More college faculty are working “part-time,” but they don’t always earn enough to cover basic necessities like food, clothing and rent. Many universities, just like profitable corporations, can afford to raise pay dramatically, but they choose not to.
Our economy is way out of balance, and it’s not only happening in restaurants and airports—people are struggling at campuses all across the country—and it isn’t ok. On November 10, thousands of faculty took to the streets to say that we need to reset our priorities at colleges, universities, and in corporations across the country.
In dozens of cities, including—Boston, New York, Jacksonville, Chicago, Durham and Seattle—faculty took part in massive protests outside city halls with fast-food, home care, child care, and other workers to demand that elected leaders nationwide stand up for all underpaid people.
Perhaps nowhere is the need for change in higher education more real than it is in North Carolina. Margaret Spellings, a name all too familiar to those of us in education, is the embodiment of corporatization of higher education. She was selected by the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors as the new UNC president, behind closed doors, without transparency or faculty input last month.
Altha Cravey teaches at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She said, “Today we stand together with the Fight for 15 movement for the human logic and not the corporate logic. Whether its the fast food, childcare, or higher education, we stand together across different industries to emphasis that we will not accept the short term corporate logic, but a long term and lasting vision.”
The Nov. 10 nationwide fast-food strike and city hall protests are part of the growing political engagement by the Fight for $15, a group of workers BuzzFeed said, “could make up a powerful new voting bloc,” and the Associated Press said is showing, “increasingly potent political muscle.”
“I am a Massachusetts native, from a working class family, said Pat Davidson who teaches part-time at Northeastern University in Boston. “I was the first in my extended local family to have an opportunity to graduate from college. Today I’m here in solidarity with the fast food workers on strike and with all low-wage workers demanding that in the richest country on earth, no one who works full-time should live in poverty.”