“Going with the Carnies” A Campus Equity Poem


For our poetry reading tonight I decided to write a poem about one Summer night I had when I was 16. It’s not about Adjuncting per se, but it’s about how we lead ourselves into abusive work environments, which is due to either where we’ve been, or how we don’t value ourselves.

I ask that even, if after all the exhortations I have made about doing something for Campus Equity Week, that you still have done nothing, that you at least value yourself.

You are not just the work you do, nor should it ever define you.

Going with the Carnies

Dog day turned dog night,the
summer sultry air was suffocating yet
not enough to cut the tension of getting a
paying gig after a summer of
mowing lawns for free.

Jeff and I waited in the Southgate Lot for Jason,
a guy Jeff said would pay us to help
break the carnival down.

At 9:15 the midway went dark and out
came Jason, 5'2' blue black and hard,
smiling with eyes that cut through
any pretense of care.

"You two look ready to work, that's good because
there's no time to mess around.  Along with you
I got Mike and Earl who just showed up
and if you want pay you'll have to work and
move your ass cause I'm
gonna ride you hard."

Of Mike I only remember stringy hair
like a person who wasn't there but a
shadow to Earl, matted hair, unshaven,
dressed in a stained shirt, pocket holding a
half-crushed pack of Camels--
my age and from the other side.

"Let's start with the kiddie rides--
you two pull the plating, and--we're already behind,
so GO!"

Pulling at the steel plates, with
soft hands and fingernails off the
platform of a race car ride, I
recalled a time at five and

"How come you fuckers aren't done yet?
We need to be out by two! Hump your ass,
I don't have time to fuck with you!"

And so it went from ride to ride, fingers
pinched three times collapsing awnings, hands
cut on the tilt-a-whirl, head smacked on
the octopus--no time for band-aids.

Jason gave it to us in equal parts--
ringmaster, his voice cracked with the
anger of my father, only without the
cuffings of ears--it's perhaps why I, and 
maybe Jeff too endured.  We leaped and
jerked, strained and sweat--
yet no one dared to speak.

Four hours later, we were done,
drenched, black and sore. Jason
harrumphed, sighed, and from his pocket
pulled a thick wad of dollar bills, counting off
eight bills for us four each like a 
seasoned cook peeling an onion.

"Sorry I rode you hard, but then
you should know how it is.  Say...
you guys, you're not so bad,
I could use a team like you."

We walked away, but as we did I
looked back at Earl, now sitting in the
carny van.  Our eyes met just as it rolled
into the black and gone.

I still don't know what I saw.


Campus Equity Week 2019 Facebook Campaign

Hi All:

Whether you have something going on for Campus Equity on your campus or not, you can still make a Campus Equity Week Statement via Facebook.  Below is a campaign put together by Bobbie-Lee Smart, a Sociology Adjunct out of Cerritos College in Southern LA:

For Campus Equity Week my local decided on a social media campaign and I encourage everyone to participate if they can or feel comfortable doing so.  First there is a Facebook frame, which can be changed for the week, a day, or longer.  If you click on you Facebook photo to edit it, there is an option to add a frame.  At the top you can search for the frame CEW2019.  This is a way for adjunct faculty and those who support us to raise awareness for our work conditions.


The other option is to post a “back to school photo”. Use a white board, chalkboard, piece of paper, or note application on your phone.  Add your name, discipline, how long you have adjuncted, how many “gigs” you have both paid & unpaid, and your #1 equity wish.  I will include all 3 boards we have in the photos, as we have boards for PT, FT, & students. Get creative & add subjects, take some out, rearrange at will! It’s simply important to use the #CEW2019 so we are all on the same page.  If you really want to get bold tag your campuses & the governor in the post.  We will be posting people from our local on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter. Ask participants to also post on their personal pages to reach more people!


Do it good adjuncts! Be the change you seek.

