PHENOMenal News- Fall 2012

Read the fall-winter issue of the PHENOM newsletter on your screen, and then let us know if you would like a batch to distribute.  It includes interesting material on adjunct faculty, student debt, State House advocacy, the Quebec student uprising, diversity, and more. Please write to us at  if you would like copies to use in your organizing.


Advocacy Day Infects State House with Higher Ed Fervor

Over 500 students, staff and faculty from almost every one of the public campuses came to the State House on March 8,  2012 with a simple powerful message: Public Higher Education is critical to the residents of Massachusetts, to our economy, and to our future, and must be adequately funded.

Adjunct Faculty Victory at UMass Lowell

by Ellen Michaud Martins, UMass Lowell

On May 18, 2012, the Adjunct Faculty at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell overwhelmingly ratified their first-ever union contract–between the University and United Auto Workers Local 1596. In voting to ratify, the adjunct faculty made history at UML and became part a growing trend of unionization in academia by adjunct professors.

Could this be the year we win progressive taxes?

by Max Page

First, the bad news.

Once again, when all the dust settled on the budget, the Governor and Legislature pushed through takeaways from public employees and continued to underfund public services, all the while refusing to ask the wealthiest members of the Commonwealth (who have been getting much wealthier) to contribute a bit more to the Common Wealth.

Students Prevail in Quebec

This is not in a far-away place or far-off time. This year, 300 miles away, hundreds of thousands of people endangered their educations and repeatedly took to the streets to preserve tuition that seems unbelievably low by U.S. standards.

Focus on Diversity Updates PHENOM Agenda

by Lisa Field

At the annual Delegate Assembly, held at UMass Boston in June, a group of delegates brought forward a proposal to increase diversity and representativeness in PHENOM. They cited several reasons for focusing the organization on diversity issues.

Nothing As Certain As Debt and Taxes

by Ferd Wulkan

The Massachusetts class of 2010 (public and private 4-year colleges) graduated with an average debt of $25,541, 12th  highest among the 50 states. 63% of students graduated with some amount of debt, 16th  most among the 50 states. Among public 4-year colleges, Westfield State had the highest percentage with debt (75%) with UML and UMD right behind (74%). Pell grants, which in 1980 covered 69 percent of public college costs, now cover less than 35 percent.