Wage Verdict Hurts All at Fordham

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Staff Editorial
Published: December 12, 2012

You’ve got your mind on your money and your money on your mind. And so does our faculty. After seven months of negotiations ending in a compromise agreement on salary and benefit increases for the academic year, faculty are still disappointed in the final outcome. As reported in Harry Huggins’ page one article, “Faculty Speak Out Against Salary Agreement,” faculty is feeling left out in the cold after the establishment of a campus facilities reserve channeling all of Fordham’s better-than-budget revenues toward expanding Fordham’s campus.

Students do not choose Fordham because of the buildings; shiny glass and fresh concrete mean little if a school doesn’t have substance in both programs and personnel. And for programs to flourish, faculty have to feel valued and invested while being shown that they are respected in the integral role they play in the growth of our community. Denying the faculty’s request for an equivalent of an extra $56,000 in salary raises and benefits does not do this.

Prospective students send in their deposits and choose to become Rams because of Fordham’s reputation as a place of quality education. This education is founded on Jesuit tenets that offer students the opportunity to learn from professors with serious credentials and ties to their respective fields.

The pride and joy of Fordham College at Lincoln Center isn’t our 8-acre superblock, the prime Central Park-adjacent location or the size of our law school. Our reputation is centered on the professional, erudite and caring individuals who spend their days with us, their nights reading our work, and their free time expanding their academic research for our benefit. While we reap many benefits from the addition of a new building and our prime location, all of this means nothing if our foundation—our dedicated staff—find themselves without adequate compensation.

Ninety-six percent of our faculty have terminal degrees in their field. These aren’t people who are asking for handouts. These are the topmost scholars in their field at the pinnacle of academic discourse. And we rank them below steel beams and a new cafeteria.

The simple fact is that shiny new classrooms don’t do the teaching, towering edifices don’t prompt learning and sprawling grounds don’t meet us for office hours. This misdirection of funds is a mockery of our worth as students, and the decision undermines the time and effort our brilliant faculty have invested and continue to invest not only in Fordham as a whole but, more specifically, in us as students. By forgoing this investment, the administration is prioritizing the physical image of Fordham University over the experience and quality of learning for us, the students.