Geoff Johnson

Contingent Faculty Quality of Work Life Survey One Page Reports

Hi All:

Here are five flyers based on the first nationwide survey of adjunct and other contingent faculty to be circulated since 2013 — the Contingent Faculty Quality of Life Survey. The 52-question survey was completed by 3,076 contingent faculty — adjuncts/part-time faculty, full-time non-tenure track faculty, and graduate employees — between May 22 and June 30, 2019. AFT advertised the survey via email and social media, and was able to draw some robust conclusions about the conditions faced by this new majority of college faculty in the United States.

Here are links to the materials:

Basic Needs and Food Security

Low Pay and Public Assistance


Lack of Job Security


Please disseminate this information.

Geoffery Johnson

AFTACC President

Useful Campus Equity Week Links

Hi All:

With Campus Equity Week (Oct. 21st-25th) around the corner, I would share some materials with you which can give some context as to what Campus Equity Week is about.

Campus Equity Week is about recognizing the manifestations of inequity on college campuses first with regard to teaching working conditions, but also, by extention, student learning conditions. It is also about communicating these concerns beyond contingent faculty to our respective campus communities at large.

The underfunding of public education, coupled with an economic business model built around providing workers “flexibility” in the forms of “at will” labor with no benefits, has left many students, faculty and staff economically challenged and impairs our collective capacity to create better outcomes for our students.

My hope is that you and/or the students you work with will have the opportunity to participate in Campus Equity Week events however you choose or address them at your respective campuses.

Below I have provided links videos and articles which speak to the issues of adjunctification, student housing and food insecurity, and the “gig economy” impact on students and workers.

You may want to share them with students in your classes to either give them a sense of what Campus Equity Week is all about, whether you discuss it in your classes or not.

In solidarity,

Geoff Johnson

AFTACC President


Growing number of college professors in poverty

Adjunct Professors in the Gig Economy

The Death of an Adjunct

The Contingent Campus – Adjunctification And The Growth Of The Academic “Precariat”

Homeless San Jose State Professor Forced To Live In Her Car

Student Food and Housing Insecurity

Student Homelessness & Basic Needs Insecurity

Survey: 1 In 5 LA Community College District Students Homeless

Homeless Student 

The Hope Center 

How Higher Ed Funding Has Fared in All 50 State Since the Recession

The Gig Economy

What is the Gig Economy? How it Works, Benefits, and More.

The Recession Hasn‘t Ended for Gig Economy Workers

The Gig Economy is Fueled by Exploitation, Not Innovation

‘Gig Economy’ Work is too Precarious for College Students


to AFT Unsubscribe

“The Gig is Up: Campus Equity Now!” A Campus Equity Week 2019 Call To Action

One of the main organizing tools for improving the plight of adjunct-contingent faculty has been Campus Equity Week or CEW.

Initially, CEW was a biannual adjunct-contingent organizing tool, where, during the last full week in October, adjunct-contingent faculty, faculty unions, and other supporting groups would, at their respective campuses, hold everything from rallies to seminars to guerilla theater to call attention to the unequal labor conditions faced by adjunct-contingent Higher Ed faculty.

Some campuses, such as my own, which are two-year colleges, have chosen to make Campus Equity Week an annual event because, with our ever-revolving student population and leadership, doing the event biannually would cause a lack of continuity and connection.

Some campuses and organizations, out of their own institutional necessities, will hold the event earlier or later by a week or so.

What’s important is that adjunct-contingent faculty get out and advocate, and encourage others, from students, to full-time faculty, community and labor leaders, and yes, even administrators, to push campus equity.

At my campuses (those of the San Diego, Grossmont-Cuyamaca, and Southwestern Community College Districts), I am calling for and organizing Campus Equity Week events for the week of Oct. 21st-25th around the theme “The Gig is Up: Campus Equity Now.”


Adjunct-Contingent (AC) Work is “Gig Work”:

AC teacher/workers, not unlike “gig” workers Uber and Lyft drivers, or Amazon delivery persons, are . . .

