Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Faculty continues ongoing fight for better opportunity

Ethan Ortiz
Signs were left outside of the president’s office after the first board of trustees meeting of the year. Negotiations are ongoing between the board and the faculty federation. Photo credit: Ethan Ortiz

Money makes the world go round, and it is no different when discussing faculty wages at Cerritos College.

For a number of months, faculty has been looking to get raises or opportunities to go back to school so they can get a higher education that would ensure a better pay.

At one of the last board of trustees meetings of 2015, Dianne Pirtle, sociology professor, was vocal in making sure that the board was aware of the issues brought up by faculty.

In the first board meeting of 2016 professors Michelle Lewellen and Solomon Namala spoke about the wages and brought charts he made to visually express the different wages the school’s faculty can have.

The charts showed that professors would need to take a certain amount of units and essentially more than one degree to get to a higher salary.

For many faculty, going back to school and getting another degree is not an option.

They are not able to go back to school for a number of reasons.

Some of the reasons include not being able to afford going back to school and not having time to go back due to having to teach classes and earn a paycheck.

For psychology professor Michelle Lewellen, much like everyone else, she can’t afford to go back to school, and isn’t too happy about the current wages.

“I never thought I was going to get rich doing this job, I didn’t think I was gonna be wealthy, but I did think that I would be able to support myself,” she said.

She continued by stating that taking on a regular teaching load is not enough to pay her mortgage and bills on her own.

“When you go to school, which costs money, you get an advanced degree, which costs money, plus you bring all this knowledge to the school, you should be compensated for doing that.

“With the education I have and the service I have given to Cerritos, I should be able to support myself, by myself,” Lewellen stated.

President of Cerritos College Dr. Fierro spoke about the current status of the on going negotiations for faculty wages.

“Right now they’re getting ten percent, full time faculty, over three years, but we haven’t heard back.

“Negotiations are with the faculty federation, […], there’s a group of people that negotiate on behalf of the district and report to me and the board,” Fierro said.

He went to discuss the board of trustees and how he felt they were handling the situation.

“The board I believe, has been quite generous on the package, ten percent over three years is a lot of money,” he said.

Regarding the charts that Professor Namala presented at the board meeting, Dr. Fierro agreed that the numbers were accurate, however felt that the full compensation was missing.

“What isn’t fully accurate is that those are the basic salaries, so full time faculty gets the opportunity to teach above and beyond.

“Their salaries have the option to increase about 40% based on what they teach above their base,” he stated.

Negotiations are still happening, and for Professor Lewellen, she hopes they end well, not only for her benefit, but the school’s.

She stated, “When you look at the nine local colleges, we (Cerritos College), are sitting at number seven, and what that means is that the six schools above us are getting the better faculty.

“So if we put a job announcement out for a geologist, and so does El Camino, if they get both jobs, they are going to go to El Camino, which means we don’t get the talent here that we should get, because we are not compensating our faculty for the training and the knowledge they’re bringing to Cerritos.”

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About the Contributor
Ethan Ortiz, Editor in Chief
Hi! My name is Ethan and I am serving as the Editor-In-Chief for the Fall 2016 semester. I am a journalism major and love to write stories for the newspaper. In addition to writing hard hitting news, I like to create fictional stories on the side. I am co-hosting a radio show on WPMD at Cerritos College called "Beyond the Ropes" happening Wednesday at 11am. I like to listen different music, mostly Rock/Alternative and some of my favorite bands are Silversun Pickups, Cage the Elephant, and Metallica. If you want to know more about me feel free to tweet me at @EthanEnvy95.
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Faculty continues ongoing fight for better opportunity