY does. And no, the difference is not a function of tuition. It comes from an acquiensance to the market requirements.
So, I demand for my fellow professors what the market requirements.
A base salary double from what is current--$11,000.
Raises every year and bonuses for new certificates, academic accomplishments, and "other special qualities germane to the position."
I also demand that the same way your salaries were restructured be the same way ours will be--independent agency review will draw up a new proposal.
Clearly, the board has no impetus to do so. You are like the guard who threatens Don Quixote and demands he go on his way, stating, "Don't go looking for 3 legged cats." Don Quixote, in return, freed the prisoners and yelled back, "You are the cat, the rat, and the scoundrel." I suspect few would be found to sympathize with your position. And like Don Quixote, there are homeless adjuncts. There are adjuncts who, when sick, cannot see a doctor. There are adjuncts with chronic medical conditions who cannot take their medications as required--they must make them last.
And, now that the meeting is over, I suspect it was as effective as the 2 minute hate and even less cathartic. The trustees sat there, bored, eyes skyward.
The trouble is--millionaires and billionaires don't want to share. Not here. Not now.