  1. Hired to work only on an as-needed basis, and paid only for their direct contact time. If there is not adequate demand as defined by management, there is no work. There are no or minimal guarantees for future work.
  2. The core or majority of employees that directly deliver a service but are treated more or less as independent contractors, generally meaning their loss of work does not make them eligible for unemployment benefits.
  3. Expected to bear the costs of additional training, certifications (talk to Nursing and Fire Science Educators about this), licensing, as well as to bear the costs for some equipment required to do the job.
  4. Often denied healthcare and retirement benefits, and in many cases, restricted from taking on additional work assignments if the additional hours worked qualifies them as full-time, or “true” employees.
  5. Not truly given a voice or allowed input on the basic management of the enterprise, which in the case of AC teacher/workers, is the institution of higher education.
  6. Made to suffer economically and emotionally due to the lack of job, housing, and even food security.
  7. Exploited in general in the name of managerial freedom, flexibility, and convenience.
  8. Looked down upon, or treated as lesser by full-time employees who see them as less qualified, unstable, and even unworthy of equal status and consideration.

Further . . .

  1. The expansion of gig jobs in academia has strained the capacity of AC teacher/workers to teach their best, meanwhile many students are bound by economic necessity to work gig jobs. The poor pay and working conditions of “gig” jobs has negatively impacted the success of students, making it additionally challenging for AC teacher/workers to help their students succeed academically.
  2. Many AC teacher/workers not only work academic “gig” jobs, but are themselves participants in other areas of the gig economy, such as Uber.
  3. “Gig” work, or contingent labor (‘freelancing”) is expected to become the majority of the workforce by 2027.
  4. Increasingly, para-professional staff are either being hired or replaced by workers whose status is decidedly “gig.”

What do We Mean When We’re Talking Equity? 

That all Work and Workers be Respected. We live in an inequitable society, and while it’s important for AC teacher/workers to call attention to their plight and its impact on students, the campus, and the community, we need to acknowledge that AC teacher/worker and socioeconomic injustice of other campus workers, our students, their parents, etc. The main goal of Campus Equity Week is to create awareness and encourage an impulse to action through the building of solidarity.

Teacher and campus workers ultimately deserve equal pay for equal work with respect to their responsibilities, work and professional experience, and qualifications, and in cases where a worker is working a percentage of a full-time position, he or she should be paid directly proportionate to the full-time wage for the duties they are assigned. (This should need no explanation, and such equity should extend to healthcare, retirement, and other benefits.

That the Other Aspects of Campus Inequity be at Least Acknowledged. Our faculty, students, and fellow campus workers are of all races, gender designations, religions, sexual orientations, and abilities. Many have faced Racism, Sexism, Religious and Gender Discrimination, along with Xenophobia and Ableism, which have also contributed to campus inequity.

That students be empowered to achieve educational success free of housing and food insecurity. While it is not unreasonable to expect students to work their way through school, it is unreasonable to place such a financial burden upon them that they effectively go hungry or homeless. In this regard, we call for: 1) Free or greatly reduced tuition, 2) the establishment of foodbanks, “closets,” and student low cost farmers’ markets supported by “fresh” programs, 3) community-supported low-cost student housing, 4) and campus-wide support and promotion of OER (online educational resources) as cheaper or free textbook alternatives.

That Adjunct-Contingent campus workers (AC Faculty, Staff) have access to these services when in need. A campus can only succeed in its mission when its faculty and support staff are secure.

That these Same Workers Be Allowed the Opportunity to Fully Participate in the Campus’s Shared Governance Structure, and be Compensated for It. These workers, who clearly represent the campus majority are vital to a campus’s operations and its students’ success. A more engaged and secure faculty means a more successful campus and surrounding community.

