There are over 218,000 students and 20,000 faculty members at 28 Jesuit institutions across the United States. Once a middle-class job, nearly a majority of college and university faculty are now working part-time for very low pay, isolated from colleagues without job security, benefits or even office space. Jesuit institutions are no different, in fact, more than half (53 percent) of instructional faculty at Jesuit colleges and universities are now non-tenure track.
Because of these striking contradictions between Jesuit mission and practice, faculty and students across the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities have been organizing for inclusion and a voice in the campus community, improved working conditions and job security -- all in service to students and the rich traditions of Jesuit social justice. While some Jesuit institutions like Georgetown have chosen to embrace their mission and allow faculty a voice in the educational decision making, other institutions like Seattle University have chosen to hide behind their religious association to deny faculty their fundamental right of free association in pursuit of justice, standing in stark contrast to the fundamental mission of Jesuit education.
We need a dramatic change in priorities at Jesuit colleges and universities that reflects the traditional Jesuit commitment to social justice. We, the undersigned faculty, students, staff and allies, call on the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, as the national organization that represents all institutions of Jesuit higher education, to resolve this conflict of mission and identity by adopting a national fair and just employment policy and by committing to a real dialogue with Jesuit faculty. The AJCU should establish a national faculty council that has the authority to ensure a voice, respect and inclusion in the Jesuit university community.