Support Ithaca College Faculty and Staff!

Ithaca College faculty is asking for community support to put a STOP to the severe austerity measures that many on campus–and ESPECIALLY Contingent Faculty and staff–are suffering. Please read the message below and then sign on! (Drawing courtesy of Eric Machan Howd)
Dear Ithaca College Members & Community Supporters:
We’d like to take a minute of your time in the anxiety and chaos of this week to share an open-letter campaign that a coalition of cross-rank faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community supporters have been toiling and anguishing over. Some of you may have already seen this letter and opted not to sign on, either out of some abstract (or very real) fear, or out of a meaningful alliance with Ithaca College’s administration—one that has been forged in endless amounts of committee work and planning and a shared vision for a better version of this place. We understand that. We know that it’s complicated.

But we would just say this: at the end of the day this comes down to the people in this community. It’s not about data points, FTEs, enrollment jargon, or branding initiatives. We are here because we’re trying to save the livelihoods of people, including each of us. We’re asking the administration to consider a possible future for this college that doesn’t include such easy acceptance of harsh austerity as the only path forward. We have been presented with a vision of this college that casts off hundreds of its faculty and staff and protects others with promises of research, travel and other funding because the college is “leaner.” The loss of these colleagues will mean that those who remain will be asked to increase teaching loads and service commitments, to have less flexibility in course offerings, and to have less time to work one on one with students. And those soon-gone (or already gone) are people that you see and work with day in and day out: people who live in this town, who are raising their kids here, who are intricately woven into the fabric of the Ithaca community. The austerity model that is proposed is one that has been proven, for a while now, not to work. So we’re going to keep fighting for the people in this community and for a different overall approach.

By asking the administration to “open the books,” we are asking not for the same obfuscated data that backs up their position (one possibility among many), but a true accounting of where we stand, as well as a seat at the table in the direction forward from this point. This includes up-to-the-minute accounting of cash reserves, accessible portions of the endowment, line-item details concerning outside consultants who advised this path forward (so that we may check their track records), and anything else that might help us truly understand our position at this unprecedented moment and thereby partner with the SLT to find a more humane path forward. President Collado, in her address on Monday night, kept insisting that this was a plan to which we all agreed. But we can confidently say, as community members who have sat on the endless committees for the Strategic Plan over the past 3 years…this is not something we agreed to. In addition, the paradigm has shifted. We are in a new world now, and let’s see if we can embrace this as a portal to something different (thanks, Arundhati Roy!). To barrel forward with a plan drawn up prior to the last 9 months seems ill-advised, at best, and catastrophic at worst. How can a meticulously drawn-up plan, designed specifically to carry out over a five-year span (at minimum) be “accelerated” successfully in the short span that the SLT is proposing? It doesn’t make sense.

So, we’re asking, still respectfully, for a regrouping. A reckoning. We’re asking for a new vision of Ithaca College that includes as many of us as possible. This means we have a lot of work to do as a community. We know that it will be daunting for all of us—the SLT in particular. But we’re willing to put in the work if they are. We hope that you’ll support us in this.

Here is the link to the letter. We hope that you’ll lend us your support.
In solidarity,
Coalition of Concerned IC Community Members