That So-Called “Gig” Workers be Truly Classified as Employees, thus Obligating Companies to Properly Compensate and Support Them. Security for many workers requires they be properly supported, and not forced to bear excessive costs for equipment and training, particularly when they are poorly compensated and given no or few benefits.

When possible, and in a timely and consistent manner, Contingent Faculty, Staff, and Workers at Large should Be Informed of Future Work Assignments or Schedules. Because many if not most contingent workers need to juggle multiple gigs, stable and timely scheduling will ensure their ability to both do their jobs and manage their lives as well as possible.


How Do We speak of Equity?

Rallies/Panel Discussions: Mass Actions which include not just AC teacher/ workers, but as much of the institution’s community as possible:

Curriculum: Lesson plans and assignments which focus on worker equity and encourage students to make true intellectual inquiry on the issues and grow academically. In many cases, teachers can be more effective in conveying awareness through classroom-based education than through rallies or panel discussions.

Street/Guerrilla Theater, Artistic Expression: This can involve everything from props and costumes, to game play activities, to spoken word and musical performance.
Petition/ Signature Gathering: Everything from petitions to local governments or board of trustees calling for policy changes to support for resolutions calling for the implementation should be considered. This can be done at a number of venues, or in conjunction with other Campus Equity Events.

I would like to humbly suggest that the embrace of such a theme and approach at your local would do well to further the cause of Campus Equity. It is my hope that you can take up it and make it your own.

In solidarity,

Geoff Johnson
AFT-ACC President, and
A Good Adjunct

Getting Adjunct Progress: Going Beyond the Local Part I: Local Limitations

This is the first in a series of entries looking at the needs and challenges of addressing the adjunct crisis beyond the immediacy of the local bargaining unit.

Adjunct activists, (and by the way, if you 1) have happened to read this, 2) are an adjunct/contingent teacher, and 3) want to be paid or simply treated like the academic that you are, guess what: you’re an activist, which means you’re responsible for sticking up for yourself. Welcome to the club.  I’m not sending you a card, but like your department chair, I will let you know that you’re “appreciated.” If it has not become already apparent, your local union is generally limited in the gains they can make for you. The main reasons for this are as follows:

It’s Not Their Main Concern. Yes, some “wall-to-wall” locals (units which include full-time tenure track faculty and adjunct/contingent faculty) act more on behalf of the full-time tenure track faculty, and sometimes at the expense of the adjunct/contingent faculty, by being, among other things, loathe to even small, incremental percentage increases for adjunct/contingent faculty as a path to pay equity, or pushing for adjunct/contingent health benefits, as well as paid office hours, professional development, departmental inclusion, shared governance, etc. At the same time, many wall-to-wall units are not necessarily this callous, but might perceive that if the full-time unit suffers it could impact the overall effectiveness of their local, if not it’s viability.  The often limited involvement to outright apathy of adjunct/contingent faculty in contrast to full-time faculty is the driver for this thinking. (In other words adjuncts, don’t be apathetic or uninvolved.)

They Lack Local Political Capital. Too many union faculty simply think that if a local concentrates singularly on internal solidarity that somehow they might prevail, falsely assuming that what happens regarding their working conditions only does so at the bargaining table. These people assume that somehow administrators are more moved by a committed faculty who 1) never hired them, 2) can’t fire them, 3) have forgotten that administrators are hired more to control than to empower them. Administrators, while often given varying degrees of free reign to manage their faculty, operate at the pleasure of Boards of Trustees or Governing Boards which are either locally elected, or appointed by politicians, usually at the state level.  In some cases, these administrators may be taking a hard line with faculty not of their own accord so much as at the behest of their Board.  To better control the local situation, the local needs to either have the ear of, or simply control, the board by getting faculty-friendly members on it.  Too few locals have PACs (Political Action Committees) which vet prospective board candidates, financially support the faculty-friendly ones, or better yet, search for, recruit, and groom them. And in those cases when board members are not elected or appointed, many locals lack governmental-relations committees that can meet with and influence the politicians who make the appointments.

They are Unable to Create Solidarity with Other Groups. On any campus, faculty play a crucial, if not the crucial role in what happens regarding student learning, but faculty are not alone. Besides administrators, there are para-professional office/support staff from IT, admissions officers, tutors, custodial and food service workers. Too often (and if it’s happening at all, it’s too often), faculty units will ignore the needs and concerns of these workers, whether these workers have unions of their own or not.  Imagine that the custodial or office/clerical units might just have an issue with faculty clamoring for cuts to these units in exchange for salary increases.  Add in that faculty often (though not always and especially not in the case of adjunct/contingent faculty) are paid better, enjoy greater benefits, and job security, and you can imagine that when local faculty members are engaging in a contract campaign, that their calls for fair faculty working conditions will fall on deaf ears.  Add further that there are often great disparities between faculty and staff in terms of class, race, and gender, and the problem become worse.  While it’s a problem that can be remedied, it’s one that takes time, and considerable empathy.

Working Conditions and Pay are more Controlled by Legislative Bodies and Statutes than by Local Institutional Bodies. While many public institutions rely on a variety of sources for funding, the funding which faculty unions can most directly impact is the funding institutions receive from state or local government bodies. What this means is that unless there is a mandate at the state or local level for significant change in terms of educational funding, with an eye to improving faculty working conditions as a path to improving student learning, any local institution’s budget will have little room for change. As for standards regarding faculty working conditions, decisions made at the board or administrative level are often guided by statute. In the California Community College system, for example, a 67% load limit/district for adjunct/contingent faculty is set by State Ed Code. The only way to have this cap lifted is by getting the state legislature to do so.

They Lack Knowledge and Expertise. In addition to not being aware of any of the four afore-mentioned points, many locals and their officers 1) have limited knowledge of labor law, 2) fail to understand the negotiating process and what qualifies as a fair or unfair labor practice, and 3) have frequent leadership turnover or limited commitment by local faculty. Sometimes even change in local working conditions can be better achieved by local officers and bargaining units being exposed to what has been achieved elsewhere by other locals’ faculty bargaining units.

One way to addressing each of these problems involves working with other similarly-affiliated locals, or state and national umbrella organizations, but this is not without challenge as well, which I will address in my next post.

Geoff Johnson

A “Good” Adjunct

No One “Deserves” to Be An Adjunct

Considering highly frustrated adjunct instructors, I will often hear even from some of the more “woke” full-time faculty, comments like, “it’s no wonder he/she is an adjunct,” or that “so and so deserves to be an adjunct.”

This needs to stop.

Sure, there may be adjuncts who, in applying for full-time jobs, either present themselves poorly or simply are weak in comparison to other prospective candidates, but no one “deserves” to be an adjunct.

When people ask me, in terms of my job, what I like to be called, I answer in two parts:

  • If you’re asking me to define how I’m regarded by the institutions I teach at, the state and federal governments that fund or define my working conditions, the tenure track faculty and administrators I work with, and even the unions that represent me—I am an adjunct.
  • I otherwise choose to define myself as a community college professor or faculty member. It is, after all, my task to “profess,” and in fact, my students make and see no distinction between me and my full-time contracted faculty colleagues. Yes, I am aware that the term “professor” is a term to define a faculty member of the highest rank, but it is largely an internal academic distinction.

In the academic world outside of the Full-time Tenure Track Faculty, a variety of semi-stratified terms to describe instructors is bandied about, from adjunct, to part-time, to contingent, to associate, to Non-tenure track, to visiting professor, to lecturer, and so on…

The term “adjunct” largely seems to occupy the lesser strata of these terms in that an adjunct is generally distinguished as one who is “supplemental” to the larger academic mission of the institution, and as such is…

  • Temporary, or only to be used as needed
  • Limited in knowledge or expertise(academic or institutional)
  • Of lesser value, and thus deserving fewer resources, lesser academic freedom and pay.

