How To Treat Adjuncts by Patrick Iber

Here is an essay recently published in Inside Higher Education that helps us begin to break down the complex changing nature of academic labor, evidenced by the growing number of non-tenure adjunct faculty in our universities. Sometimes before we understand the larger issue, we have to understand the small, basic ones that have to do with sharing and respecting our common human dignity.

How to Treat Adjuncts

October 24, 2014
Patrick Iber

photo courtesy of USA Today: see

photo courtesy of USA Today: see

It is the time of year when graduate students, unemployed Ph.D.s, contingent faculty, and various rubberneckers are clogging the lanes of the internet looking for job announcements. And, in spite of improvement in certain areas of the economy, there are few to be seen….

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SDFA opposes the unilateral eviction of the Che Cafe

October 7, 2014

Chancellor Pradeep Khosla
Cc: VC Gary Matthews
VC Alan Houston
Associate VC Gary Ratcliff
UCEN Director Sharon Van Bruggen
Associated Students President
Graduate Student Association President

Dear Chancellor Khosla:

It has come to our attention that a trial is underway to evict the Che Café from its current location on campus; and that this decision was allegedly made without any prior notice or consultation of the Che Café on the part of the UCSD administration, faculty, or student-governing bodies. As UCSD faculty we are gravely concerned about this alleged development; which, if true, contradicts the policies and best practices of the university vis-à-vis the organizations, programs, and communities that provide UCSD with a living tradition and vibrant hub of student intellectual activity and growth.

The SDFA board opposes any unilateral decision to evict the Che Café; moreover, we advocate that that the university reopens negotiations with the Che Café regarding their residence at their current location on campus. We would like to solicit your response to this matter, with the expectation that our reasonable request for reopened negotiations between the administration and the Che Café is met.

As you must know, the Che Café has been a student-owned and managed cooperative with a 501©3 nonprofit organization status for the past 34 years. Several generations of UCSD alumni know this place as an all-ages venue that has welcomed internationally recognized underground and college-radio musicians and performers. On the level of popular culture, this is no small achievement. But it is on the level of student life that the Che Café’s reputation as a living satellite of college radio and world music makes itself felt. For it provides students with a safe, non-institutional space where they may creatively experience and critically reflect on the emerging influences in their lives – political, economic, social, and above all cultural – in a way and on a level that no classroom, professor, or lab can match. It is places like the Che Café – to reiterate, a student-run, 501©3 nonprofit organization and cooperative – that give the otherwise ambiguous category of “student life” substance. The Che Café also gives UCSD a sense of tradition, rootedness, and collective collaboration, which extends beyond student life and establishes ties with the cultural scenes and communities that traverse San Diego, California, and the United States.

We look forward to your speedy response.

Many thanks. Sincerely yours,

John D. Blanco, board member
Adam Burgasser, board member
Thandeka Chapman, board member
Robert Horwitz, board member
Tara Knight, board member
Jin Kyung-Lee, board member

The San Diego Faculty Association (SDFA)

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Online learning push continues in California, but with approach faculty groups appreciate

Less Prescriptive in California

Gov. Jerry Brown and State Sen. Darrell Steinberg, the Senate’s president, this year included a $50 million fund for “innovation” in the state’s budget. This has led to the development of a new awards program, one that will attract ideas for how to increase degree production significantly, allow more students to earn bachelor’s degrees within four years, and ease transfer through the state’s three public higher education systems.

Read full article [here]
by Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed

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UC Faculty Petition UC Administration To Negotiate in Good Faith with Student-Worker TA Union

The Santa Cruz Faculty Association (the SCFA, a sister chapter of the San Diego Faculty Association) invite ALL faculty — both Academic Senate members and AFT members — at ALL UC campuses to sign the petition at

Here is the SCFA’s letter introducing the petition:

Dear Colleagues,

For many of us, our teaching assistants are central to our pedagogy. They work the most closely with our students, and are most closely involved with our students’ individual progress. Our universities depend on them in many ways. As you all know, despite a series of system-wide labor actions and nearly a year of negotiating, our teaching assistants remain without a contract.

The SCFA is sponsoring a petition, to be delivered to President Napolitano, to demonstrate system-wide faculty support for a speedy resolution to teaching assistant contract negotiations. We believe that a strong showing by faculty system-wide can help make the case to the central administration that better working conditions for teaching assistants is not simply a matter between teaching assistants and the administration, but is a pressing concern for all UC faculty.

We invite ALL faculty — both Academic Senate members and AFT members — at ALL campuses to sign the petition, forward the link widely, and encourage your colleagues to sign as well.

For more information on TA labor activities and demands, please consult the TA union website at

To sign the petition please go to the petition page at:

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UC Faculty in Support of Graduate Students

Dear SDFA colleagues:

At the end of September, the current 3 year-contract of UAW 2865 representing UC Academic Student Employees (GSIs, readers and tutors) expired and ASEs are now working without a contract. UCOP Labor Relations and UAW 2865 have not yet reached an official “impasse.” But the Berkeley Faculty Association is concerned that UCOP’s last offer of a 2% rise doesn’t come close to eliminating the gap with our comparator institutions, based on a 2010 UCOP survey.  Currently the 10-month (49.5%) GSI stipend is $17,655 for an incoming student, though our campus financial aid office estimates that $21,608 is required to cover the cost of living for 9 months while the campus desired target for doctoral students is $26,000. The Report of the Taskforce on Competitiveness in Academic Graduate Student Support, adopted by UC Academic Council in June 2012, declared “rising tuition and uncompetitive stipends threaten to seriously undermine program quality” and asks that additional resources be allocated for net stipends for academic doctoral support.  On the discussion agenda of the Regents meeting this week, a report from the Committee on Educational Policy restates the situation: “It has become more difficult for UC departments and faculty to offer competitive financial support for their doctoral students.

In letters sent up to UCOP on September 16 and October 3, 33 Department Chairs at Berkeley and 21 Chairs at San Diego asked the University to raise the GSI base wage so as to enable our PhD programs to stay competitive, citing the unsustainable practice of having to top up students’ support from scarce and unpredictable resources.

Please lend your voice as a UC faculty member by signing this petition, which will be sent to Director of UCOP Labor Relations Peter Chester.

Board of the SDFA

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