No faculty, no students

BC students have taken to the halls to petition on the behalf of BC faculty and staff. In one day, students were able to receive 183 signatures. At the time of print, it was unclear how close faculty and staff are to reaching a higher pay for BC faculty. Ray Butler, BC Health and Physical Education chair, who has been at BC since 2000, says that this is the first time that the administration and board have openly agreed to use local funds in order to support faculty salaries.
According to Tim Jones, BC chair of the Political Science and International Studies Programs, Associated Student Government and BC students have come up with the petition themselves. ASG Chief Justice Komalpreet Sahota could not be reached for comment. Jones admitted that he has been staying out of the petition process on purpose so that people don’t think he is tampering or manipulating the petition in any way. “The actions that students take are their own actions. I appreciate their support, but I am not planning their actions,” said Jones.
Both the students and faculty and staff are fighting for better faculty and staff pay, but they are doing so separately. The students are helping with things like petitions and posters, while the faculty is doing things such as going to the vice presidents as well as visiting the President, David Rule.
As far as an exact number when it comes to a potential raise for faculty, there is still no definitive answer.  According to Jones, though, Rule has publicly said that all faculty and staff deserves a $10,000 across the board pay raise, which would be added to their yearly salary. Whether or not that’ll actually happen, is still unclear. “Given how much I contribute to this college, I believe I am grossly underpaid and that is why I am advocating for better compensation for myself and other faculty,” said Jones.
Many instructors are applying and leaving for higher paying institutions, citing inadequate pay. We are losing brilliant instructors all across campus and redirecting faculty energies away from the classroom, away from our students,” said Butler. According to Butler, in the past few months, 30 percent of BC’s Social Science faculty members have applied for better-paying institutions. “It is difficult to recruit and retain the best instructors when they are not paid a competitive, living wage. Also, faculty who are inundated with increased administrative demands have less time to plan their classes, meet with students, grade assignments and exams, do extracurricular activities with students, etc.,” said Jones.
In order to emphasize the importance of faculty getting the wage they deserve, Jones quoted the Bellevue College Strategic Plan for 2015-2020. “In it, the first three goals that we supposedly have as a college are: (1) Be exceptional: deliver innovative and high quality educational opportunities; (2) Produce the next generation of leaders: educate students to be global citizens; (3) Advocate for justice for all: affirm equity and social justice as part of all we do. Faculty compensation is very clearly tied to all three of these. We can’t ‘deliver innovative and high quality educational opportunities,’ and we can’t ‘produce the next generation of leaders,’ and we can’t ‘affirm equity and social justice as part of all we do’ if we don’t pay our faculty a living wage. In one sentence, if [BC] wants to be exceptional as is so often claimed, then it needs to recruit and retain exceptional faculty and that is going to require much better compensation for faculty.”
For Butler, reaching an adequate pay means protecting the relationship between students and teachers. “Within an educational institution, if you peel away all the significant layers of employee contributions to a student’s success and get down to the bare essentials, all you would have left standing is a student and teacher.  That relationship is precious and we should be doing everything we can to protect that precarious contact point,” said Butler.