Ithaca College Contingent Faculty & 300 Supporters Crash Board of Trustees’ Lavish Cocktail Hour

icrallyAfter the Ithaca College administration offered an insultingly low wage increase to part-time lecturers and came unprepared to a bargaining session, the IC Contingent Faculty Union walked out – and immediately set out to organize a massive rally outside of a Board of Trustees’ lavishly catered cocktail hour. Working with a student-led group, IC Students for Labor Action, they put together an incredible photo essay which highlighted the hardships of contingent faculty members who are eligible for Medicaid, teach at three schools, and work as farmworkers over summers to make ends meet – it was even featured in the Washington Post! Over 300 faculty, students, and community supporters – including our friends in labor – came out and sent a powerful message to the administration: contingent faculty need and deserve a living wage!

Bargaining continues and we will not let up the pressure.

Check out the press coverage and read our press release below…

The Ithacan:
Ithaca Journal: &

“The heart of Ithaca College does not beat in the Peggy Ryan Williams Center. The heart of Ithaca College beats in the classroom. It beats in the learning process… in the dynamic and mutually enriching relationship between students and teachers.” – Tom Schneller, IC Contingent Faculty Union Bargaining Committee Member

Ithaca Voice:
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Ithaca Students and Faculty Hold Rally, Confront Board of Trustees at Cocktail Hour

After 12 Months of Bargaining, Students and Faculty Rallied, Demanding the College stop Stiffing Faculty Demands for Living Wage and Basic Security

ITHACA, NY — After walking out of negotiations with their administration on September 23, students, faculty, members of the Ithaca College Contingent Faculty Union/Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 200United, elected officials and community allies rallied outside a cocktail hour where the Ithaca College Board of Trustees was present today.

The committee previously rejected the administration’s request for federal mediation, arguing that the administration needs to develop serious economic proposals to address helping contingent faculty get out of poverty and attain more secure livelihoods rather than hiding behind a mediator. Furthermore, the lavish catering budget for the Board of Trustees and top administrators exemplifies Ithaca College’s wrongly prioritized spending.

Ithaca College contingent faculty member and negotiating team member Erin Francisco spoke at the rally today and said, “We walked out of negotiations almost a month ago and still haven’t received serious proposals from our administration which will help bring contingent faculty like us out of poverty and provide basic security that will allow us to plan our futures.”

Students and faculty rallying outside of the cocktail hour where the Board of Trustees was present made the point that the lavish catering budget for the Board of Trustees and top administrators, as well as the tuition dollars spent an anti-union law firm exemplifies Ithaca College’s spending priorities.

Faculty member Megan Graham, who was present and also serves on the negotiating team, added, “We’ve been at the bargaining table for over a year and our administration still doesn’t understand how important these issues are. They haven’t agreed to address faculty pay and contingency at IC, yet they are using tuition dollars to pay an expensive anti-union law firm hundreds of dollars per hour to negotiate against us, all the while holding events like this pricey cocktail hour for the Board of Trustees to attend.”

Other attendees at the rally noted that while contingent faculty pay has largely been stagnant, student tuition has more than doubled since 1999 without giving students or faculty input into how tuition dollars are allocated.

Taylor Ford, a student at Ithaca College in his senior year who has been supportive of the fight for a fair contract, said, “Our issues as students are deeply intertwined with faculty issues. Student tuition increases every year and most of us will be graduating with heavy amounts of student debt, yet the faculty who teach us can’t make ends meet. It doesn’t add up in terms of what we’re paying for.”

New York State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton also offered her support to Ithaca College’s contingent faculty, “I support the Ithaca Contingent Faculty’s struggle for a fair contract.  With student tuition rapidly increasing, it only makes sense that the faculty who teach students in our region have a voice in the governance of their college and earn enough to pay their bills.”

Nationwide and across Upstate New York, contingent faculty have been taking action to win fair wages and more security in the university system including places like Tufts University, Northeastern University, Fordham University, The College of St. Rose and the California State University System.


Faculty Forward is a project of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), home to 40,000 unionized college and university faculty who have won improvements in pay, job security, evaluation processes, and access to benefits. SEIU Local 200United represents 1,200 contingent faculty members across Upstate New York and Vermont.

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