The new school and the union of part-time teachers will meet with a mediator

After two weeks of canceled classes, the new school and the union representing its part-time teachers will meet with a mediator on Sunday afternoon and again on Monday to work out an agreement.

Part-time teachers from ACT-United Auto Workers Local 7902 have been on strike since Nov. 16 and rejected the school’s ‘last, best and final’ offer by a vote of 1,821 to 88 on Thursday . According to the university, part-time faculty make up 82% of New School faculty.

It comes shortly after an attorney representing parents of students at the new school sent a letter to Junea Williams-Edmund, the university’s acting senior vice president and general counsel, saying the parents were consulting with a law firm. class action lawyers for all tuition fees. for their intended use.

“Since this is the school that received the tuition payments for educational services this semester, it is the school that our clients will hold responsible if there is no announcement of the end of the strike by Sunday evening.” Deborah Hrbek, a New York-based attorney, wrote in the letter on Friday.

Some parents sympathized with the union’s concerns, but found it unfair that students were caught in the middle of the dispute.

Beverly Dantz has a daughter, Kayla, in her third year at The New School, the year Dantz described as closest to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled high school graduation. in person from Kayla and forced her to start her college experience at home with a computer.

Dantz said she had booked a hotel reservation to see Kayla’s first in-person showcase, but it had already been canceled due to the strike.

“The number one concern is the health of children. There is no support for them right now,” Dantz said. “We feel helpless.

Kayla is studying fashion design at The New School and must use the knitting machine to complete her final project, but cannot use it during the strike.

“I think the school is trying to force the kids to cross the picket line and use the resources, and that’s not fair,” Dantz said.

Discretion to sue for money parents have paid up front for services that aren’t rendered is “a kind of justice, but it won’t make up for what the kids are going through,” he said. – she continued.

In a statement, the New School wrote that it understands the frustration the strike by part-time faculty has caused students and parents, but argues that the union’s contract demands would create a $125 million shortfall for the school. university.

“We continue to do everything we can to reach a fiscally responsible agreement, as quickly as possible, on a fair, equitable and fiscally responsible contract,” said Amy Malsin, assistant vice president of communications and public affairs for the New School. A declaration.

Jaclyn Lovell has been a part-time assistant professor in the English language studies department for the past decade and sits on the union’s bargaining committee. She said union members are demanding recognition for their unpaid work or hours spent outside the classroom, adequate remedies against harassment and discrimination, and protected health care benefits.

But “it’s not just about salary, we’re really asking the university to live up to the values ​​that draw people to be at The New School,” Lovell said.

As the strike continued, an email from a New School talent management coordinator asking for “progress review temps” from Dec. 3 to Jan. 3 circulated.

The email stated that “progress assessors” did not have to be experts in the courses the student enrolled in, but would need “general training in teaching and assessment in higher education.”

“The reviewer may be assigned to a student of the bachelor’s degree in orchestral instrument music. The examiner does not need to have a background in ear or percussion, but must be able to review the stated learning outcomes – or discuss learning expectations with the student if the program does not not articulate learning outcomes – and to determine sufficient progress,” the email states.

Asked about the email, Malsin said it was “an unfinished and unapproved draft” which was “incorrect and should not have been sent”.

“The university has a responsibility to its students to have contingency plans ready in case the part-time faculty union decides to continue its strike for an extended period,” she continued.

However, Dantz found this grading practice unfair to students and understood it to be a “pretty clear indication that [the New School has] no intention of doing this work in time to actually save the semester. The last day of classes for the fall 2022 semester is December 18, according to the university’s academic calendar.

Lovell said she would like to stay up all night to negotiate on Sunday so she can start teaching her students again by Monday.

“That’s where we all want to be right now – with our students,” she said.

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