Howard University Accused Of Giving Faculty Low Wages, Unfair Conditions


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Faculty members at Howard University are threatening to go on strike if changes don't happen to the academic workplace, according to the Atlanta Black Star.

One of the premier HBCUs has reportedly faced allegations of unfair working conditions and low pay for hundreds of non-tenured, full-time teaching faculty and adjunct professors. This reported dispute has reached a breaking point since the university and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500 hasn't reached a work agreement for roughly 250 educators.

An online flyer from the Howard Teaching Faculty Union claims this fight has been going on for nearly three years. The fact sheet argues that non-tenured lecturers and adjunct faculty "teach over 2,000 courses a year" at Howard but haven't received a raise in over 5 years. Meanwhile, the school's tuition has jumped 19% over the last five years, and the president takes home a $1.649 million salary, HTFU alleges.

"Based on the information presented by the HTFU, based on the cost of living, these educators working at Howard are the lowest-paid HBCU academicians in the United States, and some have to work as many as four extra jobs to 'survive' in the Washington [D.C.] area," Atlanta Black Star writes.

Last week, faculty, alumni, and current students showed out for a large protest over these accusations. Educators weren't just complaining about the low wages, they were also calling for better working conditions at Howard.

Two teachers claimed the university was being difficult with them while they were pregnant and negotiating maternal leave. Even when they got the time off, the professors allegedly weren't getting enough money during their leave. Now, they say they can't afford child care with their current salaries.

"The University leadership has made clear that a better teaching environment and better learning environment is unimportant to them," Contingent Faculty leader and Howard alumnus Cyrus Hampton said at the protest. "They have left us no choice but to strike because of their continued bad-faith bargaining."

If an agreement isn't reached by Friday (March 25), educators will go on strike.

Howard University's administration has released a statement in the midst of the controversy, claiming

"Our commitment to a peaceful bargaining process has not changed, and we will continue advancing good faith efforts to reach an agreement with the union and address the needs of adjunct and non-tenure-track faculty and the University," the statement reads. "We have made proposals for wage increases for union faculty and continue to bargain in good faith. Howard faculty play a vital role in our community. We will continue working together with our faculty to ensure their success and the success of Howard students."

You can read more about the situation here.

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