Regents should OK union

The Board of Regents should voluntarily recognize the call of NIU temporary faculty to get bargaining support from the University Professionals of Illinois.

Temporary faculty members at NIU are tired of their touch-and-go job situation and rightly so. Every spring, they worry there will be no jobs for them in the fall. If the jobs are there, the temporary faculty get little time to prepare—in some cases, only a few days.

That’s no way to keep a university well staffed.

More than half of the 400 temporary faculty on campus signed cards supporting the union proposal. If the Regents can’t buy that as a call for action—and help—they’re not serving the universities they govern very well.

If NIU officials plan to continue hiring instructors on a temporary basis, they shouldn’t keep dragging them along, year after year, making them keeping their fingers crossed. Some temporary faculty have been teaching at NIU for as long as 17 years, signing a new deal every year.

NIU probably should consider itself lucky these people are willing to stay on as long as they do. Some leave. Hopefully, it’s not the good ones.

Anyone employed by a state university in a role as important as education should have the comfort of job security and the ability to bargain if necessary.

Good salaries also are in question. Temporary faculty claim to be in contact with greater numbers of students, especially in the lower division mass classes. If the hours of teaching are there, the pay should be running right along.

If the Regents block this effort, it unfortunately will only show there is little regard for the people who actually teach on this campus. Improving a university means a lot more than how many buildings can be built and how many statues can be constructed.

Universities are people places, and the Regents should recognize that. If they don’t, it’s just another slap in the face for students—and teachers, as well.