Keep adjuncts informed

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Adjuncts who feared they would not be able to teach more than 7.4 semester hours in the spring semester have been given a reprieve — at least for now.

President Robert Zeigler said Oct. 31 that the district will make a 6.4 percent contribution to the Teacher Retirement System for adjunct faculty teaching more than 7.4 semester hours in the spring.

The adjuncts will have to match that contribution as well.

On Sept. 26, Chancellor Bruce Leslie announced to all faculty members that the TRS rule required retirement contributions for adjuncts who teach half of a full-time load.

On Sept. 27, Zeigler sent an email proposing three options for this college: Hire more adjuncts, keep faculty teaching 7.5 hours or more with justification or cut classes.

Many feared the college could not afford to pitch in its share and that adjuncts teaching multiple classes would have to settle for a reduced course load. Some would not be able to afford the cut in pay and would seek positions elsewhere.

Jerry Townsend, Adjunct Faculty Council chair, voiced concerns about the rule at the Oct. 3 Faculty Senate meeting and Oct. 9 Adjunct Faculty Council meeting and was planning to speak during the citizens-to-be heard section of the Alamo Colleges regular board meeting Oct. 30.

Townsend said he was informed of the decision at the regular board of trustees meeting; however, Zeigler said the decision for the district to pay the 6.4 percent contribution was made around a month ago.

While it’s great that the problem was resolved temporarily, an apparent miscommunication kept that information from getting to the people it affects the most.

The Adjunct Faculty Council and Faculty Senate should have been kept up to date on the issue so they could allay the concerns of faculty.

No one wants to sacrifice loyal adjuncts whose classroom performance merits their being assigned multiple classes.

And certainly, students don’t want classes cut.

So let’s hope the administration realizes the value of ponying up the extra money for adjuncts’ retirement in the spring — and continues to do so.

That would send a clear message.

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