The Elephant in the Institution
A Bulletin from MUSSC to MacEwan University Faculty
August 17, 2020
The MacEwan University Sessional Steering Collaborative (MUSSC) has great news to share about the new documentary In Search of Professor Precarious! This documentary, completed after four years of work, showcases the dependence on, and exploitation of, the expertise and labour of Sessional Faculty in Canada, as well as the activism and achievements of Sessional Faculty in the country, including at MacEwan University.
More specifically, it highlights the formation of MUSSC, the pivotal role played by MUSSC in the Grant MacEwan University Faculty Association’s (GMUFA’s) passage of the two Extraordinary Resolutions establishing year-round membership for Sessional Faculty and equitable access to GMUFA Board positions for Sessional Faculty, the 2017-2019 Collective Agreement’s unjust pay cuts to long-serving Sessional Faculty, and the university’s “red-circling” of the long-serving Sessional Faculty in the Letter of Understanding (LoU) that prevented most of the pay cuts. Here is a trailer for the documentary: https://vimeo.com/354433521
MUSSC is particularly thrilled to announce that In Search of Professor Precarious—very shortly after it was finished and only three days after a screener link was sent—was invited to the Workers Unite Festival, a festival of labour and social justice films, in New York!!! It was also recognized as an Official Selection as part of a special weekend preview for the festival.
Additional breaking news is that the Labour Day Weekend World Premiere online screening of In Search of Professor Precarious will available for free from Friday, Sept. 4, at 5:30 pm Mountain Daylight Time, until Sunday Sept. 6, at 5:30 pm MDT, on the film website:
This screening will be followed by a free, online, one hour, interactive panel/webinar on Sunday, Sept. 6, at 5:30 pm, with five experts from across North America on precarious/sessional faculty issues. One of the panelists is Dr. Joe Berry, a leading authority and activist in the field of precarious faculty organizing, and author of the classic book Reclaiming the Ivory Tower. To join the webinar, please click on this link at the time of the webinar (no pre-registration required):
MUSSC also wants to point out again that it continues to be deeply concerned that the university decided to let the LoU on “red-circled” faculty members expire on June 30, 2020, rather than to extend it alongside the rest of the Collective Agreement for the duration of bargaining.
As MUSSC noted in its last bulletin, this unilateral decision on the part of the university subjects about 180 members to pay cuts ranging from 3% to 22%. These members have taught at MacEwan for a long time (some for over twenty-five years), and thus have substantially contributed to the building of the university as well as facilitated its transition from a college to a university. Important to underscore as well is that most of these members occupy the already poorly-paid ranks of Sessional Faculty, and that the savings for the university from the pay cuts resulting from the decision not to extend the LoU constitute less than 1% of the total salary base for the faculty at MacEwan.
MUSSC is committed to providing information conducive to cultivating a solidarity (rather than a segregationist) ethos for the GMUFA. Any questions, concerns, or suggestions may be emailed in confidence to firstname.lastname@example.org