Colorado #SB15_094 Update from Don Eron

…originally posted on the adj-l list, Tuesday, January 27, 2015
The AAUP Chapters of the CCCS

Dear Colleagues,

In Denver yesterday SB15-094, the Colorado AAUP‘s latest iteration of “equal pay for equal work” community college legislation, was defeated on a party line 3-2 vote before the Senate Veteran’s, Military, and State Affairs Committee. Realistically, however, this legislation was defeated on the first Tuesday in November, when the Republicans regained control of the state senate, 18-17.

Judging from the high spirits afterward at the Denver Press Club, where many of our supporters gathered, I may have been the only one disappointed at the result. The mood was invigorated (and invigorating). Here’s one measure of success: Less then three years ago I received a phone call from Caprice Lawless, who was determined to change the working conditions for adjuncts in Colorado’s community colleges. By last year we had a remarkable AAUP chapter at Front Range Community College.  By this year we had chapters at Community College of Denver, Red Rocks Community College, and Community College of Aurora, with one soon to come at Arapahoe Community College. These activists are determined, smart, fearless, unafraid of the limelight, and believe that victory is inevitable.

As was the case last year with HB14-1154, SB15-094 was led in every phase by contingent faculty. Suzanne Hudson, the guiding force behind the legislation, again conducted an extraordinary e-mail campaign in contacting as many of Colorado’s 4,000 community college adjuncts as were listed on their college’s web sites. (As part of the SB15-094 campaign, she also wrote the “Colorado Community College Faculty Bill of Rights” and “Proposal for a Unified Faculty in Colorado’s Community Colleges,” the defining documents in our AAUP community college equity movement.) Caprice Lawless, as last year, marshaled the ground forces with tenacity and verve (while recuperating from knee replacement surgery!). Also, as last year, we enjoyed the invaluable support of our partner in crime, Colorado AFT, in particular interim president Ellen Slatkin and political director Kate Stigberg.

Senator John Kefalas, who had immense shoes to fill after our long-time legislative sponsor Randy Fischer was term-limited last year, was very good at yesterday’s hearing. Suzanne represented the AAUP with her usual expertise. Also testifying were the following Colorado community college adjuncts: Caprice, Melinda Myrick, Larry Esom, Nathaniel Bork, Anne Emmons, Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, Mark DuCharme, and Natasha McConnachie. Each provided remarkable testimony.

Over the next several days we plan to feature their testimony on the web sites of the Colorado AAUP and of the AAUP Chapters of the CCCS. I recommend them to you.

As ever, thanks to all of you for your continued encouragement.

Don Eron


About @NatM4Equity

The National Mobilization for Equity is a coalition of organizations committed to alleviating the present staffing crisis in higher education: three-quarters of the teaching jobs in American colleges are held by underpaid, precarious and poorly-supported contingent faculty. Our long-term goal is to end contingency as the norm. The current untenable situation not only adversely affects all faculty members, both contingent and tenure-track, it also negatively impacts our profession, our students and the quality of their education.

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