Letter to the editor: Why should students care what faculty get paid?

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Every now and then, leaders are suddenly reminded of the price they pay for disregarding those they claim to serve. They avoid eye contact and grow uneasy as their canned applause lines fall on stony silence. This is what we saw at the Feb. 25 special meeting of the Faculty Senate. (If you doubt this, check out the video recording on The Appalachian’s Facebook page).

Chancellor Sheri Everts insinuated that faculty members are either ignorant or spoiled because they are angry that “for the first time in five years,” as she put it, she “was not able to give faculty a raise.” But the faculty seized control of the narrative about their economic situation. Faculty members talked about their passion for educating students, and the irony of those students going on to become K-12 teachers who earn more they do. They talked about having to rely on loans from their parents well into their 40s and 50s. They talked about needing a “side job” to make ends meet as a college professor. They talked about being unable to pay for cancer surgery because their health benefits have gotten so much worse. They expressed their outrage that Chancellor Everts, who has received pay raises that are greater than some faculty members’ total salary (over $90,000 in raises alone in the past five years). Faculty are neither spoiled nor stupid.

 

Laura Ammon, Associate Professor of Philosophy & Religion, president, App State chapter of the American  Association of University Professors

Michael C. Behrent, Associate Professor of History, vice-president, NC State Conference of the American  Association of University Professors

Diane Mines, Professor of Anthropology

Greg Reck, Research Professor of Anthropology