Students, faculty protest Pacific Northwest College of Art's hir - KPTV - FOX 12

Students, faculty protest Pacific Northwest College of Art's hiring, financial practices

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College students at a local art school are protesting what they call "unethical labor practices".

Pacific Northwest College of Art students are demanding higher wages and better treatment for faculty. Along with alumni and faculty members, students marched from the North Park blocks to the PNCA building on Northwest Broadway Tuesday morning.

PNCA's Interim President told FOX 12 they don't feel they are violating anything in terms of financial or hiring practices.

Most of PNCA's instructors work part-time. They're hired on a semester-by-semester basis and protestors say they are not paid well.

Many instructors will not be hired back for the fall term due to less classes on the schedule. Students plan to protest every day until the college reinstates faculty members who aren't being hired back.

PNCA moved into the renovated old post office building a year and a half ago, and students said they've had problems with the building, including inadequate space and poor ventilation.

"It is not functional to the needs of students and faculty here. This is supposed to be a flagship college. It is not," said PNCA student BriAnna Rosen. "It treats the adjunct faculty poorly even though they give their hearts and souls to the students, and to the programs, and to the ideals that the school should be going at."

Interim President Casey Mills sent a letter to students that read, in part: "I want to reiterate my understanding that the protest relates to the practices for retaining or not part-time faculty for the fall semester. I believe the protesters to have positive intentions, and I welcome a constructive dialogue going forward."

Mills told FOX 12 he wants to speak with protesters about hiring for the fall semester, and he recognizes there needs to be a larger conversation about their part-time hiring structure.

The school also issued a statement.

PNCA believes that an arts education transforms lives. And we know that faculty are the heart of this education. They are what make PNCA special. The college is what it is today because of the extraordinary professors who have nurtured young artists here for the past 100 years. We value the passion of our students and faculty, and we look forward to resolving these issues with respect and empathy for all involved.

Mills also said, the pay for the instructors is low but the amount PNCA pays is on par with other schools in Portland.

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