Hundreds of adjunct faculty members at Columbia College go on strike over class cuts

NBC Universal, Inc.

A sea of red was visible along South Michigan Avenue as hundreds of adjunct faculty members at Columbia College stood together.

“They cut 350 courses,” said Union President Diana Vallera. “350 courses all part-time faculty courses.”

Vallera said that’s just one of several reasons why some 600 adjunct faculty members chose to walk off the job. They spent Monday along a portion of Michigan Avenue, sending a message to Columbia College leadership.

“I have one class that is capped at 12, even 12 is far too many people we are taking their ideas and trying to workshop them,” said film professor Sandi Lindsey. “Now they want to raise it to 18.”

“We don’t have job security, basic safety nets like health care, and too many times we are seeing institutions like ours that are taking advantage of that,” Vallera added.

It’s not just adjunct faculty picketing, but some students, too. NBC Chicago talked to students said they want to see the school make some major changes.

“All of my classes are studio classes and to increase people it’s just not safe and not right, I can’t learn in that environment,” said student Alivia King. “I took seven classes and I currently can only attend one of them. Because everyone is striking. As they should, honestly.”

Columbia College Chicago issued the following statement to NBC Chicago:

We regret that the union has opted to strike. Columbia College Chicago remains committed to student success and good faith bargaining with the union and hopes union leadership will come to the table with concrete proposals. The college is making changes that will result in a larger share of classes being taught by full-time faculty, to which part-time faculty objects. Students filled 28,422 total seats in classes in Spring 2023. There are 28,975 available seats for Spring 2024. We are committed to minimizing the impact of this strike and to protecting students’ academic progress, while meeting our responsibilities to ensure the sustainability of the college to serve its students. 

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