Dear USD Colleagues – A Letter From the Organizing Committee

Dear Colleagues,

For decades, higher education has trended away from tenure-track positions in favor of contingent, non-tenure track teaching appointments that offer no job security, much lower wages, and limited to no opportunities for advancement. The University of San Diego (USD) is part of this trend: Its Non-Tenure Track (NTT) Faculty are denied basic protections and rights considered the baseline for other workers.

These conditions affect student learning by limiting our ability to provide quality instruction and mentorship to our students, and hold us back from becoming full members of the campus community.

This cannot continue. We cannot continue with the constant uncertainty regarding our status with the university. We cannot continue with low pay and little to no chance of a raise while we try to live in an incredibly expensive region. We cannot continue without a voice on campus and no true shared governance with our administration. We cannot continue to exhaust ourselves traveling from campus to campus, job to job, to supplement our incomes. We cannot continue with few opportunities to advance at the university, including those of us with years — sometimes decades — of service. Nor can we continue without adequate access to research funds, or time to complete papers, books, and other academic work that would help us grow in our professions.

We love USD, we love our students, and we are committed to the university’s mission of “advancing academic excellence to create a more inclusive, sustainable and hopeful world.” Though we have different backgrounds, NTT Faculty members aim to make USD the best learning and mentorship environment possible for our students, providing them with the skills, values, and knowledge necessary to be critical thinkers and leaders.

We also endeavor to make progress in our fields, advancing knowledge and understanding through research.

Because our current conditions make these aims difficult, if not impossible, to achieve, NTT Faculty in USD’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) are seeking to join SEIU Local 721 — one of the most powerful unions in the nation that represents over 100,000 workers in Southern California.

NTT Faculty in other units on campus are building support to join SEIU 721, too. If you’re an NTT Faculty member who supports forming a union — whether you teach in CAS or another unit — then please click here and fill out this union authorization card. If you’d like to become involved in deeper organizing and support building for a union for NTT Faculty in CAS or for any other unit, then please contact Jesus Garcia at 213-280-7707.


With a union, we can win the security, protections, wages, and respect that we deserve.

This is not theoretical. NTT Faculty at dozens of colleges — including Santa Clara, Occidental College, Lesley University, Georgetown University, Tufts University, and Fordham University, to name a few — have formed unions and gained improved job security, pay increases, advancement opportunities, and more. Our NTT colleagues at Loyola Marymount University are also forming a union to win worker rights and protections, and we stand in solidarity with their effort. As such, we are change-makers that are part of a nationwide movement of NTT Faculty, and we plan to build alliances beyond our campus to reform higher education.

We believe the time is now. An unprecedented number of workers across the country and the world are forming unions to win back their power. We must form a movement of faculty, students, alumni, families, conscientious administrators, and community supporters to build a fair and equitable USD.

We call on USD to live up to its Catholic values and respect our rights, as a vast majority of NTT Faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences want this union. University leaders must refrain from interference in the campaign or retaliation against us for exercising our labor rights — and they should agree to recognize the NTT Faculty union via a card check process or, in the alternative, via a stipulated NLRB mail-ballot election.

If you are an NTT Faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences, you may soon be approached by a colleague or an organizer with SEIU Local 721. We ask that you listen to them, ask questions, and we urge and hope that you will join our movement.

In Solidarity,

Your Colleagues

USD NTT Faculty Organizing Committee to join SEIU 721

Soroya Rowley, Theatre

Meghan Donnelly, Anthropology

Fabio Agnelli, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Joe Babcock, English

Scott Douglas, Mathematics

Ted Falk, History

Antonio Iannotta, Languages, Cultures, & Literatures

Melissa James, Sociology

David Miller, History

Matt Parker, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Deniz Perin-Coombs, English

Julia Schafer, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Dylan Wells, English

Categories: Higher Education