New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Guest Essay: A letter from NYU’s adjunct union to president Mills

Following changes to adjuncts’ schedules, their union is demanding that NYU restore all adjunct teaching positions.
Samson Tu
File photo: The ACT-UAW Local 7902 union at a rally in April 2022. (Samson Tu for WSN)

An Open Letter to Linda Mills, President, New York University:

We appreciate your commitment to leading by listening to the diverse voices of the university. We took it to heart when, in the March 30, 2023 issue of the Washington Square News, you said that you “believe that all employees of NYU, unionized or otherwise, should be treated with dignity,” and that “NYU respects and values their contributions.” In the spirit of creating a healthy environment of belonging for our students and the entire NYU community, we, the undersigned, call on you to listen to the concerns of the adjunct faculty.

Adjuncts make up approximately a third of the NYU faculty. They are at the core of the collegiate experience. Through their labor and devotion to their students, colleagues, departments and schools, adjuncts make vital contributions to making NYU the sterling institution it is.

After decades of scandalously low wages, last fall adjuncts won a historic contract, finally moving closer to a living wage, recognition of the extensive work that adjuncts perform outside of the classroom and a modicum of job security.

With the ink on the contract barely dry, NYU is stripping numerous adjuncts of the little bit of job security that was gained. We are deeply concerned and stand with the many adjunct faculty who have already lost either all or some portion of their teaching assignments for the fall 2023 semester. NYU can afford to honor the contract to which it agreed without eliminating adjunct jobs. From the reports we have received and patterns we have observed since May, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that the university has chosen a course of action that is creating a culture of fear among the adjunct population. These actions hurt the entire NYU community.

With these sudden and unnecessary developments, the administration sends a punishing message by chipping away at adjuncts’ hard-won gains. Adjunct faculty are hard-working, highly qualified, talented and dedicated to our students and to NYU. Adjuncts deserve the same respect and care that they bring to their teaching.

We demand that NYU:

  1. Adequately fund its schools to pay adjunct faculty;
  2. Restore jobs that it has taken from adjuncts;
  3. Honor adjuncts’ right to job security.

Finally, we ask that you honor adjuncts’ contributions to the university by meeting with members of the adjunct faculty to discuss how adjuncts’ needs can be addressed.


Over 1,850 have signed on as of Sept. 19, 2023
(Over 800 NYU adjuncts, 100 FT faculty, 90 staff, 200 undergraduate students, over 200 alumni, over 50 graduate students, parents and emeritus professors and several hundred academic, union allies, and community members.)

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact the opinion desk at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Samson Tu
Samson Tu, Magazine Managing Editor
Samson Tu is finishing his B.A. degree in politics with a thesis on the state of civil society development in the People's Republic of China. Synthesizing his experience in journalism and training in politics, Samson is going to attend the NYU School of Law after his undergraduate to study intellectual property law. Samson attempts to make sense of Heidegger and Sartre or edits photographs on his 15-hour flight between New York and Taipei. He always prefers the flights to New York. Send an email to [email protected] for ideas about WSN's monthly magazine issues!

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