Adjunct professors plan day of action

Linda Nguyen

Part-time professors are planning to make others aware of their tenuous situation during National Adjunct Day on Feb. 25, 2015.

Linda Nguyen, Staff Writer

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National Adjunct Action Day will take place at Mesa College on Feb. 25 at noon outside the LRC. Part-time staff members and supporters are all hoping to join hands in insisting on fair wages and benefits for the large adjunct community in America. Although many students are unaware that most of their professors are adjuncts, the fact of the matter is that part-time professors make up a large portion of the staff in higher level education, and many in the adjunct ranks believe it’s time for their voices to be heard.

The purpose of Adjunct Action Day, of course, is to promote actions to be taken towards equality for adjuncts, but more importantly, to educate the public of the issues concerning the growing adjunct community and their needs. Union members hope that they can shed light on the reality that our educational budget is simply not being used where it is needed.

There are not enough full-time positions available, forcing professors to become part-time. Some professors have gone through years of schooling and earned their master’s or doctorates, only to be offered jobs as adjuncts due to the small amount of available full-time positions. This means that at any time, an adjunct professor could be juggling multiple classes at multiple campuses in order to make a living. Recently, a full-time position opened up at Mesa College, and over 200 applicants applied for the job, but only two were selected of the 200+ qualified and experienced professors. The rest were kept as adjuncts in case there was a need for “extra” professors.

Although an adjunct may work just as hard to devote time and effort into his/her class, the adjunct is not paid nearly as much as a full-time professor. Many adjuncts struggle financially without a full-time job to support themselves and their families, even though they may put in just as much work as any full-time professor. Adjunct representative Geoff Johnson states, “I remember a close colleague of mine, adjunct professor, and single mother of three, had to live in her car because she was thousands of dollars in debt from student loans, but she just wasn’t paid enough to support her family.” In fact, adjunct professors at Mesa College reported that for the same amount of work as any of their full-time colleagues, they were only offered about half the pay.

One of the greatest disadvantages of being an adjunct is simply put, disposability. This is the harsh reality that comes with being an “extra”.  Johnson states, “Many adjuncts live in fear, unsure of whether or not they will be able to support themselves because at any given moment, they could be stripped of their profession.”

All of these problems beg the question that is on everyone’s minds: Where is all of the money going? Union members representing the adjunct community are hoping to get those answers. They are demanding that Gov. Jerry Brown designate a certain amount of money in the educational budget for the largely growing adjunct community. By rallying up students, part-timers, and supporters on Adjunct Action Day, the union hopes to spread awareness of the unfair treatment of adjuncts and make changes for a more just future.

 

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