A location in the mall is recommended for the displaced college seal.
By REBECCA SALINAS
The district needs to contribute 6.4 percent of compensation to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas to keep adjuncts, Jerry Townsend, Adjunct Faculty Council chair and media communications adjunct, said at Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting.
A new rule change states adjunct faculty members teaching more than 7.4 semester hours will be required to contribute 6.4 percent of their compensation to the Teacher Retirement System. Additionally, the Alamo Colleges will be required to contribute 6.4 percent of compensation. President Robert Zeigler sent an email to all faculty, stating the three options are to hire more adjuncts, have adjuncts teach more than 7.4 hours with justification or cancel classes.
Townsend said he wants the district to pay their contribution and keep adjuncts teaching more than 7.4 hours, since the district was able to come up with money for raises. Staff and administration received a 2 percent raise, Chancellor Bruce Leslie received a 7 percent raise and faculty raises range from 1.65 percent to 14.55 percent.
Math Professor Gerald Busald said, “It’s amazing how we can find money for certain things.”
Townsend said he estimated that $300,000 will be the total contribution the district would have to make if they decide to keep adjuncts teaching 7.5 hours.
Psychology Chair Thomas Billimek said, “Even if it’s an estimate, what is going to be the cost if we do have to pay that amount, which I am for, versus what happens if we don’t.”
Townsend said he wants to talk to Dr. Robert Vela, vice president of student affairs and interim vice president of academic affairs, to see how many adjunct faculty members would be hired.
Townsend said then they could get a better estimate on how much the college would have to pay. He said he estimated that there are about 100 faculty members affected by the new change.
Busald said adjunct professors will not be willing to go through the trouble of commuting here if they are only going to work for six hours.
“We’re going to lose adjuncts because of this policy,” Busald said.
He said some adjuncts would opt out of teaching 7.5 or more hours because they would not want to contribute, but if adjuncts cooperate, then they would be “connected” to the college.
Townsend said some departments, like math, will not have trouble replacing adjuncts since there are a lot of math professors.
He said it would be unethical if the college has to pick and choose what adjuncts will be able to teach 7.5 hours.
“From an ethical point of view, that is just absolutely wrong, and from a legal point of view, I don’t think you can defend it either,” Townsend said. He said he wants to show Zeigler and the Alamo Colleges board of trustees that he has support in his favor of having the district pay their contribution.
“I don’t think there would be any question, that that’s the right thing to do,” Townsend said. “These are people that are depending upon this district, this college for income to live on.”
Larry Rosinbaum, Faculty Senate chair and business professor, said future problems will be departments fighting over the same adjuncts.
Political science Professor Suzanne Martinez said department chairs should have gotten the word out to faculty members as well because some adjuncts did not know.
Billimek said if he does not have enough professors, then he is going to start canceling classes.
“That’s too bad.” Billimek said. “I’ll cancel it because I won’t have anyone else to teach it.”
He said they have to presume there will be “adequate resources” when planning for the spring semester.
Martinez said another thing to take into consideration is the long time it takes to hire faculty members.
Rosinbaum said he would talk with Leslie when the Super Senate meets with him.
He said Leslie canceled their meeting this month and the senate is trying to reschedule.
Townsend said he contacted Richard Moore, director of Texas Community College Teachers Association, which was also blindsided by the issue. Moore said he would contact Townsend when he got more information.
He will send a resolution to Leslie about the support he has from the college.
Librarian Celita DeArmond said she will go around and get signatures.
In other news, kinesiology Chair Bill Richardson said a design is being made for the placement of the college seal.
Richardson said the seal will be on the west side of Moody Learning Center and it will be on a brick base with a slanted top.