VCUarts teachers protest for higher pay

Source: NBC12
Source: NBC12
Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 at 10:20 PM EST
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Former nightclub bought by VCU (Source: NBC12)
Former nightclub bought by VCU (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - VCU employees are protesting low wages. VCUarts adjunct faculty say they are paid less than half of the national average.

Tom Burkett is a VCUarts adjunct faculty member and says he needs to work part time at another university to make ends meet.

"The other university pays twice as much. Yeah," said Burkett.

He adds that he and his colleagues are barely making ends meet.

"We're taking on course loads, teaching four courses a semester - which is more than most full-time faculty - yet still having a hard time paying our bills right now," said Burkett.

This semester, adjunct art faculty got a pay bump - from $800 per credit hour, to $1000 - but Burkett and the others want $2000 per credit hour. $2000 is about the national average, according to the American Association of University Professors.

Burkett says $2000 per credit hour would be comparable to wages at UVA and Old Dominion.

Burkett and the others say VCU is spending its money the wrong way - like a former nightclub, VCU's newest real estate purchase at a disclosed $3.5 million.

A VCU spokesperson says this property is important for VCU. In the near term, it will be much-needed classroom space for the School of Arts. Space for art students and art faculty – art faculty that Mat Gasparek says leave for better pay.

"Because so many faculty come and go, there's not a wage to entice people to stay here," Gasparek said.

When asked if he would stay in Richmond to work at VCU if the pay was better, Gasparek said "absolutely."

Adjuncts Organizing for Fair Pay is a new group addressing these issues. If you'd like to get involved, there's information on its website.

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