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Part-time lecturers at EMU protest for better pay and benefits

Kathleen Davis
Michigan Radio
Teachers gather in front of EMU president James Smith's office.

Part-time lecturers at Eastern Michigan University held a protest in front of the university president's office today, asking for better pay and benefits.

Almost 50% of EMU's teaching staff are part-time. Many of these instructors make less than $15,000 a year, and lack critical benefits like paid medical leave and job security.

Adena Rottenstein is a lecturer and member of the Part Time Lecturers Union. 

"We're a pretty important part of how teaching gets done at Eastern, but we're treated as a bit lesser than and not equal to the other faculty members," Rottenstein said. 

She says one of the reasons she participated in the "grade-in" is because EMU's part-time contracts don't extend past one semester.

"I have no job security. I don't know if I have any classes to teach in the fall, and the semester is ending and do I have a job in four months? Maybe, maybe not," Rottenstein said.

Protestors say EMU responded to union demands the day before the protest by threatening to cut part-time pay by 25%.

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