The Outrage of the Adjuncts

higher-ed-hand.jpgEver heard of the New Faculty Majority? That’s a euphemism of sorts, but an accurate one, for adjuncts and other non-tenure-track teachers who now account for 70 percent of all college instructors. The group is three years old and met for a premiere “summit” in Washington, DC. on January 28th in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

From the tenor of most of the summit’s presentations, the group seems to have decided that the villain behind their failure to obtain respectable academic jobs is capitalism. Neo-Marxist phrases filled the air: “wage theft,” “neoliberal agenda,” “corporate America,” “under assault from the right,” “privatization of the production of knowledge,” and “marketization of the university.” I thought: if I had a dollar for each such phrase, I could endow a tenured chair for myself in the Ivy League, plus another chair with a dollar for every Dickensian plaint about minimum-wage-paid non-tenured instructors going on welfare, living out of their vans, limping to their classes with holes in their shoes, and committing suicide.

Still, this self-described academic proletariat had a point–although it was a point that took me a while to ford my way through the “Grapes of Wrath” logorrhea to see. (It helped that the NFM’s sole Republican board member, Matthew Williams, was able to advocate for the non-tenured without invoking Karl Marx, the Occupy movement, or anti-globalization guru Naomi Klein.)

Dreaming of a Professor, but Getting an Adjunct

The point–and it is a powerful one–was this: Undergraduate students, their parents, and the taxpayers who subsidize public education spend large sums of money on what they imagine to be a high-quality academic experience for young people. They imagine the distinguished tenured professors whose achievements grace the university’s website forming intimate and memorable mentoring relationships with their undergraduate students via small classes and one-on-one discussions. Instead, what those students often get, at least for the first two years and sometimes for all four, are behemoth classes taught, sometimes indifferently, by poorly paid, minimally supervised, time-harassed, and even burned-out “contingent” faculty whose connections with university life are so tenuous that students complain they never see their teachers outside of the classroom.

At community colleges, for example, only 19 percent of faculty are on the tenure track; the rest are drop-ins. One of the most crucial college courses, freshman composition, designed to prepare students to hone research skills and present cogent scholarly arguments, is on nearly every campus the sole domain of non-tenured part-timers making a couple thousand dollars a class–if they’re lucky. Tenured professors typically eschew freshman comp, stay away from large lecture courses unless they can buffer themselves with armies of graduate assistants, and in general try to teach as little as they can get away with, preferably in small graduate seminars. Universities prefer to spend their money on campus amenities and armies of administrators rather than on faculty salaries, particularly at the lower level. So students can essentially be cheated out of critical years of education that they, their parents, or state taxpayers are paying large sums for.

“No one is monitoring what’s happening in the classrooms,” said Williams, who holds a Master’s in Public Administration and who taught communications part time for three years at the University of Akron. “I was never evaluated. My syllabus was never read by anyone except my students.”

As the NFM presenters were eager to point out, the vast majority of non-tenured instructors, despite the doctoral degrees that most of them hold, are part-time “adjuncts” working for as little as $1,400 per three-credit-hour course taught (do the math and you’ll see that even if they manage to cram five classes per semester into their schedules–an unusually high teaching load for an adjunct–$14,000 a year doesn’t buy a lot of groceries). On top of their wretched pay, adjuncts lack the most rudimentary job security, because most are hired on an as-needed basis a few days before the semester begins. And on top of that, because college administrators want to keep adjunct faculty at arm’s length as part-timers–and thus get out of paying for their health insurance and other full-time employee benefits–few institutions permit adjuncts to teach more than two classes per semester. In order to earn something resembling a living wage, many adjuncts cobble together two or three teaching gigs on multiple campuses and spend much of their working day driving from part-time job to part-time job in the kind of car that you can afford when your income is $14,000 a year. Few campuses provide offices for adjunct faculty–or even parking spaces, computer access, or cubbies for storing their books. Adjuncts almost never get invited to departmental social events. Indeed, it’s common for the tenure-track professors in a given department not even to know the adjuncts’ names. As Betsy Smith, who teaches English as a second language part time at Cape Cod Community College, put it: “It’s matter of respect. They never refer to me as ‘my colleague.'”