So it should be pretty clear, I don’t like the term “adjunct,” but if I need to remind faculty of how I am regarded, I refer to myself as such.

That said:

  • No one deserves to be hired and fired on a term-by-term basis for unending consecutive terms. When, as in the California Community College System, close to 70% of faculty are “adjunct,” and by this hiring practice, are consigned to, in some cases, up to four to five decades of subsequent term “rehiring,” such adjuncts are in fact permanent workers and should be given the job security guarantees that reflect this.
  • No one deserves to be forced to teach in multiple institutions or districts to cobble together a livable wage, when the arbitrary caps on part-time work at particular institutions prevents an adjunct from taking on more work at one institution which the Dean and department chair would be happy to grant him or her. Necessary non-instructional academic time should not consist of uncompensated multi-hour off-campus travel from one site to the next.
  • No One deserves, particularly when he/she needs and has the same job qualifications as his/her full-time colleagues, to be thought of as lesser in knowledge, or lacking in the capacity to understand an institution’s culture or mission. Perhaps another way to put it is to say that all Higher Ed educators deserve a right to participate in departmental matters, and in shared governance, i.e. academic senate, and to be paid for it.
  • No One deserves to be denied the basic tools to complete the same job as his/her full-time colleague, like an office space to prep, grade, and consult with students and fellow faculty.
  • No One deserves to be denied the capacity in a Higher Ed setting to conduct classes as he/she sees fit on the basis or whether they are a full-time tenure track faculty or not. When being evaluated on their teaching, both full-time and adjunct should be evaluated by the same standards.
  • No One deserves, taking into account seniority and qualification, to be paid less for doing the same instructional or professional work.

To say that any Higher Ed instructor “deserves” any of the above is to not see them as a person, let alone as a colleague.

But, if an argument that one should recognize the basic humanity of one’s fellow colleagues can’t convince you, consider this: You’ll be hard pressed to find any public Higher Ed. institution’s mission statement that declares or even implies any student deserves to get a lesser education because his/her instructor was impacted by the arbitrary title of “adjunct,”especially when that institution aspires to the notion of equity.

Geoff Johnson

A “Good” Adjunct

California Community College Adjuncts Take Action: Send a Letter to Governor Newsom

In conjunction with the 2019 objectives of the CFT Legislative Committee, and in consultation with Bryan Ha, CFT’s lobbyist for California Community Colleges, I have composed the following letter (see below the sign out) to get our incoming governor to dedicate categorical funding to the tune of:

  1. 150 million dollars (ongoing) for more full-time positions
  2. 150 million dollars increase (ongoing) for paid part-time office hours

Signing and sending letters like these in physical form is important.  They have and do impact the budget process, and we have made small but steady gains for adjuncts over the past few years because of them.

Adjuncts don’t have to, and shouldn’t be the only ones signing and sending in these letters.  Get other faculty, students, staff, community and family members to sign and send in these letters.

And by the way, some of the more eager signers of these letters have been administrators and governing board members or trustees.

Some of you might want to say more than the letter, or think you can say it better in your own words.  Just use the letter as a draft which you can personalize as your own.

This letter is also available on the CFT website. (Go to this link and look at the item following the one calling for support of UTLA teachers).

This letter is just a part of a larger campaign this year to improve adjunct working conditions on a number of fronts. I will speak of these in future entries.

Sign and send these letters.  Be the change you want to see.

Geoff Johnson

A “Good” Adjunct

See the letter  below


Governor Gavin Newsom

State Capitol Building, 1st Floor

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Newsom:

One of the critical factors to increasing student success in the California Community Colleges is ensuring faculty-student interaction.

However, nearly 70 percent of community college faculty are temporary, part-time instructors, who are largely paid only for their time in the classroom. Most part-time faculty are disproportionately paid significantly less than their full-time counterparts, meaning they often have to travel and teach in multiple districts to make ends meet. This leaves limited time to fully interact with students.

