UMass President Marty Meehan Faces Opposition Campaign in Lowell

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For immediate release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, June 28, 2018

Contact on behalf of UMass Lowell Union of Adjunct Faculty: Celeste Aguzino
617-455-1498
Celeste@617MediaGroup.com

 

Embattled UMass President Marty Meehan Faces Opposition Campaign in Lowell

On heels of Mt. Ida scandal, Professors Demand Former Congressman Focus on his Job

UMass Lowell Professors Call for Fair Treatment, Equity, Basic Health Insurance

Watch TV ads below.

Lowell, MA– Today, UMass Lowell faculty launched a sweeping ad campaign calling out embattled UMass president, Marty Meehan, for his unethical and inequitable treatment of a key part of the UMass Lowell workforce – the professors who teach there.

While adjunct faculty members across the UMass system have similar qualifications and teach many of the same classes, more than 500 adjunct professors at UMass Lowell are paid far less than their counterparts including at campuses with a lower regional cost of living. Lowell housing costs average 21 percent higher compared to Amherst and Dartmouth.

They are also denied access to health insurance and retirement benefits and have worked without a contract for over three years while Marty Meehan’s attention has drifted from the Lowell campus that sits within his own former congressional district. Meehan has been ensnared in a web of controversy related to his purchase of the Mt. Ida campus.

Now, UMass Lowell professors say a similar lack of transparency has clouded their campus and caused contract negotiations to drag on for years, lining the pockets of UMass affiliated law firms while denying basic health insurance to faculty.

In upcoming ads, the professors cite the story of a colleague who they feel passed away in part due to the lack of healthcare coverage afforded professors by Meehan and the UMass system, forcing many to forgo procedures and appointments due to their low pay and the high costs of buying insurance independently. Professors say that UMass officials including Meehan, who served as Chancellor at UMass Lowell prior to his appointment as UMass president, are engaged in a deliberate scheme to deny health insurance eligibility to adjunct professors no matter how effectively they teach or how hard they work.

UMass Lowell has long attempted to evade offering its adjunct faculty legally mandated health and retirement benefits by categorizing them as “temporary employees” even though many have taught there for years. The University also faces unfair labor practice charges by the state Department of Labor Relations for covertly instructing academic departments to limit course assignments to professors to prevent them from gaining eligibility for benefits.

The controversies surrounding the benefits eligibility scheme and the lack of equitable pay for Lowell professors at one of the system’s more diverse campuses have been flashpoints between Lowell professors and Meehan’s administration and are now being brought to public light.

The new campaign calling out Meehan includes billboards, tv, radio, video and digital ads spanning Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, MASSterlist, iHeart radio, Pandora and more. The ads highlight what the professors call Marty Meehan’s “unethical” behavior and call on him to stop treating Lowell like a “second-class” campus.

Listen and Watch below.

“Marty Meehan fought for fairness when he was a member of Congress. When did he stop caring about fairness?” asked Jerome Stover, an faculty member of the Music Department at UMass Lowell who has been teaching for eight years. “This is an embarrassment for the entire UMass system. I’m expected to get the same results as faculty at other UMass campuses, yet my work is not valued at the same level. Basic equity is all we’re asking for.”

Today’s launch is the first in an ongoing campaign highlighting the impact of Meehan’s poor treatment of UMass Lowell’s adjunct faculty members that will continue through the summer and into early fall as students return for the new school year.

Sarah Backer, an adjunct faculty member of the UMass Lowell English Department who has taught there for 16 years said, “Lowell’s campus has been singled out. We’re the only ones denied health insurance and retirement benefits. We’re paid less for doing the same work. It feels like Lowell is being treated like a second-class campus and a second-class city. It’s well past time for Marty Meehan to do the right thing.”

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