The Boldly Elon Solidarity Collective, a self-declared non-partisan student group, protested at Elon Day events including College Coffee on March 2 to raise awareness about the faculty union, Elon Faculty Forward. Elon Day is a day dedicated to fundraising for university advancement.
Last week the National Labor Relations Board voted to reaffirm Elon University's non tenure track faculty right to unionize. With the NLRB decision, the university and faculty union now have a right to bargain.
A group of students gathered in front of Fonville Fountain outside of the Alamance to protest allegations that the university has continued to seek services from Ogletree Deakins law firm to combat the faculty union. Ogletree has represented the university throughout the faculty unionization process. The firm has a wide variety of practice areas, including labor disputes, union campaign litigation and affirmative action compliance.
Members of the collective said they believe that money donated on Elon Day is going towards the university’s legal fees.
“We don’t know the amount for sure, but as an organization believe that any amount spent towards appealing a democratically elected union is unacceptable,” junior and member of Boldly Elon Trinity Dixon said.
Despite the group’s claims that Elon Day donations are going towards legal fees, John Barnhill, associate vice president for university advancement, said the majority of the gifts include scholarships. People can donate directly to schools and organizations.
“If you want to see where the money goes, look around and that's where the money goes,” Barnhill said “It benefits students at Elon.”
Barnhill said that over the last seven years of Elon Day, the school has been able to raise over $9.5 million. This annual event aims to inspire “the Elon family around the world to support students by coming together and making gifts of every size.”
Dixon said she wants to make sure donations that are made to the university to support students.
“We want the donations and our tuition to go towards us, the students, and not a law firm used for union busting,” Dixon said.