In her 2016 study about the effects of part-time instructors on student success, Cheryl Hyland, an expert in the field from Motlow State Community College in Tennessee, stated: “Part-time students taught by adjunct faculty are retained at a significantly lower rate than first-time, part-time students taught by full-time faculty.” Hyland concluded that the nature of “having to teach at several institutions simultaneously in order to garner a livable income, hindered their [part-time faculty’s] interaction with students outside the classroom” … and this, along with other factors, “result in delayed or reduced instructor responsiveness to student needs and inquiries regarding classroom progress and performance, ultimately impacting student intellectual development and success.”

Increasing student-teacher interaction can be done, in part, by hiring more full-time instructors to come closer to reaching the 75-25 ratio of full-time faculty to part-time faculty mandated in AB 1725 nearly three decades ago, or by paying part-time faculty more equitably in relation to their full-time counterparts.

Another way is to increase paid office hour funding for part-time faculty. There is little money in the state’s fund for paid office hours, and any district that applies for funds has to pay the majority of the costs, so many districts have no paid office hours program, When districts do choose to participate, they are reimbursed for only 28 percent of program cost, and as a result, may offer very limited paid office hours. For example, during an entire semester at Southwestern College, part-time faculty got only 2-3 paid office hours for a 3-unit course, and at Pasadena City College part-time faculty got a total of 8 hours for the entire semester regardless the number of courses taught. Though the Legislature dedicated an additional $50 million to this fund in 2018, it was only one-time money, and not enough to expand sustainable office hour programs.

I ask that you consider increasing the allocation of funding in your January budget proposal for these important programs:

1) $150 million in ongoing funding for more full-time faculty positions;

2) $150 million in ongoing funding for paid office hours for part-time faculty.

Faculty working conditions affect our students’ learning conditions. We can and must do better.



NAME (Print)_____________________________________________________________________________________


ADDRESS _________________________________

CITY & ZIP_________________________________

NAWD/Adjunct Action Day 5.0–Yeah, It’s Gotta Happen!

On February 25th, 2015 adjunct/contingent faculty rallied on more than 100 campuses across the United States to speak out against decades of their exploitation and both unfair and unequal treatment. This was obviously not the first such event in which adjunct/contingent faculty spoke out against their working conditions, but it was the first which captured the larger mainstream media narrative.

At the time, there were calls for a National Adjunct Walkout Day, and though a small number of adjuncts did in fact, walk out, many still rallied and spoke out.

In some cases, such as in the state of California, the actions helped to launch state legislative categorical funding initiatives which have in successive years lead to increased funding for more full-time positions, paid-part time office hours, equity pay, and a minimum bar for rehire rights language for California Community College Adjuncts.  The gains were small, but significant.

In successive years, the idea of such an event has morphed into an Adjunct Action Day, during which adjuncts, students, full-time employees, and other members of a particular campus community including administrators and para-professional/classified staff spoke to the issue of adjunctification.

While there were large numbers of campuses who participated in events in 2015, the following years have seen drop offs to where a smattering of campuses will mark such an event over the course of a Winter of Spring term.

We in San Diego have held the event every year in the San Diego, Grossmont-Cuyamaca, and Southwestern Community College Systems, and once again will do so on February 28th, 2019.

The date is significant for us in that the first NAWD/Adjunct Action Day Event was held on what was the fourth Wednesday in February, which by its very placement in the middle of the school week, and relatively early our Spring Semester allows for us to put forth ideas on the improvement of adjunct/contingent working conditions that we can carry forth on the state level up through the Spring, into June, when the state budget is settled, and into early Fall, when legislation is signed.

