CHICAGO — The Illinois First District Appellate Court upheld a decision of the Illinois Education Labor Relations Board, which had ruled Moraine Valley Community College had violated labor relations rules when it fired an adjunct faculty member who criticized the college in a letter to an organization that was reviewing the school.
The ruling was “an unpublished order issued by the Illinois First District Appellate Court under Supreme Court Rule 23, which limits its use as precedent,” the court said.
Robin Meade, who had been an adjunct faculty member at Moraine Valley Community College since 2003, was fired for sending a letter to the League for Innovation in the Community College in August 2013.
In the letter, Meade said that the school consistently treated adjunct faculty members as a “disposable resource" that do not make a living wage, have access to health care and are often left to fend for themselves.
“[A] request was made for me and other union leaders by the administration at [the college] for a letter supporting the college," Meade said. "At the time, I declined because it is the position of the [Moraine Valley Adjunct Faculty Organization] that the college is not innovative toward adjuncts. Not only is the college not innovative toward adjuncts, the college considers the adjuncts a disposable resource to such extent: Adjuncts are considered a separate, lower class of people."
Meade referenced 20 adjunct faculty members she had worked with over the course of 10 years who “had been refused classes without justification despite their history of teaching innovatively.”
The order found that Meade’s letter was not maliciously untrue and did not lose its protection under the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act.