Still, as I sat through the NFM summit in an audience of about a hundred of the angry untenured, I couldn’t help thinking: Isn’t all this misery self-inflicted? No one is holding a gun to the heads of these underemployed folks with their hyper-developed brains, strings of advanced degrees, and 20-year-old automobiles. Colleges pay adjuncts $1,400 a class (on the wealthier campuses the rate is more like $3,500 or $4,000 a class, still way under the average $55,000 annual starting salary for a brand-new assistant professor on the tenure track teaching three classes a semester)…because they can. In today’s academic market, at least in the humanities, there are at least two, and sometimes four holders of brand-new doctorates for every tenure-track opening. So there seems to be no end to the line of the over-educated who are willing to endure any indignity in order to keep a toehold in college teaching, even of the most marginal kind. “I put 10 years of my life into getting my Ph.D., and I don’t want to give it up” was a response I heard more than once when I asked several adjuncts at the summit why they didn’t just stop adjuncting and do something that would afford them a decent lifestyle.

Many of the summit panels consisted essentially of consciousness-raising, 1960s style. Clare Goldstene, a lecturer in the history department at American University, complained that lack of tenure made leftist faculty timid about expressing their views. “It dims the potent voice of progressive exchange,” she said. Deepak Bhargava, executive director of the Center for Community Change, a Washington-based advocacy group for “communities of color,” declared that there was a right-wing “effort afoot to roll back the 20th century: the New Deal, civil rights, voting rights, welcoming to immigrants.” He urged non-tenured instructors to form coalitions with day laborers, domestic workers, “demonized” public-school teachers’ unions, and a bunch of foreign students who entered the U.S. last summer on work-study visas and found themselves shuttled off by a labor contractor into night-shift work packing chocolate for a Hershey business partner. “Those were slave-like conditions, not unlike the conditions you work under,” Bhargava told the adjuncts.

Perhaps the most incendiary of all was Joe Berry, author of “Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education” and also the American Association of University Professors representative at Rutgers (the AAUP, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association are all competing among the non-tenured for union members). “This is a rich country, there’s plenty of money,” Berry declared. “It’s just in the wrong pockets.” In order to pay adjuncts better, Berry suggested a variety of redistributive measures at the federal level: a more progressive tax structure, cutbacks on military spending, and curtailing America’s “barbarous rate of incarceration.” Debra Leigh Scott, an adjunct professor in English at Temple University and the Community College of Philadelphia, narrated lugubrious tales of adjuncts she knew who signed up for food stamps, sold their eggs, reused their teabags because they had to buy cat food that week, and attended faculty dinners at restaurants where they couldn’t afford the wine. One adjunct shot his wife, set fire to their house, and then shot himself because the two had lost their jobs, their house was in foreclosure, and his wife had cancer. (Scott’s blog, The Homeless Adjunct, contains many more such woeful stories.) “My daughter is a corporate attorney because she doesn’t want to live on the edge of poverty the way I do,” Scott said.

‘They Don’t Care about Their Students’

Scott’s daughter struck me as having the right idea. So did Stanley Katz, director of Princeton’s Center for Arts and Cultural policy Studies. Katz, who received his doctorate from Princeton in 1961 and has spent his entire career teaching at elite universities, including Princeton, warned the assembled non-tenured that it was “naïve” for them to think, for example, that they could ever be accepted as equals by the research-focused–and status-obsessed–tenured professors who teach at their institutions. (One of the AAUP’s goals is for adjuncts to have access to the tenure track based upon their teaching records.) “Most of my colleagues care only about research. Why should they care about you? They don’t care about their own students.”

Another reality check came from Valerie Hardcastle, dean of arts and sciences at the University of Cincinnati, a drop-in from the university administrators’ meeting. “There’s an 850-pound gorilla in this room that’s never been discussed and never mentioned: the overproduction of Ph.D.’s. I say: You’re a smart person with a Ph.D.–why are you doing this to yourself? I don’t hire adjunct faculty in math because they won’t work under those conditions. And I don’t hire adjunct faculty in Spanish because they won’t work under those conditions. But we have a plethora of English Ph.D.’s–and every year the English department comes to me and wants to expand the Ph.D. program.

