University students and faculty protest non-tenure track working conditions

Following a Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services ruling, 75 students and faculty rallied near Northrop Friday to support non-tenure track faculty.

Lecturer William Banks speaks to protesters on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 at Northrop Plaza. Student coalition Differences Organized gathered to protest the treatment of contingent faculty.

Chris Dang

Lecturer William Banks speaks to protesters on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 at Northrop Plaza. Student coalition Differences Organized gathered to protest the treatment of contingent faculty.

Layna Darling and Olivia Johnson

Holding signs that read “Connected Through Contingency” and “Stronger Together,” around 75 students and faculty members gathered outside Northrop Auditorium Friday to support the University’s non-tenured faculty.

The demonstration began with students walking out of their morning classes; at noon students and faculty gathered at Northrop Plaza to rally for better conditions for the University’s non-tenured faculty — like teaching specialists and lecturers.

Planned and organized by the student coalition Differences Organized, the protest came days after a ruling by the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services, which will include non-tenure track staff members in a faculty union at the University.

“Unions empower them to stand up,” event organizer and Ph.D. student Joanna Nunez. “There is strength in numbers.”

Global Studies student Tori Dylla said she was at the rally to help give faculty more options.

“I think it is unfair that they have little to no job security,” Dylla said.

Kong Pha, a graduate student studying American Studies, said he thinks non-tenured faculty deserve more stable jobs.

“I’ve always been interested in labor fairness,” Pha said. “This is just another instance of injustice.”

The rally featured speakers from several slivers of the contingent faculty spectrum, including German, Scandinavian, and Dutch lecturer William Banks.

“In spite of the fact that my classes are fully-enrolled, every May I am fired,” said Banks, who has been a University faculty member for six semesters. “I’m happy to be here to show students what it is like for many of their instructors.”