By Justin Smith
Assistant News Editor
Adjuncts have made their voice heard ever since first speaking to The Griffin in the March 4 issue, but administration has kept quiet, at least publicly, in that time. After adjuncts went to the Undergraduate Student Association Senate on April 5, The Griffin decided to reach out to administration about some of the issues.
For now, CAM (The Canisius Adjunct Movement) simply wants the opportunity to talk to administration without fear of retaliation, but they have also made it clear that the goals of these hoped-for talks are better pay, benefits, and job security. As for the issue of better pay, the adjuncts propose a restructuring of the way money is spent at the school, but Vice President of Business and Finance Marco Benedetti, says that “The funds are not there,” to increase adjunct pay. Echoing the sentiments of USA President Rich Kubiak, Benedetti unambiguously denied that Canisius could afford to pay the adjuncts any more than they already do and said that Canisius’ 990 tax forms are publicly available for anyone who wants to look into how the school spends its money.
In his brief contact with The Griffin, Benedetti suggested multiple questions would be better directed to Vice President of Academic Affairs Margaret McCarthy. For example, Benedetti said McCarthy would be better to comment on the average salary of adjunct professors, but Benedetti did offer that the average adjunct pay at Canisius was “at or above other schools.” However, Benedetti said in the same interview that adjuncts at Canisius are paid at the “prevailing rate,” or the rate that other colleges typically pay adjuncts.
CAM categorizes adjuncts as qualified but underpaid professionals academics. Benedetti saw adjuncts as falling into three categories: retired professionals, adjuncts who want to be adjunct professors, and adjuncts who want to be full-time professors. Whichever category an adjunct falls into, however, Benedetti says that being an adjunct is still “not intended to be a full-time job, [and] therefore they are not compensated as such.” Overall, Benedetti described being an adjunct as a career choice, and said what adjuncts choose as a career is solely their decision.
Finally, although the school has nearly twice as many adjunct professors as full-time professors, administration states that adjuncts teach only 30 percent of classes and Benedetti described the school as “a school of full-time professors.”
Administration never reached out to contact The Griffin, and upon the paper reaching out to administration, they were slow to respond. Human Resources, whom many adjuncts have accused of being unresponsive, took until Wednesday to acknowledge an e-mail sent on Sunday. That e-mail, sent by Jennifer Skowron only promised that “Administration will provide you with a response.” Administration has yet to provide such a response, and instead, Skowron sent another email that said “Marco Benedetti explained that you just left his office before coming to mine and he provided you with the response.” However, Benedetti was unable to answer many questions, and certainly couldn’t answer questions that dealt with adjuncts claims about Human Resources. While The Griffin is welcoming to administration’s perspective on the plight of the adjuncts, administration has thus far shown a reluctance to readily make their perspective heard.