Campus Equity Week draws attention to inequities among faculty in higher education and calls for economic justice, job security, and institutional support for contingent and part-time faculty. Originally organized by the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, these October events aim to bring greater awareness to the precarious situation for contingent faculty in higher education, organize for action, and build solidarity.
Following are highlights of actions held during Campus Equity Week 2015 at colleges with AFT locals representing part-time faculty.
Citrus College offered informative literature to the campus community, including “Who Is Professor ‘Staff?’ and How Can This Person Teach So Many Classes?” to raise awareness about the de-professionalization of faculty and the resulting injustices experienced by contingent faculty and students. They also shared information about Sen. Durbin’s bill to relieve contingent faculty’s student loan debt burdens.
Laney College hosted filmmaker Brad Retelle and screened his new film Freeway Fliers. The chancellor of the Peralta district as well as a trustee, students, part-time and full-time faculty, and Peralta Federation of Teachers representatives attended and participated in a lively discussion of issues of equity raised in the film.
Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges in San Diego County held rallies with speeches by part-timers, full-timers, students, and administrators about the work done by adjunct faculty and the ways they are exploited. Faculty tabled and talked with campus members about how to end this exploitation.
Mesa College in San Diego staged creative installations dramatizing part-time faculty working conditions and hosted a series of events including panel discussions, testimonials about life as a part-timer, and film screenings, including Con Job: Stories of Adjunct and Contingent Faculty. (Watch it online here.)
San Diego City College faculty held a rally and urged campus community members to send letters to Gov. Brown in support of equal pay for part-time faculty, generating nearly 10,000 letters that were delivered to the governor’s office. Faculty members Jim Miller and Ian Duckles co-authored “Inequality for All in America’s Higher Education System,” published in the San Diego Free Press. (Read the full story here.)
City College of San Francisco held a teach-in for students about the faculty contract fight and students’ rights, attended by more than 200 people. Presenters explored the connections between faculty working conditions and student learning conditions.
> For more information and to plan for next year, visit the Campus Equity Week website.
Show your support for the Adjunct Faculty Loan Fairness Act
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois), with co-sponsor Al Franken (D-Minnesota), renewed last year’s attempt to make part-time faculty eligible to participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan forgiveness program, also known as the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
To qualify, part-time faculty would need to teach at least one course at an institution of higher education, a postsecondary vocational institution, or a tribal college or university, and not have a separate full-time job. While retaining this status, they would need to make 120 on-time monthly payments on federal direct loans as public service employees to qualify for loan forgiveness.
The bill (S.1556) was introduced in June 2015, read twice, and assigned to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
> Express your support for this bill by contacting your representative in Congress and by signing the online petition.
Freeway Fliers is a film by former California part-time instructor Brad Rettele about “higher education’s best kept secret” documenting the growth of part-time (adjunct, contingent, associate, non-tenure track) faculty in America’s colleges and universities. It offers extensive commentary on successful organizing and activism, including National Adjunct Walkout Day. View the film free online.
Professors in Poverty, produced by Brave New Films, documents contingent faculty nationwide living in poverty. Find out more about wage and salary trends among part-time faculty and higher education administrators, watch a preview, and discover how to host a screening of this film. bravenewfilms.org/professorsinpoverty
Equality for Contingents: Read the Counter Punch article by Keith Hoeller, editor of the 2014 book Equality for Contingent Faculty, and his call to end this two-tier system in higher education.
COCAL 2016 in Canada: Join fellow contingent faculty from Canada, the United States, and Mexico to share information and strategies to improve the working lives of part-time and other precariously employed teachers in higher education at the 2016 Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor conference at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Learn more here.