Secrets, Scams, and Scandals

POSTED BY HANK REICHMAN

To restore the profession of teaching in the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), the Colorado Conference of the AAUP has released the first of a series of videos showcasing the mounting, explosive, labor exploitation issue facing the 13-college CCCS.  The video, Secrets, Scams, and Scandals: The Dirty Little Secrets of the Colorado Community College System, will be widely distributed throughout Colorado and the national higher education community.

Turnover and burnout of CCCS faculty continues apace, as the system pays 80% of its teachers on average, $19K (below-poverty level wages), and tosses them a so-called $4.80/week pay “raise” each year.  It does so while stashing $20 million/year in its “reserves,” raising student tuition and fees, giving its 14 presidents, 48 vice presidents, and scores of administrators pay raises 32% to 50% above their six-figure salaries and spending $392 million on recent building projects.  Each of the system’s college presidents is paid more than Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, while the CCCS System president is paid nearly as much as U.S. President Donald Trump.  Yet on the campus, the 137,000 CCCS students encounter a weary army of 4,600+ faculty members who must work two and three jobs to make ends meet, and who are forced to go to work when sick because they have no sick leave. Consequently, faculty turnover is so high in the CCCS that its flagship school, Front Range Community College, now posts year-round standing ads for new teachers.

The video series is part of AAUP’s push to secure equitable pay and benefits for all faculty, to defend against assaults on faculty members’ academic freedom, to support their right to shared governance, and to ensure high-quality education for all students.  The Colorado AAUP seeks to facilitate collaboration between CCCS faculty and administrators as part of this effort.  However, last year the national Association had to place the administration of the Community College of Aurora on its list of administrations censured for violations of academic freedom after that administration terminated the appointment of part-time instructor of philosophy Nathanial Bork without affordance of academic due process.

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