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UCF faculty call for raises amidst affordable housing crisis, rising inflation

Students, faculty and staff call on UCF to give professors raises.
Danielle Prieur
Students, faculty and staff call on UCF to give professors raises.

About 50 professors, staff and students protested outside Millican Hall on the University of Central Florida campus on Wednesday, April 17, to call for raises for faculty.

The United Faculty of Florida UCF chapter said the university has denied faculty raises this year, despite hiring additional advisors and coaches to support student success on campus.

UFF UCF President Robert Cassanello said it’s hard to understand why this money would not have been used to support faculty already on the payroll. He worries the university will continue to lose faculty and staff as they can’t afford to live in Orlando.

“And for people here, there's a high standard of living in Orlando, rents are going up, home insurance is going up. And people are feeling that. And even though we might have gotten meager raises the last couple of years, they weren't enough to outpace the standard of living here in Orlando,” Cassanello said.

Students write letters to President Cartwright.
Danielle Prieur
Students write letters to President Cartwright, calling on him to give faculty raises.

UCF Film Studies Professor Lisa Mills said she’s worked at the university for 24 years, and she’s never seen faculty as demoralized as they are right now.

Some faculty can’t even afford to live near the campus. Some have decided to leave UCF entirely.

“I’m most concerned about our junior faculty. We have faculty that are unable to get an apartment much less buy a house in Central Florida because the cost of living has gone up so much,” Mills said.

Professors also spoke out against a new checklist that faculty are being required to fill out to make sure their classes align with a law that prohibits spending on DEI on college campuses.

Students mail letters to President Cartwright as part of the protest.
Danielle Prieur
Students mail letters to President Cartwright as part of the protest.

UCF says it’s taking steps to develop a university-wide raise program that employees will see in their paychecks no later than early Fall 2024.

“We recognize the pressure inflation is having on our people, and while higher prices also increase the university’s cost of doing business, we are committed to making the decisions necessary to recruit and retain outstanding faculty and staff,” the university said in an e-mailed statement. “Any salary adjustments for union-represented employees will be subject to collective bargaining, consistent with our established protocols.”

Watch people send their letters to President Cartwright here:

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.
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