Updated on Friday Dec. 6 at 6:22 p.m. to include new quotes.
The Kernodle family has decided to withhold money for future projects at Elon University unless the school supports the union, John Kernodle '05 announced at a Elon Faculty Union rally.
"One real way I can encourage this administration to do the right thing and recognize this union is to say clearly that I am withholding any and all potential donations and I want the administration to know that I will not give again until this union is recognized and the bargaining process ends," Kernodle said.
Dressed in neon orange hats, buttons and brandishing signs of support community members gathered outside of Lindner Hall for the Justice for Elon Faculty Rally which was organized by current Elon students.
Kernodle felt like this decision was a call to action for other alumni to support Elon faculty and make a change.
"I was trying to figure out what I could do as an alumni to move the administration," Kernodle said. "It just seemed like that one of the few powers that alumni really have is the power of the is the power of the purse".
The rally was organized by current Elon students and was held in support of the Elon adjunct faculty union. Elon University filed an objection to the union with the National Labor Relations Board. The petition is still pending.
The philanthropic Kernodle family has their name plastered all across campus. Most notably, the Kernodle Center founded in 1997 by John R. Kernodle Sr. in recognition of John Robert Kernodle, Jr.
"It's so difficult and so deeply saddening to see that the administration still has not done the right thing and recognized this union," Kernodle said. "Elon is a part of my family and it hurts when a family member you love gets something so very, very wrong."
The family also has helped start several clinics associated with Duke Health in Elon, Burlington and Mebane. The Kernodle Clinics provide urgent care and family medicine. Kernodle says he wants the teachers to feel secure in their jobs.
"When you don't know if you are going to be asked back until a handful of days before the semester starts, how can you be expected to put down the kind of roots necessary to really become a part of the bigger community," Kernodle said.
Current Elon student Ashley Billie attended the rally in support of adjunct faculty.
"I think especially at a place like Elon where we promote a lot of global mindsets and being openminded to communication and camaraderie and all these really great values and then if were not supporting unions, that kind of goes against what Elon is teaching us," Billie said.
Billie said that what the Kernodle family is doing is "powerful," and will be beneficial in the long run.
Another alumnus, and mayor of the city of Burlington, Ian Baltutis '08 attended and spoke at the protest. He told Elon News Network that he went to the protest as a mayor in the community as well as an alumni.
"I value the quality and the culture of our campus and exactly what the faculty are fighting for is in support of that campus community that I loved as a students and I want future generations of students to love as well," Baltutis said.
Alumni supporters of the union disrupted the ElonLEADS event while President Book was giving remarks in Raleigh on Wednesday night at the Pavilion at the Angus Barn. Alumni Daniela Sostaita'17 and Lindsey Jordan'19 held a sign stating "ElonLEADS... in fighting its faculty!"
According to Sostaita people were "rolling their eyes, kind of laughing us off." Sostaita said that President Book addressed the faculty union and said the administration is handling it respectfully.
Sostaita said that what adjunct professors have done for alumni like her and current students is one of the reasons why she supports the union.
"When we're relying on their labor to do all the these things like mentor students and teach our classes and be a part of things on campus, and when we're not compensating them barely, I just think that's not okay."