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Faculty rally, deliver Living Wage petition

325 professors sign document endorsing movement, 17 march with students to present demands to Pres. Teresa Sullivan

Living Wage campaigners presented a petition to University President Teresa Sullivan's office yesterday afternoon, which called for the University to introduce a living wage for all University employees.

The University has until Feb. 17 to address the group's requests or the Living Wage Campaign will take further steps to highlight the hundreds of people who are not being paid a living wage, fourth-year College student Hunter Link said.

The list demands the University implement a living wage of at least $11.44 an hour to reflect mounting living expenses. The University must also guarantee employees' rights to job security and humane working conditions, and it also must institute a Living Wage Oversight Board.

Religious Studies Prof. Cynthia Hoehler-Fatton addressed the crowd on the steps of Madison Hall as a representative of the Faculty Support Committee for the campaign. She is one of the more than 325 University faculty members who signed the petition.

"We cannot aspire to be the caring community that President Sullivan envisions when we turn a blind eye to the fact that our custodial staff, dining service workers and some of our hospital employees are not earning enough to cover their basic necessities," she said.

Living Wage activists expect the faculty support will help their demands gain additional momentum, said Emily Filler, a Graduate Arts & Sciences student and Living Wage activist.

"The main thing we want to do is to remind the University that we have faculty support, as well as student support," Filler said.

Demands made by the Living Wage Campaign to the Board of Visitors, however, have repeatedly been rebuffed or ignored, Link said.

"Despite widespread public support for a living wage policy, the practical as well as ethical merits of such a policy have never been seriously considered by University administrators," Hoehler-Fatton said.

Filler said she hoped the wide support from the faculty would put greater pressure on the administration and contribute to the movement's success.

"We sincerely hope that the step we are taking in issuing this petition will be taken seriously, for we are very, very serious in delivering it," Hoehler-Fatton said.

Seventeen signing faculty members participated in a rally organized by the Living Wage Campaign which preceded the formal delivery of the petition.