SISS Faculty Statement 2021

November 2021

Dear SJSU Administration:

University organization, including scheduling classes for the Spring 2022 semester, has proceeded in many ways as though the COVID-19 pandemic were no longer a public health risk and also as if we are back to business as usual. Instead of engaging with and learning from faculty, staff, and students who have been responsible for maintaining the integrity of university’s classrooms during the pandemic, CSU administrators are not utilizing shared governance and instead they are managing top down. These realities, along with the burdens of living and working during an ongoing pandemic, are exacerbating already unequal and inequitable structures within our university system and campus.

We implore the administration to meet its mission of being an responsive institution and take into account the real-time needs and concerns of faculty and students. Inequalities shaped by gender, LGBTQIA+, race, first-generation, lecturer, tenure-track, socio-economic, housing, commuting, and care-giving statuses, etc., guarantee that burdens and responsibilities of a pandemic are distributed unjustly. SJSU needs to take concrete actions to protect the overall well-being of faculty, staff and students, including the mental, emotional, physical, financial, and other aspects of personal health. SJSU must recognize the need for grace and humane treatment of faculty, staff, and students during this time and beyond. Working and learning at SJSU must be sustainable, as such, please consider the following requests:

• Reinstate leniencies granted students during Spring 2020 through Spring 2021 regarding student disqualification, withdrawal, financial aid drops, and grade changes.

• Increase funding and support for Counseling and Psychological Services for students.

• When making decisions about granting leaves and working modality requests, allow for flexibility, honoring that faculty, staff and departments are best positioned to know what their most effective mode of working is during the pandemic and beyond.

• Push back on the outdated WASC standard that labels a class online if there are any online meetings. Courses that meet consistently in-person, such as hybrid courses, should be considered in-person courses. In-person courses should be able to have online meetings without being considered online courses and without penalty to faculty.

• Make use of Article 31.12 in the CFA-CSU contract which enables the President to correct inequities of pay, adjust living wages for the regional cost of living, adjust pay for the additional work performed by faculty to continue the educational work of the university, and to close the gaps across gender identities, racial groups, discipline and the lecturer/tenure-line divide.

• Create supportive structures, such as well below market housing options, to mitigate the inequitable impacts felt by our community due to pre-existing structural and institutional inequities.

• Administer a system-wide pandemic bonus pay for faculty that is not conditional upon additional labor to acknowledge our work in carrying this university and its students throughout these changing and challenging times.

In solidarity and shared service,

Faculty from the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences