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Virginia Commonwealth University adjuncts demand 172% pay increase

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Roughly 100 Virginia Commonwealth University instructors are demanding what many adjuncts across the state want: a fair wage. Pay for adjunct instructors would more than double if requests are met.

Adjunct instructors marched last week through campus to VCU President Michael Rao’s office to deliver their demands, which include a meeting with Rao on March 19 and a response by March 30.

Virginia Commonwealth University Adjuncts Organizing for Fair walk together to VCU President Michael Rao’s office to physically present him a letter of their demands. Richmond, Virginia. Photo by Capital News Service.

Tom Burkett, a founder of VCU Adjuncts for Fair Pay, is an adjunct instructor at the VCU School of the Arts.


“We just kind of look at our pay as really a kind of one defining thing that can bring up the quality of life and the accessibility of teaching at the higher education level,” Burkett said.

The group delivered demands to the president’s office on March 4 because certain in-person and hybrid classes at the university began that day, Burkett said.

VCUarts employees first launched the group in 2017 because the majority of instructors at the School of Arts are adjuncts, Burkett said. VCUarts adjuncts comprise 51% of instructors, according to

VCUarts spokesperson Teresa Engle Ilnicki. The university employed 691 adjunct faculty members this semester and 3,193 total faculty members last fall, according to VCU spokesperson Chris Katella.

VCU Adjuncts for Fair Pay is making demands for all university adjuncts, not just VCUarts instructors. Burkett said the movement was revamped because of the lack of living wage for adjunct instructors. VCUarts adjuncts were paid $800 per credit hour in 2017 and the group demanded an increase to $2,000 per credit hour, according to a letter addressed to Rao. Most classes at VCU are three credit hours.

“We saw a small pay increase, but nothing that substantially met a livable wage,” Burkett said.

The base pay is the same for graduate and undergraduate adjunct instructors and increased from $1,000 to $1,100 over a year ago, according to VCU spokesperson Michael Porter. VCU budgeted almost $400 million on all instruction for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, according to the university’s budget.

VCU Adjuncts for Fair Pay group now demands an increase in base pay from $1,100 per credit hour to $3,000 per credit hour, which is a 172% increase. The requested pay increase would bump adjuncts with a maximum teaching load above what some full-time faculty earn.

VCU Adjuncts for Fair Pay, who want demands met by next semester, asked for a one-year contract for adjuncts. The group requested $1,000 compensation for cancelled classes because of the labor that goes into development. The group also pushed for a policy that would limit adjunct cuts as demands are put into place.

VCU Adjuncts for Fair Pay also wants access to health benefits. Adjuncts are currently not eligible for health benefits, according to Porter.

VCU adjuncts can teach a maximum of nine credits, or three classes, each fall, and spring under the Manpower Control Act. Adjuncts are also eligible to teach six credits, or two classes, in the summer. If an adjunct instructor taught eight classes, they would make $26,400 per year.

The median household income in the city is just over $47,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Nearly a quarter of the city’s residents live in poverty, census data show.

Adjunct instructors acknowledge their role as part-time workers when they sign contracts, Porter stated in an email.

“Many of them enjoy the flexibility of a part-time position,” Porter stated.

Old Dominion University in Norfolk pays adjunct instructors between $1,043 to $1,263 per credit hour depending on the adjunct employee’s rank, according to ODU’s website.

Adjuncts at Virginia Tech do not have a base pay, according to Michael Copper, a compensation analyst at the university. The adjuncts are paid based on class demand and level of experience.

Burkett said the group has about 100 active members from different VCU departments who attend meetings.

“What we’re looking for is leadership that takes inequality and looks at it as a justice issue with the university and will respond,” Burkett said.

Jon Rajkovich, another member of VCU Adjuncts for Fair Pay and a VCUarts instructor, said he wants the university to become a model for paying adjuncts fairly. He is “rooted” with his family in Richmond and is committed to teaching at VCU, but he wants to see compensation for adjuncts increase.

“I think that could happen,” Rajkovich said. “Especially with the right administration in place; it’s possible but it’s an upward push.”

The petition circulated on Twitter and Instagram and gained support from the gubernatorial candidate and former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy. The group is grateful Carroll Foy supports labor movements, Burkett said.

Carroll Foy said in a statement she’s witnessed Virginia schools be denied resources and will work to ensure the quality of public education.

“This disinvestment has hurt our educators, including adjunct professors who deserve to be paid a living wage and fair benefits,” Carroll Foy stated.

VCU Adjuncts for Fair Pay plans to protest until the university meets its demands.

“It’s not about pitying us; it’s about creating systemic change at the university level,” Burkett said.

By Katharine DeRosa
Capital News Service

Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.

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Virginia Department of Elections announces results for the 2022 Risk-Limiting Audit of the 2021 November General Election

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The Virginia Department of Elections’ (ELECT) Commissioner Christopher Piper announced today that Virginia’s election administrators have successfully completed the 2022 Risk-Limiting Audit (RLA) of the 2021 November General Election.

During a live drawing held at the December 13 meeting of the State Board of Elections (SBE), the SBE randomly selected the 75th and 13th House of Delegates Districts for audit. The audit began on January 3 and concluded on January 20. The participating localities in the 2022 Risk-Limiting Audit included:

  • House of Delegates 75th District – Brunswick, Emporia City, Franklin City, Greensville, Lunenburg, Southampton and Sussex
  • House of Delegates 13th District – Prince William County and Manassas Park City

The audit confirmed with over 99% confidence that Otto Wachsmann was the winner of the House of Delegates 75th District contest and Danica Roem was the winner of the House of Delegates 13th District race.

“Once again, Virginia’s election administrators have successfully demonstrated their experience and dedication to ensuring secure and reliable election results by using the audit process,” said Christopher Piper, Virginia’s Commissioner of Elections. “The success of these audits is reliant upon the guidance of our local election leaders.”


Pursuant to Va. Code §24.2-671.1, ELECT is required to coordinate an annual post-election RLA of ballot scanner machines used in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  RLAs utilize statistical principles to empirically prove that the voting system software accurately reported the results of an election.

The 2022 Risk-Limiting Audit Report of the 2021 November General Election will be available to the public in March.

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Governor Youngkin announces School Choice Proclamation

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On January 26, 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced this week as School Choice week, and issued a proclamation highlighting the importance of school choice for Virginia’s students and parents.

“As your governor, I will continually stand up for students and parents and will sign the largest education budget in Virginia’s history. Our goal is that every student will graduate high school ready to go to college or start a great career. Choice and innovation within public education is vital to achieving that goal. That’s why together we will not only raise standards and raise teacher pay, but we will invest $150 million to kick start 20 new charter schools in the Commonwealth. We must empower parents and students with choice and innovation in K-12 public education,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Read a full copy of the School Choice proclamation below.

Virginia School Choice Week


WHEREAS, all children in Virginia should have access to a high quality public education; and,

WHEREAS, Virginia recognizes the important role that a quality education plays in preparing all students in Virginia for success in life; and,

WHEREAS, quality education is critically important to the economic vitality and vibrancy of the communities of the Commonwealth; and,

WHEREAS, students have different needs and learning styles and a monolithic delivery of education does not serve the myriad needs of families;

WHEREAS, Virginia currently has only 7 charter schools, but its neighboring state of North Carolina has close to 200 and the District of Columbia has 123; and,

WHEREAS, School Choice Week is celebrated across the country by millions of students, parents, educators, schools, and organizations to raise awareness of the need for effective educational options.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Glenn Youngkin, do hereby recognize January 23 – January 29, 2022

as VIRGINIA SCHOOL CHOICE WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and

I call this observance to the attention of all of our citizens, and proclaim that:

Virginia must empower parents by creating innovation within K-12 public schools to best adapt to the needs of Commonwealth’s students; and,

Virginia is committed to increasing education options for its youth by seeking $150 million to help meet a goal of starting at least 20 new public charter schools in the Commonwealth; and,

Virginia will build partnerships between the Commonwealth and our great universities to create lab schools of excellence; and,

Virginia will raise education standards to elevate students to high performing levels and reinstitute merit-based acceptance to Governor’s and magnet schools; and,

Virginia will empower parents to make choices about the educational needs of their children.

 

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Virginia Department of Elections releases post-elections report

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Recently, the Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT) released its annual post-election report for the 2021 November General Election; this report not only generates a historical record of the election, but it also highlights its successes and areas where improvements could be made.

The November 2021 General Election continued to pose the same challenges election administrators faced in November 2020: an ongoing global health pandemic and a monumental dissemination of misinformation and disinformation about the legitimacy of the electoral process.

Following each November General Election since 2018, ELECT has produced this report to highlight several areas of work done in 2021 to include law and regulatory changes impacting the administration of elections, participation in the election, key challenges/major issues, and election administration tasks completed.

The report also spotlights initiatives such as Virginia’s successful Voter Education and Outreach Campaign and collaborating with partners such as Virginia’s Medical Reserve Corps as well as the United States Postal Service to help mitigate challenges brought on by issues such as COVID-19.


“ELECT produces the post-election report annually to reinforce our agency’s continued commitment to transparency” said Christopher Piper, Virginia Department of Elections’ Commissioner. “We are proud to be able to document the work that the Commonwealth’s election administrators, electoral board members, and ELECT staff do to conduct secure and accurate elections in Virginia.”

The post-election report was presented by Commissioner Piper at the January 18 meeting of the State Board of Elections. You can find a copy of the report on ELECT’s website here.

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Governor Youngkin announces updated guidelines for parents, educators, and preK-12 schools

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On January 21, 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced updated guidelines for parents, educators, and schools per Executive Order 2, which creates a parental opt-out from mask mandates at both public and private schools in the Commonwealth. The guidelines were developed by the Virginia Department of Health and the Department of Education.

“I have said all along that we are going to stand up for parents. Executive Order 2 is not about pro-masks versus anti-mask, it’s about empowering parents. I am confident that the Virginia Supreme Court will rule in the favor of parents, reaffirming the parental rights clearly laid out in the Virginia code § 1-240.1. In the meantime, I urge all parents to listen to their principal and trust the legal process. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at helpeducation@governor.virginia.gov,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Click here to read a full copy of guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health and the Department of Education.

Click here for the constituent services page.


The updated guidance is redesigned around Governor Youngkin’s key principles of parental rights, keeping kids in the classroom five days a week, and keeping kids safe and healthy. The update guidelines:

  • Emphasizes alternative mitigation measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 including vaccination, distancing, and outbreak awareness.
  • Provides a clear decision tree for parents to review when trying to determine how to keep and return children to the classroom.
  • Strongly encourages test-to-stay and other strategies to keep and return kids to the classroom as quickly as possible
  • Gives schools practicable flexibility on contact tracing, distancing, and other strategies.
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Governor Youngkin announces legislative agenda priorities

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RICHMOND, VA—On January 21, 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced the legislation, budget amendments, and initiatives he will be supporting to further his Day One Agenda priorities.

“Today, I am proud to share the more than 59 pieces of legislation and a package of more than 25 budget amendments that I will be supporting. These reflect bipartisan priorities like fully eliminating the grocery tax, doing more to train and equip our workforce, and providing funding to create 20 new innovation schools across the Commonwealth. These initiatives will make Virginia’s communities safer, restore academic excellence, lower the cost of living, and I look forward to seeing these bills come to my desk,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Click here to read the full Legislative Day One Game Plan.

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Governor Youngkin announces Covid Action Plan

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RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – On January 20, 2022, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced his COVID Action Plan concurrent with Executive Order Number Eleven to provide hospitals, health systems, nursing facilities, and other healthcare providers the tools necessary to combat COVID-19. The plan also includes issuing clear testing guidelines to prioritize the use of COVID rapid tests and marshaling further resources to encourage Virginians to get the vaccine.

“While many families have experienced tragedy over the last two years, Virginians have truly embodied the spirit of Virginia as they came together to fight a common enemy—COVID-19,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “Today’s announcements are designed to give Virginians the tools and resources needed to make the best decisions for their families, strengthen our hospital systems, and ensure a strong recovery as we encounter new challenges associated with the pandemic that has become part of our everyday life.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Marshall Plan for Virginia

Governor Glenn Youngkin will devote additional resources and efforts to encouraging the nearly 1.6 million Virginians who are still unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Data shows that people vaccinated from COVID-19 are 4 times less likely to be hospitalized than those who are not. Governor Youngkin’s actions include:


  • Directing the Secretary of Health to re-prioritize resources toward vaccine education and outreach, including expanded efforts in disproportionately unvaccinated communities.
  • Plan to host and attend COVID-19 vaccine events across the Commonwealth.
  • Working with Governors across the country to learn best practices on vaccine education.
  • Empowering Virginia with choices, not mandates.
  • Expanded Healthcare Flexibility & Support

Governor Glenn Youngkin signed Executive Order #11 to give healthcare providers flexibility and support to battle staffing shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and unconstitutional federal mandates on healthcare workers. Virginia’s hospitals and healthcare facilities are in crisis. Governor Youngkin’s actions include:

  • Allowing hospitals and nursing homes to rapidly expand bed capacity by waiving regulations.
  • Providing flexibility for qualified out-of-state nurses and healthcare professionals to practice in Virginia.
  • Creating appropriate exemptions to the scope of practice requirements to allow healthcare providers to care for patients in this difficult time.
  • Expanding the number of providers available to offer the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • Expanding flexibility, overtime hours, and availably for personal care workers.
  • Prioritized Testing Guidelines

Governor Glenn Youngkin will prioritize testing guidelines to mitigate supply-chain shortages for COVID-19 tests. The Governor will discourage mass testing for the purposes of pre-screening, discourage asymptomatic individuals from testing, and urge healthy individuals with mild symptoms to stay home and use discretion on testing. Governor Youngkin’s actions include:

  • Expedite pending orders of rapid tests.
  • Redeploy unused tests at state agencies and other non-essential facilities to schools, hospitals, and nursing facilities.
  • Directing the State Health Commissioner to issue new guidelines that prioritize the use of rapid tests for key categories including Students potentially exposed to COVID-19 who need to test to remain in school. Essential healthcare professionals and other essential workers needing to be tested to return to work. Vulnerable citizens including those in nursing facilities and over the age of 65. Those with serious medical conditions and their caregivers. Those who need to be tested after consultation with a healthcare provider.

Click here to read the full copy of Executive Order # 11.

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Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
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