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Catholic College: Adjuncts Must Support its ‘Mission’

by Samantha Watkins

Catholic intellectual tradition can be applied to anything

A Catholic university’s three-year fight against the National Labor Relations Board has spooked some of its faculty, who believe a footnote in a school filing is a direct threat to their jobs.

Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, which is affiliated with the Spiritan order, is trying to exempt itself from an NLRB decision last year that said a religious college could not unilaterally stop its adjunct faculty from unionizing.

Though the school initially agreed to the union election and NLRB’s authority in May 2012, less than three weeks later Duquesne reversed course and asked the agency to withdraw its jurisdiction over the school, pointing to its religious mission, The New York Times reported then.

When the NLRB’s Pittsburgh office ruled against Duquesne in June, citing last December’s ruling against Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), the school president blasted the “secular government agency” for “determining whether we are religious enough by their own standards,” as The College Fix noted.

The dispute boils down to whether the part-time adjunct faculty seeking to unionize have religious duties inherent in their positions.

Duquesne’s mission statement says it “serves God by serving students through commitment

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  • AdjunctNation Editorial Team: @Jeffr thanks for pointing out the distinction.
  • Jeffr: Note that adjunct faculty are considered to be on a “term” basis and receives no protection except...
  • Scott: I believe Sami is correct in that this no reasonable assurance language will allow adjuncts continuing access...
  • Nancy West-Diangelo: It’s as if we’ve lost the ability to listen critically. If the point of the work we...
  • Freddi-Jo Bruschke: An excellent description of this editorial.