It is not a level playing field in the world of higher education. The longstanding and systematic underfunding of higher ed has to a crisis in which 68 percent of California community college faculty now work as part-time, or temporary instructors.
These “temporary” instructors, many of whom have worked under these conditions for decades, are often paid less than 50 percent of what a full-time instructor is paid for the same work, and with usually limited or not health benefits and spotty job security. They must often take on excessive teaching loads at multiple campuses, or face poverty or even homelessness.
Sadly, this also parallels the plight of many students in the community colleges, with one in five students either homeless or housing insecure in the Los Angeles Community College District alone, with even higher percentages of students facing the prospect of hunger.
Part-time faculty, staff and students, to support themselves or supplement their income will work “gig” jobs for ride share companies like Uber, for long hours, low wages, no benefits, and no job security.
This is not a recipe for success, nor is this a path towards a real future.
This is what Campus Equity Week is meant to challenge. From October 21-25, community colleges and other institutions of higher learning will be advocating for equity through workshops, panel discussions, rallies and other activities. Unions will call for the proper funding of public education, better pay and working conditions for part-time faculty, increased financial support for lower income studies in higher education, and regulations which insure workers at gig jobs are treated fairly.
If you are considering marking Campus Equity at your local, here is a link to CFT’s Campus Equity Toolkit, which can give you some good ideas on how to take action. The resources are curated by the CFT Part-Time Faculty Committee.
Let’s get our policymakers to fund for the future, and fund for success. Campus equity now!