Duke professors fight for equal benefits

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Duke university professors are fighting for equality.

The university has two main types of professors – regular and non-regular.

Regular professors are considered full times and receive full benefits. Non-regular are first brought in to a work for a semester and not meant to be full time.

“We represent Duke in the classroom like any other faculty. When we walk into our classroom, we feel like we are held to the highest standards and we deliver at those high standards,” said lecturing fellow Peter Pihos.

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Non-regular professors have contracts, which renew periodically. But some of them work for the university for substantial amounts of time, in some case as long as five years straight.

Non-regular professors don’t get the same benefits and time off as regular professors.

“I wasn’t able to take leave, paid or unpaid, when my daughter was born this past fall,” Pihos said. “Rather than creating new tenure track jobs, universities have been trying to cut costs by placing all the risk onto people with PhDs, people who teach.”

For three years, Pihos has been a contingent faculty member.

On Tuesday, negotiations were discussed between the professors and the university.

In a statement to CBS North Carolina, Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration said:

“The parties have been, and will continue to negotiate in good faith. We remain optimistic that we will reach an agreement.”

Without an agreement, Pihos has been using his time to apply for jobs.

“If we’re able to move beyond contingency, and I can stay here, I can really be working on finishing my book, and working with my students, being more involved on campus,” Pihos said.

Until then, he and 300 others are worried about their future.

The group of faculty members will have a rally on Friday to fight for an extra $6 million in benefits over the next 3 years.

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