Faculty join national movement at symposium

On Saturday, dozens of Duke contingent faculty joined with faculty from across the state in Raleigh for the North Carolina Faculty Symposium. Read the full press release below:

North Carolina Faculty Join National SEIU/Faculty Movement at Symposium

Statewide event comes during landmark faculty union campaign at Duke and a day after UNC President is named.

RALEIGH, N.C. — On Saturday, over 100 faculty from North Carolina colleges and universities across the state met in Raleigh to discuss the future of higher education in Symposium group photo the state and how to reverse the trends that have marginalized professors at both public and private universities. The day-long symposium came as Duke University faculty are building support to form a union with SEIU Faculty Forward, and one day after the University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors selected a former member of the board of University of Phoenix’s parent company, Margaret Spellings, to be the next UNC President.

“We’re working to raise standards at Duke to benefit our own students, but also to help turn things around statewide. Our system of higher education is broken, and it’s exciting to be part of a movement that’s working to reverse the trend toward corporate universities,” said Duke faculty member Fred Raimi.

Part-time and non-tenure track faculty are now the majority of faculty at our colleges and universities and their numbers continue to increase. At the same time, revenues and tuition have increased steadily over the last two decades while spending on instruction has declined – and it’s faculty and their students who are suffering as a result.

IMG_0794On Saturday, faculty from ECU, NCCU, UNC Chapel Hill, NCSU, Duke University and several more came together in the midst of a crisis in higher education that affects students and faculty. Contrary to our state’s constitution, students are being priced out of a college degree in the UNC System. The average in-state tuition at UNC schools has gone up 122 percent in ten years.

While students are paying more, the state is spending 23 percent less on higher education than before the great recession, nearly $3,000 less per student, adjusted for inflation. Nearly half of all UNC faculty do not have access to tenure, an increase of 166% in ten years. Twenty-two percent of all adjunct faculty are participating in some sort of government assistance programs.

The good news is that faculty in North Carolina are uniting to reverse these trends.

East Carolina University Professor Zach Robinson said, “We’re coming together as faculty, parents, and students to sound the alarm because education is a human right, and it’s guaranteed under our state constitution. Forward together, not one step back.”


Faculty Forward is a project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), home to over 37,000 unionized college and university faculty who have won improvements in pay, job security, evaluation processes, and access to benefits.


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