A Petition from the Unionized Education Workers Who Make Our Campuses Work

Higher Education Commissioner Carlos E. Santiago, the members of the Board of Higher Education, University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan and the members of the UMass Board of Trustees

1

Laying Out Our Demands

We, the staff and faculty — the unionized education workers who make our campuses work across Massachusetts — are outlining our demands for a safe, equitable and educationally sound reopening of public higher education in Massachusetts in the time of COVID-19.

Sponsored by

To: Higher Education Commissioner Carlos E. Santiago, the members of the Board of Higher Education, University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan and the members of the UMass Board of Trustees
From: [Your Name]

The purpose of public higher education in Massachusetts, including our fifteen community colleges, our nine state universities and the five campuses of the UMass system is to provide affordable, high-quality, comprehensive educational opportunities for Massachusetts residents that, most importantly, “must be truly accessible to the people of the Commonwealth in all their diversity.” (BHE, https://www.mass.edu/bhe/aboutbhe.asp)

COVID-19 has created a crisis in providing public education throughout the Commonwealth and the US, placing before us unprecedented challenges, while exacerbating already existing inequities.


As the staff and faculty who know what it takes to assure a safe, equitable and educationally sound reopening of public higher education in Massachusetts, we respectfully inform you of what is required:


  1. All plans for resuming public higher education during the COVID crisis must ensure the safety and health of all of our community members -- students, staff, and faculty and people in our surrounding communities. Education workers and students must have a strong institutional and representative voice in determining and implementing such plans and policies.
  2. Given that campuses need more, not fewer, workers and resources to run our campuses during this pandemic, and that maintaining jobs in public higher education is one of the keys to an economic recovery, all layoffs must be revoked, and there must be no future layoffs or furloughs (including of student and graduate employees).
  3. As our employers and as trustees of our institutions, it is your first and most important job to secure the necessary funds to maintain and strengthen our institutions during this crisis and beyond – whether from the federal government, the state legislature, or from other college funding sources, including campus reserves.


We, the public higher education staff and faculty, expect these steps to be taken immediately so that we and our students can return to work and learn safely on our public campuses during this pandemic.