Yes, it might have been provocative for the NFM summit to have focused, not on the immiseration of adjunct faculty, but on other factors: the faculty vanity, the desire to teach small classes of eager graduate students rather than large classes of disengaged undergrads, and the greed for cheap labor that has led English and departments to persist in operating doctoral programs whose chief yield is the impoverished and radicalized lifelong adjuncts. And while my advice to would-be adjunct professors is still “Just say no,” I emerged with a better understanding of why their perhaps futile quest for better working conditions has some merit: By systematically underpaying and mistreating the non-tenured faculty who bear the burden of basic education, colleges are systematically cheating their own students. As Maria Maisto, president of the NFM, told me in an interview after the conference, “It’s not just a market issue. The same entities control the supply and the demand.”

12 thoughts on “The Outrage of the Adjuncts”

  1. While I agree with much of Charlotte Allen’s invocation of the economists’ model of supply and demand, I think she’s concentrating on the wrong side of the model when she cites an *over* supply.
    Instead, I think the stunning characteristic of academic hiring is a strong collapse in demand — an *under* demand — for full-time tenure-stream PhDs to teach in colleges. If we ask “who’s teaching Johnny and Jane in our college classrooms?” the answer is “mostly people who aren’t allowed to earn a middle-class livelihood from their teaching”.

