[Vision2020] UI & BSU Faculty Join National Adjunct Protests

Nicholas Gier ngier006 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 26 11:46:46 PST 2015


*For better formatting and to see photos of the protests read the attached
PDF file*.

 *Volume 24: Number 4, February 26, 2015 *(labor donated)

*Campus Contacts:*

*Francesca Sammarruca *(fsammarr at uidaho.edu), *Randy Berriochoa* (
berrioch at csi.edu), *Craig Steenberg *(csteenbe at lcsc.edu),* John Trombold*
(NIC) (jmtrombold at yahoo.com), *Jim** Stockton *(jstockto at boisestate.edu), *Dave
Delehanty *(deledavi at isu.edu)

*Nick Gier, President *(ngier006 at gmail.com)

*Kim Johnson, Vice-President *(kajohnso at nic.edu)

*In this Issue:*

*UI and BSU Faculty Join National Adjunct Walk-Out Day*

*BSU Adjuncts Now Organizing*

 *UI and BSU Faculty Join National Adjuncts Walk-Out Day, Feb. 25*

Read IFT “white paper” on this issue at www.idaho-aft.org/contingents.htm.

Thousands of part-time higher education instructors walked off their jobs or
participated in other forms of protest on Feb. 25.  (The date chosen
fortuitously coincided the with Paterson Silk Strike 102 years ago.) In
1969 70 percent of faculty were full-time, but now only 30 percent are.

“Contingent” faculty (adjuncts, lecturers, and graduate students) now teach
about two-thirds of the nation's classes at low pay, with no job security
and little or no benefits. At the City University of New York adjuncts
teach 59 percent of the courses, but earn only 29-38 percent of what
full-time faculty are paid.

Adjuncts at Temple University starting their action on Feb. 24. A majority
of them had just signed cards for AFT union representation, and Temple
administrators had blocked their efforts. Part-time faculty at Temple are
paid $1,300 per credit hour with no benefits.

Part-time faculty at the University of Idaho, Boise State, Seattle
University (where hundreds lined the campus streets), University of
Arizona, Ohio State, University of Maryland, several New Jersey campuses,
Boston College, University of Nevada system, Cleveland State, Central New
Mexico Commnity College, Syracuse University, most of the campuses in San
Diego, many University of California campuses, and many others participated
in action of one form or other.

Instead of walk-outs (some union contracts ban them), faculty staged
teach-ins, where instructors will use class time to talk about their dire
working conditions. Some, such as UI faculty, did “grade-ins,” where
contingent faculty will gather to grade papers en masse.  This action
symbolizes the fact that many adjuncts do not have offices.

Many full-time faculty, including some at UI and BSU, also participated in
National Adjunct Walk-Out Day. Nancy Leong, associate professor of law at
the University of Denver, states: “Those of us who are tenured and
tenure-track faculty should care in an even more immediate way, as the fate
of the adjunct is intimately tied with the fate and shape of our own

*Editor's Note: *We thank our fellow unionists in the Service Employees
International Union (SEIU) for their yeoman efforts in organizing the
protest on the BSU campus.

*Adjuncts Now Organizing at BSU*

by Dana Hathaway, BSU philosophy department

Adjuncts are organizing at universities and colleges across the country,
and Boise State is no exception.  Over the last 20 years, part-time,
contingent faculty has become the new faculty majority. Data from the US
Department of Education finds the nationwide average to be approximately
75% of faculty. At Boise State, the estimates range from 47%-60%.  If we
care about the future of higher education, we ought to take notice:
faculty, students, parents, community leaders, and anyone with an interest
in quality higher education.

There was a time when adjuncts were the minority faculty: retired
professors and professionals or active businesspersons wanting to teach a
class now and then. Hiring part-time instructors is in fact necessary, as
extra sections are added based on changing enrollment.  Adjuncts were meant
to be, as the word suggests, *supplementary* to full-time faculty based on
this need.

What *is* the appropriate balance of part-time, contingent faculty, and
tenured, tenure-eligible, and non-tenured full-time faculty? As a
philosophy instructor, I would suggest that we consult Aristotle on the
proper mean between extremes. What is a balance that would be *virtuous*—in
the best interests of educators, learners, and tax payers?  This is a
question that must be sincerely asked, thoughtfully contemplated, and
answered to the best of our collective abilities.

The adjunctification of higher education is a two-pronged issue, at least.
This is about quality education as much as it is an issue of labor
conditions.  Governor Easley of North Carolina has coined the  phrase:
“Teacher working conditions are student learning conditions.”  That is
exactly right.  The fu-ture of quality higher education is at risk if
current trends continue.  The majority of college teaching faculty should
not be part-time instructors.  *Of course* the budget is limited.  All
budgets are, that’s what a budget *is*: limits on spending and a specific
allocation of funds.

If we value quality education, we must necessarily value instruction, and
this requires just compensation and fair treatment.  Students are not
well-served with a perpetual over-reliance on part-time, contingent
faculty, faculty who are, by their very status, undervalued and
marginalized. It is not enough to say that adjuncts are valued and
appreciated; it must also be demonstrated with a living wage.

If we are to take seriously Boise State’s "commitment to excellence," the
conditions of teaching and learning must reflect that commitment.  Students
deserve better: the majority of teachers must be able to give 100% of their
professional attention to the task of teaching courses and mentoring
students.  Our adjuncts deserve better; they must be supported in doing
their job with intellectual integrity *and* to be paid a living wage.

Boise State has taken steps in the last few years to provide adjunct
faculty with necessary resources, but I ask you: where is the Adjunct
Commission now?  Let’s talk about the numbers.  How bad is it?  An Adjunct
Instructor at Boise State teaching a 3/3 schedule (just under full-time at
.75) earns an annual salary of approximately $17,000 with no benefits.

Adjuncts teach approximately 50% of the total course load.  Those are the
numbers, in brief.  Compare this to the starting salary of $36,000 for a
full-time K-12 teacher in Idaho with an advanced degree, and $38,000 for a
Lecturer at Boise State teaching 4/4.  If an adjunct received a similar
rate of pay (based on similar duties and similar quali-fications) teaching
a 3/3 schedule, they would receive approximately $28,000 annually.  Still
wildly low for a college instructor at just below full-time, yet within
range of relative fairness and far better than a mere $17,000.

Adjuncting is not intended to be a full-time career, so says Marty Schimpf,
in a 2014 *Boise Weekly* article entitled, “Low Pay, High Education: How
Adjuncts Carry Boise State University.”  For many adjuncts, however, it is
indeed just that, and this is widely known.  There are many adjuncts who
teach a near full load and have done so for decades (or a full-time 4/4
schedule before the policy change).

They are not doing it as a side job or while in retirement; they desire a
living wage with benefits and there are plenty of courses to go around.  If
the University prides itself on how fantastic it is that they can pull in
so many professionals from the metropolis to teach an extra course now and
then (the illusory image of “the adjunct”), well, how many adjuncts really
fit this profile?  And how many are trying to scrape together a living
teaching at one or multiple colleges?

Adjuncts are the new cheap labor: very low wages compared with their
colleagues doing the same or similar work; and, flexible-- hire and let go
every 10-15 weeks.  It is, insists Schimpf, the most economical way of
expanding.  With adjuncts as a faculty majority, this is shameful.  The
truth is, we are addicted to adjuncts, and the overuse of their labor rises
to the level of abuse.  It is time to rethink the model.

*Please Join Us in Protecting Faculty Rights;* *Increasing Salaries and

Members of the American Federation of Teachers receive a $1,000,000
professional and legal liability policy, access to legal and moral support,
and national/state AFT publications. For application forms please go to
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