Take action this week on behalf of adjuncts

The issues faced by contingent faculty members at public colleges and universities are well established. These educators, who teach more than half the courses offered, are often poorly paid and lack access to health insurance, retirement plans and other benefits.

Campus Equity Week, which begins Monday, Oct. 26, is the time to take action on behalf of adjunct instructors and demand that they be treated fairly. New Faculty Majority, with support from the NEA and other organizations, is coordinating the annual week of action around adjunct faculty issues.

“Adjunct faculty members across the country are being exploited, and students get cheated in the process,” said MTA President Barbara Madeloni. “Adjunct faculty members often do not have offices or the opportunity to set up formal meeting times with students. Many of these educators must work on more than one campus to secure enough work from semester to semester, and students have no way of knowing whether an adjunct professor they enjoy working with will be returning to campus.”

Madeloni continued, “Public colleges and universities need to be leaders when it comes to treating adjunct faculty fairly.”

All MTA members are asked to contact their state legislators during Campus Equity Week and ask them to support House Bill 1055, An Act to Invest in Higher Education Faculty.

Filed by Representative Paul Mark (D-Peru), the bill seeks wage parity between full- and part-time faculty, as well as access to pension benefits and health insurance for contingent faculty. The bill also calls for public colleges and universities to stop their over-reliance on adjuncts by requiring the hiring of more full-time faculty members.

Full-time faculty members typically provide student support services in addition to teaching, which adjunct faculty members are typically not allowed to do.

Campus Equity Week is also the time to tell Congress to support a bill that would include adjunct faculty members at public colleges and universities in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which forgives higher education loans for workers in the public and nonprofit sectors who have 10 years of service and have been paying their loans during that time.

The Adjunct Faculty Loan Forgiveness Act of 2015, filed by Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois), would count the courses that adjuncts teach at public higher education institutions toward the program’s requirements.

Click here to add your name to a petition supporting the bill.

Members of Congress have been invited to a briefing today on adjunct faculty working conditions.

“It is shameful the way contingent faculty members are treated, and the disservice extends to their students,” Madeloni said. “We need to make the necessary investments in higher education to reflect the value of educators and maintain accessibility and quality for students.”