Wednesday, February 25, 2015

National Adjunct Walkout Day

I am on the job today, because I want to keep my job, but unless you work in a university you might be unaware of what goes on, or even who's teaching your child (or perhaps even you).

I can only speak for my uni, but I know that in many unis the situation is more or less the same, as among local universities only one offers benefits to their adjuncts.

So, just some quick facts:

Janitors and groundskeepers (who do important work, don't think I'm saying otherwise) get paid more. They have benefits, can take classes for free, and have reduced tuition for their children.

As an adjunct, I don't.

At the end of every semester, the supprt staff and full time faculty know they pretty much have their job, barring cutbacks or other circumstances.

At the end of every semester, I'm left wondering if I'll have work.

Even if I do have a job, I get paid by the class, not semester (or hour - and in my department most of the adjunct staff put in longer hours than a lot of full time faculty) which means there's no guarantee how much money I will make in the coming months.

All the support staff and faculty have a voice in uni affairs. They are consulted on surveys, have representation in the faculty senate, and in general have a say in things.

As an adjunct, I don't.

All staff and full time faculty have access to support services like counseling, insurance counseling, etc.

As an adjunct, I don't.

All this and yet at an increasing number of universities around the US, including my own, adjuncts teach a preponderance of classes. We keep departments staffed, students educated, and the university functioning.

And we are the very last consideration of anything the university does. We were even told by an admin that we were "a dime a dozen" as he out-of-hand dismissed not only our concerns about the students, but our ideas, our contributions.

So I have not walked off today, because I would not have a job tomorrow if I did.

But that doesn't mean I don't think things need to change.

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