WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement in response to the announcement that Rutgers University would add $20 million to its faculty diversity initiative. At Rutgers, 4,800 faculty and graduate employees have been working without a contract for nine months, and the decision came after a long campaign waged by Rutgers AAUP-AFT.
“This is a good news day at Rutgers. While it took too long, President Barchi chose to prioritize the university’s spending to match the goals, ideals and needs of the students who go to Rutgers, and the educators who teach there. Diversity matters, and I am so proud of the faculty and graduate employees who have campaigned for years for this new policy.
“As Frederick Douglass said, ‘Power concedes nothing without a demand,’ and this demand was shouted from the rooftops. For two years, the union researched a gender and race equity proposal. Now, those efforts have won a dedicated funding stream to recruit, mentor and retain diverse scholars, particularly from underrepresented fields. Exposure to new knowledge and ideas from multiple perspectives is, in fact, what higher education is all about.
“It’s no secret that we are in a tough collective bargaining struggle with the management of this great university. We call on President Barchi to use this moment for a reset—to work with, rather than against, his faculty and graduate employees to implement this plan. It’s an important first step, but the president has a long way to go if he wants to restore trust and build a sustainable and collaborative partnership with the workers that make Rutgers a world-renowned institution for research, teaching and learning.”