Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Saturday, January 19, 2019

Student Worker Alliance open letter to the University community

The Student Worker Alliance delivered this letter to all of the school deans and department heads this past Tuesday. The deans also received a copy of a student petition with over 250 signatures calling on the University to stop interfering in the adjunct unionization process.


We are writing to you today to express a serious concern that we have with the recent actions of the University with regards to the organizing campaign among adjunct professors. The signatures contained within the petitions delivered to the deans of each school represent the collective voice of the student body on this issue, and this letter is meant to expand upon their signatures.

We find the University’s lack of neutrality throughout the organizing campaign to be extremely problematic. Though the administration has on multiple occasions stated that it “respects faculty rights to freedom of association, expression and participation in democratic processes, including the right to unionize,” we have not seen this to be the case in practice.

Specifically, we are concerned with two actions taken by the University. The first is the retention of the notorious anti-union law firm Epstein Becker and Green, the cost of which is sure to exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of the unionization process. As students, we are very concerned with how our tuition dollars are being spent and condemn the use of university funds in efforts to stagnate democratic rights. We are confused as to why the administration would rather pay lawyers to fight the union instead of paying professors their due. We encourage the University to open its financial books and release the amount spent in retention of Epstein Becker and Green.

Furthermore, we are concerned with the distribution of memoranda and flyers to the adjunct community outlining what the University sees as uncertainties if the union is elected. The uncertainty of these situations rests solely on the University. We see the distribution of these materials as happening out of a sincere disregard for the democratic process of forming a union and goes against all of our university’s stated values.

We hope that, when the election concludes, the administration will make the responsible decision to respect the results of the election and not challenge them through the courts. We think that, with cooperation from the administration, the union can bring positive change to the way in which adjunct faculty are treated at our university and the results will be beneficial for everyone within our community, especially students.

If you wish to follow up on this letter, you may email us at

Thank You,

AU Student Worker Alliance

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