  2. I AM FIGHTING ON BEHALF OF US ALL. SEND THIS MESSAGE WHERE POSSIBLE 732 572 2766 I CANNOT FIGHT THIS ALONE. BEN ROSENBERG
    Please note I only want to continue teaching at Rutgers. My health and teaching was greatly affected by the refusal to answer my questions regarding summer and fall teaching. The answers were either lies or constantly referred to as a ‘PERSONNEL matter. This bullying and harassment were obvious and I must reiterate that my concerns of anti-Semitism were never addressed and I feared for my safety. Obviously this was not considered in your determination. The Police Chief of Edison township where I am chaplain does not understand why the administration did not report my complaint to security.
    Dr. Kui returned only one of my emails stating “take me off your list.” Dr. Katz has a reputation of allegedly bullying other intstructors which is known. if there were complaints about my teaching, why were they not brought to my attention so I could address them and correct them. Yes, it is true I went to the media because the dept ignored my questions. If any student had a complaint it should have been brought to me by the dept. If I was not following the curriculum, why wasn’t I confronted with that? My student and teacher evaluations do not indicate any problems. The one student who complained about me in one evaluation was because the student did not receive an A. I have students who can attest to everything that was taught in class. I would like to appear with about 20 of them before you.
    This was very drawn out; I could not even get an answer to future employment until june. This was very painful emotionally and physically. I told the dept I would always follow the curriculum and correct anything they wanted regarding the new curriculum. I only spoke out in print and video when I was lied to about not being hired for the summer.
    I still would like to resolve this issue without going to court.
    Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg
    PLEASE ALSO EXPLAIN WHY I AM NOT QUALIFIED TO TEACH THE NEW CURRICULUM. DR. ROSENBERG
    RE: Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg
    Dr. Rosenberg,
    Your issues were thoroughly investigated. I’ll respond to you more fully as soon as possible.
    Thank you, Jayne
    I just showed this to my attorney who said this is called a “hostile work enviornment.” He does not understand why the issues were not addressed.
    Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg
    Today I received the letter from Rutgers University Human Resources, dated June 18 2012.
    Re: discrimination complaint
    The religious discrimination/anti-Semitism complaint you cite in your letter was a side issue to the main original complaint. It was only included because one of my students noted this was happening.
    The reason I went to the office of employment equity was my complaint of harrassment and bullying. I sent all this information several times so I do not understand why this major complaint was not addressed.
    I was called into Dr. Hui-Min Kuo’s office and berated, bullied and harrassed regarding the following issues:
    A complaint against me that I used my youtube/video in class and that I sold my book directly to my students instead of the bookstore.
    I teach public speaking and was using mixed media as I was told to do by the department. Since I am a public speaker, reverend, and have been speaking in public for 36 years my youtube was a teaching element. In fact, recently there appeared an article in the Home News stating that twitter and youtube are used in all levels of education facilities. In addition, on June 16th an article appeared in the Star Ledger about a part time instructor (who calls himself professor in the article; Dr. Katz berated me and stated that I cannot call myself professor because I am part time) who shows his youtube on his moustache at Rutgers to great acclaim. I would like to know if this teacher is being disciplined for this.
    Regarding my selling my book , as soon as I was told to sell it through the bookstore, I did.
    The most flagrant part of the harrassment at this meeting involved Dr. Kuo confronting me and asking belligerently if I had taken the anti-discrimination exam at Rutgers. She most certainly knew I took it since it is in my file. This was a blatant form of harrassment and bullying to rile me up.
    I am including a basic summary of the situation. Please read it yourself. This letter did not address my complaint at all and I would like to appear in front of you to state the case. According to our labor attorney I have a strong case of harrassment and bullying which is why I do not understand the content of your letter. The harrassment and bullying has affected me greatly both physically, emotionally and monetarily.
    Please read:
    I have been teaching at Rutgers University, SCILS, Department of Communication as a part time instructor for 24 years. I have always had excellent evaluations and recommendations.
    I am also the only teacher in my department who wears a skullcap.
    In the fall of 2012, after the first day of the semester, I was summoned to the office of the undergraduate department chair, Hui Min Kuo through an email. As a child of survivors of the Holocaust who lost his entire family, and a Holocaust historian myself who is constantly fighting against anti-Semitism, I became frightened by this abrupt email which demanded that I appear immediately without explanation. I called Dr. Hui Min Kuo on the phone and explained my fear and asked that she tell me the problem over the phone. After all I had worked at Rutgers for 24 years and what could be so dire and serious? I literally begged her to tell me so I would not imagine a horrible situation. She refused.
    When I arrived at her office Dr. Nick Linardopoulos, the Public speaking debate Coordinator was sitting there with her. I felt on trial. My thoughts ran wild: Should I have brought a lawyer? Why was she not speaking to me in private? Why was there a witness there?
    Dr. Hui Min Kuo said a student, after the first day of class, complained to the department that I used You Tube and Twitter in class and that I was selling my own book in class. I explained that I had been teaching in this manner for years and did not know that a teacher had to sell his book through the bookstore. In fact, many years ago I showed this book to Dr. Min Kuo; in fact, I had asked her to put a forward in the book which she did not do.
    I felt that these complaints were trivial. I could prove that many educators, as was appearing in articles everywhere including the New Jersey Home News, were using different forms of media to teach. In fact, I was asked to use mixed media by the department this past year which I did . Regarding my book, I told them I would contact the Rutgers book store and arrange to have the book sold through them. I did this that week and the book is now being sold through the bookstore for $15.00 more than when I sold it directly to my students. I also told them I never tell my students buying the book is a requirement; it is an option which I have found is better than the textbook.
    As I said, this was very frightening. Would any one else be brought into this situation for such small mistakes? In today’s world where people are accused of accosting women, harrasing and bullying, I had reason to worry. Dr. Min Kuo then asked me if I had taken the required anti-discrimination test at Rutgers. At this point I was even more frightened. Was a student accusing me of touching them improperly? Did I need a lawyer? Was I being falsely accused? My reputation was on the line. (I had taken the test). I tried to diffuse the situation by making a joke. I told Dr. Min Kuo that I had not raped anyone lately. She blew up in my face. I immediately apologized. I was very upset as I felt I was on trial and just blurted that out. She had no understanding of what my Holocaust background meant and how terrifying this was. (I had explained this on the phone to her before the meeting.)j
    Why in the world was she asking me this question? I am a respected clergyman, police chaplain and former prison chaplain. Rutgers has a record of my taking the test so this was pure harrassment. She yelled at me throughout the meeting. She made me feel like a thief over selling the book even though I said I would correct the issue and told her she was making me feel like a thief. When I asked who the student was who complained against me, she refused to tell me.
    Looking back, there were a number of incidents with the Chair of the department, Dr. James Katz, whom Dr. Min Kuo reports directly to: he is is in my opinion heading this. He sent me two disrespectful emails in the past about telling me not to call myself a professor (this appeared on my website) and about using my textook. I immediately corrected both. I had not done the website myself (the person who did it wrote that I was a professor) but I changed it everywhere I could. Just this past week there appeared an article in the Star Ledger, dated June 16th about a part time instructor at Rutgers; he calls himself “adjunct professor” and shows the youtube he made on his moustache to his classes. Unlike him, I am a professor of communication and I use my youtubes to teach how to communicate. I possess two doctorates, two masters degrees and Rabbinical ordination, and have taught for 36 years in various universities where I am called a professor. Dr. Katz was very nasty in his emails. In addition, all my classes are filled to capacity at Rutgers and you cannot get in without special permission numbers. One year after all the numbers were used up, I told other students to call the commmunication office to try to get in to the class. The secretary sent me an irate letter telling me never to send students to her. I replied in an email that her verbiage was disrespectful to me. I immediately received an email from Dr. Katz that I had no right to write this to her and lambasted me in his email. In my opinion this was all bullying.
    One of my students, a practicing Coptic Christian wrote in a letter that he “personally heard it that Rabbi Dr. Rosenberg, who wears a skullcap and is outspoken on behalf of the Jewish community, is a target from many of the Muslim students on campus. I know this because beinga student in his class, I have heard this from students in a variety of ways.” He himself has been harrassed by Muslim students on campus.
    Several months into this semester I heard from a student at Rutgers that my name was not listed as teaching on the summer schedule; this was the first time I had not taught summer school in ten years. The administration did not even give me the courtesy of notification so I could get another teaching job for the summer. I emailed the secretary who told me to email Dr. Kuo; she would not reply. Dean Karen Novick replied that last summer attendance was lower than expected and apologized for not informing me (too late for me). In a Rutgers newspaper, the Targum, Dr. Novick was quoted as stating she wasn’t certain that registration was lower. I then found out the real reason was that Dr. Linardopulos was asked to teach a hybrid course; so the original statement of lower attendance was not the real reason.
    After finding out about the summer I was concerned about my teaching in the fall. After all, I have been teaching six classes a year at Rutgers for 24 years. I contacted Dr. Novick by email who kept telling me that they were still interviewing candidates for teaching and it was not decided. I was always told it was a personnel issue and they would not tell me anything. Until today I have still not been told if I am teaching this fall. I have always been notified about summer teaching in february, and about fall teaching by the end of march. I have been looking into other teaching jobs since no one will tell me about the fall. Everywhere I turn it is too late to get a job.
    Just this past week, after countless emails and phone calls to the department, I received a fedexed letter stating that I was not being rehired because I was unqualified to teach the “new curriculum” they had instituted in the department . In fact, I had taught the new curriculum for two semesters, fall 2011 and spring 2012 and received excellent evaluations frm the students AND the department. In addition, I just learned that Dr. Kuo has resigned and Dr. Katz is taking a two year sabbatical from the department.
    One of my main questions is, since I complained to all the Rutgers teachers and administrators including the President’s office that I feel that the original complaint came from someone anti-Semitic (what student on the first day of class would make a written complaint based on such trivial items?) and the statement from my Coptic Christian student was ignored , isn’t this a bias charge? No one from the administration got back to me about any of this.
    Please understand my Holocaust background is a world in which any accusation can lead to something serious. I have been suffering from extreme emotional and hysical distress since this occurred and the way this was handled by the administration. I cannot sleep. I am convinced this is anti-Semitic, harrassment and bullying. I believe it occurred because I am a staunch Zionist, speak out and wear a skullcap. It is interesting to note that Dr. Katz once said to me”are you staying out of trouble?” Of course this was referring to my speaking out on Jewish issues as seen in the media (radio, tv, newspaper).
    Many people have tried helping me resolve this. They are told this is a “personnel issue” which only makes me more concerned regarding my reputation. I prefer to settle this in an amicable fashion by continuing at Rutgers. I had no choice but to go to the media and speak out. My part time lecturers union has told me they cannot help me ; they only deal with monetary issues.
    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

