I stand with the adjunct faculty of Seattle University in the fight to unionize, to argue for better wages for adjunct faculty and for some sense of job security.
While I understand that the student body may also be concerned about rising tuition, students also need to recognize that part of tuition goes towards paying the salaries of its professors. Adjunct faculty included. Students have a right to ask the administration to spend their tuition wisely, including recognizing how tuition is being used to further social teaching and social justice. But it isn’t enough just to voice concern, one needs to step forward in times like these and say, “We are making this a priority!”
As a community member and former student of Seattle University, I think community members, former students, alumni, and partners need to recognize the unique role that each of us play in the formation of the University. Even though we may not be able to donate money or resources to the University, we each help it in different ways. While I’m not arguing that we should tie our means and gifts to University action, we all need to consider supporting efforts on campus and among the students to lend a stronger voice to social justice causes.
Although the University is well known for a lot of the programs it supports as a part of it’s Seattle, Jesuit identity, it continues to ignore or do little to nothing to support other parts of its identity. Seattle University needs to take a long look at its own hypocrisy, and how it can better serve its own mission/be an example to the students it accepts.
I remember that Fr. Steve used to emphasize that he wants Seattle University to be the “premier Jesuit institution in the Pacific Northwest”. Well, in a certain sense, now it is. Maintaining that status requires buy in from all sides, from all perspectives, to create a University that truly embodies the values of a society that we want to live in.