GLEN ELLYN – Tonight hundreds of College of DuPage Faculty Association (CODFA) members, students and community members will pack the College of Dupage (COD) Board of Trustees (BOT) meeting.
“We want to make sure our voices are heard. We are sending a clear message to the board that teaching matters,” CODFA President Shannon Toler said. “‘Teaching matters,’ is not something we just say. We truly believe quality, dedicated faculty bring immeasurable value to our students’ education. That’s why we are so adamant our next contract should be about what’s best for our students.”
Along with Toler, dozens of students and faculty plan to address the BOT directly at this evening’s meeting.
“My teachers were there to teach me, guide me, comfort me, and support me whenever I needed it. They have helped me succeed and excel, if they need my voice, they have it,” COD student Rose Arnold said. “My COD professors molded me into the person I am very proud to be, they saw my potential and gave it direction, now I feel confident, powerful, and intelligent because of what they taught me.
On Tuesday, CODFA voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. The vote gives the CODFA bargaining team the authority to call a strike. The strike-authorization vote comes after CODFA and the CODBOT enter mediation. The two sides have been negotiating since March. CODFA’s current contract expired on August 14, which means full-time members currently are working without a contract. CODFA represents 304 full-time COD faculty. COD serves more than 26,000 students and is a designated Hispanic-Serving Institution.
“It’s confusing to us that people with little to no teaching experience are deciding what faculty need to do in order to be more effective at their jobs,” Toler said. “They should’ve started all this by asking us about what is happening in our classrooms. If the Provost asked, if any board member asked, plenty of us would be happy to have him or her visit and see what we do. Instead, we are basically just an expense line on a beautifully balanced budget.”
The BOT meeting will be held in the Student Services Center room 2200 on the COD campus (425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn). CODFA members will line the hallways in a show of solidarity before the meeting begins (5:30 p.m.). Public comments will be made during the meeting’s open session (likely around 7 p.m.). For more information on CODFA and negotiations, please visit this website.
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.