P-Fac fight for Vallera

By Alexandra Kukulka

P-Fac, Columbia’s part-time faculty union, has alleged in written statements that its president and adjunct faculty member in the Photography Department Diana Vallera is to be disciplined by Columbia for claiming that the General Counsel’s office had her under surveillance.This became the subject of a report Vallera filed with the Evanston police in January 2012.

Vallera filed an unfair labor practice suit against the administration on these grounds on March 16, which the National Labor Relations Board dismissed on June 29 as “lacking sufficient evidence.”

According to press releases the union sent pit Aug. 16, 18, 20 and 22, Interim Provost Louise Love had scheduled a meeting with Vallera on Aug. 17, later moved to Aug. 24 to discuss possible disciplinary action. However, both meetings were postponed, with no meeting scheduled as of press time and no explanation as to why.

Both the administration and Vallera declined to speak on the matter, saying, “The situation is currently in a limbo,” Vallera said.

However, the Steering Committee, P-Fac’s bargaining group, wrote a  statement on her behalf, stating: “The P-Fac Steering Committee regards the General Counsel’s misconduct accusation against P-Fac President Diana Vallera as unfounded, retaliatory and unlawful. We call upon Interim Provost Louise Love to officially end this campaign of intimidation and to focus the administration’s time, energy and money on negotiating a fair contract with the faculty union without delay.”

P-Fac called on the Columbia community to “show [its] support” by sending emails to Love and calling on “the administration to stop harassing, intimidating and coercing Vallera” according to the Aug. 16 press release.

The United Staff of Columbia College, joined P-Fac in its denunciation of the administration, which the US of CC wrote, in an Aug. 16 letter that expressed the organization’s “deep concern” regarding the charges against Vallera. In the letter, the US of CC suggested “a more collaborative [community] based on true transparency and mutual respect.”

The union also launched a petition on Vallera’s behalf, that received 497 signatures as of press time.

The Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education called on its members to picket the school at a meeting on Aug. 24 that was later canceled, according to P-Fac.