Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ending #AcademicApartheid

…Thanks to WA #adjunct #JackLongmate for comments & a reminder to re-post this Psychology Today article, which also appeared on Dr Fuller's blog, Omaha Free Press, Utne Reader, Firedog Lake, Daily Kos and other publication -- one of which we posted to Facebook from. Please note page tab to Program for Change just below the blog header. The tab links directly to the VCCFA page. PF hopes to feature more on both Program and Keith Hoeller's "Equality for Contingent Faculty." 

There's a Psychology Today on-line article entitled "Ending Academic Apartheid, Equity and Dignity for Adjunct Professors," worth reading. The article calls a spade a spade, saying

"we find ourselves in a moral predicament. In educational institutions of every kind, adjunct faculty are being subjected to de facto discrimination and exploitation. They know it, tenure-track faculty know it, administrators know it. The awful secret is out, and we can no longer avert our eyes. We'll have to deal with this injustice as we did with those that came to a head in the sixties, because if we do not close the gap between our principles and our practice, the profession will forfeit its honor.
Equality for Contingent Faculty: Overcoming the Two-Tier System Cover
Don Eron of the University of Colorado Boulder makes the same point in his paper in Keith Hoeller's forthcoming book, "Equality for Contingent Faculty." 

It further says,

"Honor requires that colleges and universities examine this practice and take steps to grant equal status and equitable compensation to those who, for whatever reason, are classified as adjunct faculty.

The author, Dr. Robert Fuller, is a former president of Oberlin College.  What he proposes as a solution--creation of local committees on each campus with the charge of "Part-Time, Full Status, Equal Dignity"--might be worth a try.  But it may be naive to think that the internal conflicts of interest that result from the status quo will be overcome by imploring those who benefit from it to be honorable and instead take the moral high road.  On my campus, where tenured faculty have the option of teaching overtime (course overloads), displacing adjuncts whenever they do, they may earn an addition $20-$40K annually from such teaching.  There's not apt to be strong moral suasion in being honorable and doing the right thing when it means giving up such a significant amount of personal income.  

Where the academic apartheid has been overcome, moral suasion has played a part, along with the force of a faculty union dedicated to egalitarianism as opposed to the elitism of rank. In the comment I left in response to the article, I cited the Program for Change that is modeled on Vancouver Community College Faculty Association's accomplishments, where there is no academic apartheid. 

Best wishes, Jack Longmate

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