  3. In the Star Ledger, dated June 16, 2012, there is an article titled, ” Groomed for Success” page 15, which speaks about Matthew “Mattstache” Ferguson’s great success lip – synching on a Youtube. It cites him as an “Adjunct Professor” at Rutgers University and the fact that he shows this video in his class at Rutgers. It says the video has gone viral.
    Two facts: All my troubles at Rutgers began when I was castigated by DR. Jim Katz, the chairman of the department for calling myself an adjunct professor on line. Actually I did not write this; the person who developed my page called me professor which is the title I have at Yeshiva University, where I also taught. Yeshiva University in fact used this title in their press releases.
    In addition a student complained after the first day of my fall class in writing to the communications department at Rutgers and I was castigated for showing my youtube in my public speaking class. I was using it to teach since my class is public speaking in the department of Communication, unlike Mr. Ferguson who teaches American studies and Communication.
    I support his right to use his video. In fact there was a major article in the Home News about the growing use of videos /you tube in education including college classes. I was harrassed and bullied for doing the same thing as Mr. Ferguson who was lauded for his efforts, cited in various newspapers etc as he continues to show this video in his university classes. The youtube videos I showed at Rutgers dealt with motivation and dating skills which are part of communication and relevant to my curriculum. I protested because I felt there had to be a reason I was singled out by my department.
    Some felt the student who complained may have been anti-Semitic since I am the only one who wears a skullcap in the department. Since the name of the student was never revealed, I cannot substantiate this. I do know there was a Muslim female student, dressed in Muslim garb, who came to the first class, asked me for a special permission number at the end of the class to join the class (since all my classes were filled to capacity); I wanted to let her in but I did not have any more special permission numbers from the department.
    One of my students emailed the deans at Rutgers stating he was aware there were individuals at Rutgers who targeted me because of my views on Zionism. In addition, the undergraduate chairman of the department who made the initial email to me regarding the complaint, retired this semester. I was never made aware of this. Dr. Katz, the head of the department has taken a two year sabbatical.
    Even though I continuously asked if I was being rehired for the fall, I was put off until June when I was told I was not being rehired after twenty years of teaching because “I was not qualified to teach the new curriculum.” If I was unqualified, why did I receive high marks from my students this past year under the new curriculum and high marks from the department coordinator.
    I was interviewed in the Rutgers Targum newspaper where I spoke about how adjunct teachers were treated like trash, with no benefits and a union without power.
    I am writing this letter because it is my nature to fight back; unlike other adjuncts who are afraid of losing their jobs. This entire incidents has hurt me greatly. On a personal level, I want to share that I am a child of Holocaust survivors and the way the department confronted me with the accusation put me on the defensive. It was demeaning and clear bullying. I would like to sue the university but honestly do not have the funds to hire an attorney willing to take on Rutgers University. I lost my job because spoke out.
    Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

