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Like many other students, the COVID-19 pandemic threw my routine and learning environment into chaos. I spent my final year in college on Zoom, rather than learning in a classroom with my peers. When schools were forced to move college classes online in March 2020, we had just days to get used to this new system.

While there has been some acknowledgement of the difficulties that students have had the last two years, the struggles of higher education staff have been largely overlooked. Faculty have had to adjust to an entirely new model of education with only a few weeks to prepare. Some schools cut staff due to lower enrollment, leaving remaining staff members to do the work of two or three people. Although it has been nearly two years since the start of the pandemic, many schools have still not hired more professors to relieve the workload. In addition, many adjunct professors do not receive benefits because, on paper, they are part-time. However, with office hours, grading and the many other responsibilities that come with teaching, their schedules are full-time.

Collective bargaining is essential for Colorado’s higher-education staff so that college students can have healthy, properly paid professors who have the capacity and resources to help their students reach their full potential. Thirty-one states give higher-education employees the right to unionize; research shows that this proves effective not only for college staff members, but for students and our communities as a whole. Unions in other states have advocated for student debt reform, better safety on campus and improved higher education funding. This pandemic has been tough on everyone, but some professions have not had enough support nor an advocate. Call your representatives today and tell them to support the public employee collective bargaining bill.

Danielle Ryan

Centennial

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