This year, we will be pushing for the following:

1)  Expanding part-time office hour funding by 150 million dollars statewide

2)  Increasing funding for more full-time positions, also by 150 million dollars

3) Ending the proposal for a performance-based funding model for California Community

Colleges (which will directly hurt students and adjuncts if enacted)

4) Providing up to twelve weeks of maternity leave for female educators which is not  taken from

either their sick or disability leave

5) Raising the single-district teaching cap from 67% to 85%

6) Increasing transparency while improving rehire rights language

We will also be standing in solidarity with CUNY’s call for 7K per class.

Our efforts with past Adjunct Action Days have borne fruit, but we can only truly harvest our activism if more groups hold Adjunct Action Day Rallies, either on February 28th, or another day in the Spring.

Make it happen adjuncts, and fight for what you deserve!

Geoff Johnson

A “Good Adjunct”


Equity Extends Beyond Ourselves-A Poem on Labor Day

Below is a poem about a situation I witnessed on April 30th, 2002, the first day I came back to San Diego to live and plunge myself into adjunctification after nearly a decade of living in Japan. Nine months later, myself and my family were living at the point of economic desperation and the threat of homelessness.

I think and have thought of this incident as the time at which my Polyannish economic optimism of living in America as an educator, or as any working class individual without the risk of destitution ended.  What struck me then, as it does now, is how the abject defeats of the poor in this country are but trivialities in the minds of those who set and enforce policy.  Some people refer to this as simply a matter of falling through the cracks.

The fact of the matter is that increasingly, a smaller number of folks with wide feet are allowing the cracks in the floorboards to broaden, thinking only of the things they want to do in the room rather than the precarity of others trying to simply cross or stand on the floor.

For those adjuncts out there struggling to get by,  think of their own plight and exploitation, consider on this labor day the struggles of those who precariously stand on this cracked floor, other laborers, our students, or simply the person who can’t scrape up the 15 dollars to reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

As you reach the poem’s end, you might rightly ask why I didn’t just step in and pay the 15 dollars. All I can say is that I was stunned by the moment, and have to live with the thought that I should have.


Standing tall, head erect, black and beaming

New shirt, pants creased, shoes shined

He strides to the desk with an uplifted gait,

and tells he’ll no longer make her wait.


“It took me a while to get paid, and just so you know,

I got a place, so I’ve come to get the stuff

you have. Here’s what I owe,

it’s 525.”


And she, holder of keys, old white and drawn, behind the barrier sent out a smile.


“It’s good to see you got it together.

Now let me go and check accounts so we can

Confirm the correct amount.”


“By all means, go ahead,” he said with pride,

“But I am sure, as I heard you say it’s 525 for rent unpaid

when you said I had to leave. It’s been just three days and

now I’m back and ready to make good.”


“Well I see here it was 525, just as you say,

but it’s been three days, and there’s a fee,

of five dollars for every day, which brings it up to 540.

I need all this before I can let your stuff go.”


Eyes wide, arms tensed, surprised he speaks,

“But I’ve not been here, I’ve not used your space.

I’ve given you all that I have. Beyond what you,

see, all I’ve got is a change of clothes.

I think that I’ve given you enough,

could you please understand and let it go?”


And she said, “No, I’m afraid the rules are clear, and

after all, I’m just the manager here.What do you expect me to do?”


“Have it in your heart ma’am, just 15 dollars, and

it’s all my stuff. I’d give you the money if I could.”


“I’m sorry that’s the way it is.”


“Well, if I were to come in a few days, could I give you the 15 then?”


“Yes you could, but then it’d be 5 dollars extra for every day.”


“But that’s crazy! For every day I try

my stuff is farther from me!

You can’t do this!


“Yes, I can,” she said low and tense.


“Goddamn!” he cried, turned on his heel

and stormed out, reached the corner, lowered his head,

and marched out of sight.


A young man helping in the back rushed to the woman’s side and asked, “Are you OK?”


As if she was the one who was hurt.


Geoff Johnson

A “Good” Adjunct