Students should rally behind contract staff
Unfortunately, many at WLU are completely unaware of the contract staff issues that have been arising for months. CAS have been in reconciliation for some time and now are meeting to vote on a strike.
I think it is extremely important that students are aware of this issue and that they show support for CAS staff. These professors are fighting for basic benefits such as dental, which they do not receive.
The salary of contract staff is significantly lower than that of the tenure professors, approximately 65 per cent lower. Tenured professors get first choice of courses, while the contract staff are not guaranteed anything, meaning that the school can take away a class without warning.
Tenure professors receive support for their research and thesis, allowing them to keep up-to-date information and research for their students.
Meanwhile, the contract staff receive very little, if any, support for their research. CAS members are not expected to do research; those that continue their research and keep their material current are doing so out of career aspirations and their desire to give students a quality education. Should Laurier students not be concerned that contract professors do not get support from the school? Or that their education will be cheapened due to the lack of up to date information for contract staff?
With many of my professors being contract staff, I myself am wondering why it is that Laurier is unable to adequately pay their staff? Why is it that our tuition prices are constantly rising? Where is this money going and why is it that only the CAS members do not receive benefits?
Personally, I feel that students should be completely supporting the members of CAS even if only to ensure that our education is not cheapened. A professor of mine, Dr. Michele Kramer, is wearing a shirt in support of CAS negotiations until a deal has been agreed upon. She is getting students and staff to sign her shirt in support of their cause as an indication of how Laurier feels about CAS and the contract dispute. If you see her show your support, let them know your feelings on CAS and share classroom experiences.
The students of Laurier need to be aware that many of the professors that are contract staff do a lot more than is required of them. I believe that the students should be showing their support and encouraging members of CAS to continue their fight for basic necessities.