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North of the Border: Concordia University Part-time Faculty Association (CUPFA) Campus Equity Week

By Maria Peluso

This is the eigth and last in a series of Academe Blog guest posts arranged by the AAUP Committee on Contingency and the Profession in celebration of Campus Equity Week. For information on and resources for CEW, see the national website at http://www.campusequityweek.org/2013/.

The Concordia University Part-time Faculty Association (CUPFA) has been celebrating Campus Equity Week (CEW) for the past ten+ years. Each year the union organizes a number of diverse activities from about mid-October to the last week of October. Each year the CEW activities vary as do our CEW goals. Buttons, posters, pamphlets, CUPFA materials such as pens, T-shirts, rulers, etc, are also distributed and focus on an annual theme. Whenever possible, these materials are developed either by our students or by our own members. We have no need to go to Madison Avenue to promote CEW and the work of CUPFA. We hire and use the talent in front of our noses.

To provide an idea of our diverse need, below is a list of CEW activities that vary from one year to the next, again depending on our needs—whether we are in the middle of contract negotiations, whether other unions on campus are on strike, whether there is a student protest on tuition increases taking place. Here are the four general areas that help direct our CEW activities each year:

1. Information kiosks/tables with a focus on the solidarity of student groups on campus: Such displays are in a prominent location in the University, which sees a great deal of people-traffic. In years where we organize such kisks with other groups on campus, we use CEW to reinforce our solidarity with others and strengthen our alliances. Apples, fruit juices, and cookies are offered.

2. Information kiosks/tables with a focus on mobilizing issues of concern specific to part-time faculty: During these displays we provide a petition to sign or postcards we send to administrators, give away T-shirts, etc. These CEW activities are more acute during times when we are in negotiations or are wanting to reach an audience who will support our efforts during a strike. Apples, fruit juices, and cookies are offered.

3. “Showcasing Fairs”: Once every three years or more, we provide a large public forum for part-time faculty to display their art, their books, their research, etc. In this manner we use CEW to show-case the academic contribution of part-time faculty to others in the University. Cheese and vegetable platters are offered to those who enter the “Showcasing of Part-time Faculty” forum and visit the display tables of our members.

4. Visiting Lecturer or Inter-City Executive Union gathering: Hosted by CUPFA, these provide us with opportunities to connect with the executives of other part-time faculty unions at some of the other Montréal or Québec universities. We go beyond our own University and reach out to other unions/associations who also represent part-time faculty teaching at other colleges and universities. Much like our work with the inter-union council (body started by CUPFA with other unions on campus), we go outside the Concordia campus to build solidarity, share knowledge, and exchange on success/challenges of common issues (eLearning, work load, benefits, etc.).

For more information about the activities of CUPFA, please visit our website at http://www.cupfa.org and under “publications” find the reports about CEW in either our newsletter, CUPFA News, or in our Annual Reports.

cupfa

Maria Peluso is President of CUPFA and long-time member of the international Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL) Advisory Committee. She teaches in the Department of Political Science at Concordia University, Montréal.

For information about the AAUP Committee on Contingency and the Profession, see http://www.aaup.org/about/committees/standing-committees.

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