One of the lies that allows for adjuncts to be so grossly underpaid is that we “work” only in the classroom. What a big, fat lie. It is important to publicize the truth: we work as hard as full-timers, and we should be paid as well. We plan lessons, develop curriculum, evaluate student work, hold office hours, attend conferences, attend meetings, do committee work, participate in shared governance, answer emails, read emails, read professional journals, publish and hold down two jobs to get paid half as much as our full-time counterparts (who deserve their pay; so do adjuncts). All efforts to record our work should be supported. Adjunct Action has developed a survey to record and ultimately publish data to demonstrate how much work we do. The information generated by this kind of survey can help us argue for justice: equal pay as well as qualifying for student loan forgiveness, for example. Take the survey: http://action.seiu.org/page/content/office-hours-2/
I just received my copy of the Front Range Community College chapter of the AAUP’s The Adjunct Cookbook and I think it’s so cool! Only $7.50 (%)
In the first few pages: “Make the invisible visible.” A quote from Gandhi!
Adjunct invisibility is one of the big problems. Not only do full-timers fail to “see” adjuncts, we fail to see ourselves…as oppressed, that is. Why? Because to see oneself as oppressed would be to see oneself as a victim, and the stigma against seeing yourself as a victim in America is deep. I was talking to a fellow adjunct whom I just met today about Campus Equity Week at San Diego Mesa College and, when I explained that the event was to publicize the low pay of adjuncts in the district and in San Diego, her response was that healthcare benefits at Mesa made the overall pay the best for adjuncts in the region. While this is probably true (thanks to the AFT), adjunct pay is dismal when compared to full-time pay. It took a minute, but I think I made my fellow adjunct realize that she should demand equal pay. The point I want to make is that we tend to rationalize the best scenario…things could be worse…rather than demand justice,not because we don’t want justice, but because we feel powerless.
And the Gilded Grilled Cheese sounds quite tasty, although i would probably substitute jalapenos…
We are on the frontline of the corporatization of higher education. We are taking the brunt of the attack…we live less-than lives, with less-than careers, and never pay back our student loans.
Another great quote in The Adjunct Cookbook, from Marc Bousquet’s How the University Works: Higher Education and the Low-Wage Nation, describes how weak the frontline troops are: “Flexible teachers cannot afford to provide an obstacle to the advancing administrative ideal of an ultimately education-free transfer of cash for course credits.” So, the corporatizers’ plan is working: those who would naturally be the leaders of resistance are disempowered and rendered incapable of resisting because they are trying to cobble together a living and a career professing in a system that exploits their love of teaching and commitment to education. Between the teaching, the flying up and down the freeway, and the having a life thing, who has time or power to resist? The precariat adjunct…
In the words of Chomsky: “It’s a part of a corporate business model designed to reduce labor costs and to increase labor servility. When universities become corporatized, as has been happening quite systematically over the last generation as part of the general neoliberal assault on the population, their business model means that what matters is the bottom line.” Which is why the administrative line is “no money!” And why education, especially the community college system is defunded.
The “temp” employees of higher education, those upon whose backs the labor cost is lowered, the adjunct lives as “‘precariat,’ living a precarious existence.”
The Adjunct Cookbook is more than a cookbook; it is adjunct resistance literature. It is way cool. Get your copy today!
This article from Guernica, by Rachel Riederer, lays out the whole picture of the adjunctification machine, locating the phenomenon within the larger societal shift towards a temporary, disposable workforce which, in higher eduction, has resulted in two separate classes, the privileged tenure-track and the precariat adjunct. She describes the human cost to both professors and students. Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions. When adjuncts are exploited and oppressed, when their pay is so dismal that they can’t afford to pay for their student loans and they live paycheck to paycheck, how can they be expected to offer students an equal educational opportunity? Who will answer her piercing question: “If teaching is a supplementary rather than essential part of college, why go?” https://www.guernicamag.com/features/the-teaching-class/
AFT 1931 is holding Campus Equity Week in San Diego this year at campuses in the San Diego Community College District and Grossmont Community College District. Although not by AFT, Campus Equity Week events will be held at Southwestern College as well.
In the SDCCD, adjuncts have two things that adjuncts across the nation are struggling for: healthcare benefits and a job security agreement (it needs some tweaking, but there it is). The third thing that can make AFT 1931 a model is to adopt a pay schedule similar to AFT 2121 at San Francisco City College (a great model), where adjuncts are paid 85% of a full-time wage.
Let’s move in the direction of EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK!
Originally posted on Academic Avenger:
Today’s adventure was inspired by the current debate about “civility” and academic freedom, including but not limited to
- the decision by Chancellor Phyllis Wise at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to revoke a written job offer of a tenured professorship made to Steven G. Salaita, whose comments on Twitter regarding Israel’s actions in Gaza she judged insufficiently civil (the job offer later moved forward to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, where it was rejected by a vote of 8-1)
- the e-mail by Chancellor Nicholas Dirks at the University of California at Berkeley to faculty, staff and students to mark the 50th anniversary of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement noting that civility is a prerequisite for free speech
For a little historical perspective on the matter, I also recommend Matthew Bunn’s article “Civility and Speech in the Modern University, 200 Years Ago in Germany”
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Just thinking about it makes me hungry!
By publishing a cookbook like no other, instructors at Front Range Community College (FRCC) are teaching peers, students, parents, and others in the community about a situation that has reached a boiling point. Interspersed amid dozens of what the authors call “food bank-friendly concoctions,” the text is a primer in how the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is slicing, dicing and shredding collegiate-level teaching. Many pages of research, audit charts and budget breakdowns document what the authors say is a recipe for catastrophe for the 163,000 Colorado students looking to those colleges for learning. FRCC has campuses in Longmont, Westminster, Ft. Collins and Brighton.
Included are recipe categories such as “The Frappes of Wrath” and “Nobucks Coffee Drinks.” Recipes calling for beef scraps, bruised tomatoes, orange peelings and chicken bones point to a workforce living on the edge. “Cracked Windshield” is a mint drink based on cracked Lifesaver candies. “If…
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Palomar College adjuncts are taking the lead in trying to achieve some justice. This effort, if successful, could be a model for the nation. Please sign this petition.