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At CCV, Something’s Boiling in the Sugar House

by P.D. Lesko

Polly Ellerbe, Julie Waters, Heather Luden and Catherine O’Callaghan all teach at the Community College of Vermont. They are not employed in the same department, and prior to 2003 had never met. Today, these four women lead the effort to unionize the over 700 part-time faculty who teach on a dozen campuses of the Community College of Vermont, as well as in the college’s distance education program. Their reasons for involving themselves in the effort to organize the adjuncts are as varied as their backgrounds and the disciplines they teach.

According to budget information supplied by the college, during fiscal 2002-2003, the institution spent $5.6 million dollars on salaries and benefits for about 150 full- and part-time staff. During the same year, the institution spent approximately $4.4 million dollars on salaries and benefits for its 700 instructors. During 2002-2003, those 700 instructors generated $9.8 million dollars in tuition revenue, or 66 percent of the college’s total $14.9 million budget.

The Community College of Vermont was founded in 1970, and accredited in 1975 by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The institution serves nearly 8,000 students annually. What makes the Community College of Vermont stand out

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