Bonniejean Alford, MA Comments to the BOT | July 15, 2021

Chairperson Dunn, Members of the Board, and Members of the Community, I come to you as both an individual within the community that College of DuPage serves and as an adjunct faculty member in the Sociology Department at College of DuPage greatly impacted by the last year and a half due to the fallout from the COVID-19 shutdowns. As Vice President of Policy for CODAA, I am also aware of many adjuncts in the same or worse predicament than I have been facing. 

On a personal level, I lost 2/3 of my income during the last Academic year and received only 2 classes for the upcoming fall, when for 14 years at this institution I have received 4 classes each fall and spring. I hope the classes run. All of this impacts me greatly. And yet, I stand before you as one of the lucky ones. I didn’t lose eligibility and I have been able to find some grant assistance to mitigate a part of the lost income that is directly connected to the drop in enrollment caused by the conditions of this time under COVID-19. My colleagues have already spoken more on this eligibility matter, but this is only part of the impact on a population of employees that serves our students with integrity and a great sense of duty, even in the face of their own struggles – all while wearing a smile (even behind a mask) and remaining ever a source of stability for the students that worry each day about the great unknown that had and may continue to befall upon us. 

They do this – we do this – because our students are a priority to us, just as they are a priority to the college. During the COVID-19 crisis, we stepped up. Alongside our Full-time counterparts, we put in extra time, energy, and care to provide a safe and continuous learning environment for our students. Other local colleges recognized the extra effort and time and compensated their adjuncts for said act of going above and beyond the standard call of duty. But not at College of DuPage. Time and again, we were told it was a compensation matter, and it should wait until bargaining a new contract. Time and again, we were told through inaction that we were not worthy of assistance, even as many of our adjuncts have been financially drowning, barely staying afloat. The small amount of help we asked for, are asking for, will go a long way to show our value, should it be provided. Now, cost is argued as reason for not providing assistance. 

To mitigate this cost, I am aware that the college received funds thanks to the American Recovery Act, of which a portion has yet to be allocated for use. We ask that a portion of these funds be used to recognize the dedication of our adjuncts, especially in light of the struggles they have faced due to the COVID-19 crisis. This is acceptable, provided that the assistance need was created as a direct result of the crisis, which it is and has been. 

For years, Adjuncts have felt the lack of respect, even if we are told we matter. If we do matter, we at least deserve this small consideration. I mean after all, since we teach more than 60% of classes, we must be at least as important as the softball and baseball fields, each of which are being allocated in the college’s budget to receive $375k and $1M in funds respectively. While these are important parts of student life at College of DuPage, the wellbeing and time of our adjuncts is also an important resource that is often taken for granted. Please consider this more than reasonable request to show adjuncts the dignity and respect they deserve. 

Now, I must take my leave, as I do have class at 6:30. Thank you for taking the time to hear me in these concerns.