Good evening. My name is Cheryl Baunbach-Caplan, president of the College of DuPage Adjuncts Association.
I am here tonight to ask that the College follow core Values listed in its Mission statement by treating our adjunct members in a respectful and equitable manner. The College can do this by allowing CODAA members, who will be losing eligibility this fall, to remain in our bargaining unit.
Adjuncts teach more than 60% of the courses at College of DuPage. In some departments, more than 80% of the courses are taught by CODAA members.
Due to the pandemic and the subsequent loss of enrollment, seventy-three CODAA members are faced with loss of eligibility in fall 2021. This is a record number – more than double that of a normal year. Loss of eligibility means loss of income, loss of benefits such as professional development funds, and loss of right of assignment over non-CODAA adjuncts. It takes a minimum of three years teaching at College of DuPage to become a CODAA member. This means CODAA members have demonstrated their dedication to the College and its students as well as honed their teaching skills. Some of those losing eligibility have taught at the College for more than 20 years.
President Caputo is rightfully proud of the fact that the College showed compassion and respect by protecting the employment of almost all employees during the pandemic, even if it meant shifting some individuals to other work. How then can the College decide that adjuncts – those impacting more students than any other constituency group – do not deserve similar treatment when the impact of the pandemic on enrollment was beyond their control?
Allowing our members to retain eligibility costs the College nothing – the higher compensation members receive has already been budgeted.
Due to the anticipated impact of the pandemic, CODAA began talking with the College about a Memorandum of Understanding to retain eligibility on a one time basis for one year only as early as December 2020. Those facing loss of eligibility have suffered long enough wondering if the College will protect them like they protected others, wondering if the College values them at all. A simple MOU can demonstrate that the College truly believes in its core values of respect and equity for all.
The College should not look at allowing these CODAA instructors to retain eligibility as a “union matter” for which the College bears no responsibility. Rather, it should view these dedicated instructors as valued employees, who like everyone else, suffered more than just a disruption of employment during the pandemic. Showing them compassion, respect, and equity should be an obvious choice.