  4. I agree with David in that “until faculty learn to stand up for the work they are doing, at all levels, this will continue.” I’m wrapping up my Ph.D. and going on the market (tried last fall to zilch success, though I do get a 3-week teaching gig in China so I shouldn’t complain much:)) again, and I think it’s important to realize we’re in a crap economy and there’s a glut of Ph.D.s flooding a very competitive and narrow space, so we do often get stuck with non-tenure jobs, but, more importantly, they are non-benefits and pay very little. That’s the bigger problem; we’re being treated very expendably, and who doesn’t want some job security, never mind respect?
    If I don’t get a position, I’ll find other work, preferably falling under that “public service” moniker in my “reduce your loans!” financial aid information:) I will, however, apply for many jobs that I really don’t want – Lecturer? Instructor? Renewable semester to semester contract? Haven’t I gotten past *that*? – and try to negotiate. I think that’s the unity that David is talking about. I know times are hard for us – I too have shuttled between three universities to teach in one semester – and I know, universities and colleges of the land, that budgets are tight. But once I am Dr. So-and-So and potentially teach a ridiculous course load with a shared office at your fine institution, I want health insurance, at least;) I deserve it if you’re going to pay me like I’m still a student.
    Tallyho!

  5. As an adjunct “professor” I enjoy teaching immensely, love my students, and tolerate the disgracefully low pay given to adjuncts. The Catholic college where I teach is a marvelous place, in spite of the low pay. Why is this?
    Anyone who has read “The Fall of the Faculty” by Benjamin Ginsberg knows what is going on. Administrations are becoming top-heavy and soak up resources greedily and wastefully. This is undoubtedly due to capitalism per se to some extent, but is primarily due to the steady expansion of the “business model” in American colleges and universities. Until faculty learn to stand up for the hard work they are doing, at all levels, this will continue. It will continue as long as faculty lose confidence in their own values: The humanities, for instance, were never designed to prepare students to make tons of money, nor should they be.

  6. What is workplace violence?
    Most people think of violence as a physical assault. However, workplace violence is a much broader problem. It is any act in which a person is abused, threatened, intimidated or assaulted in his or her employment. Workplace violence includes:
    threatening behaviour – such as shaking fists, destroying property or throwing objects.
    verbal or written threats – any expression of an intent to inflict harm.
    harassment – any behaviour that demeans, embarrasses, humiliates, annoys, alarms or verbally abuses a person and that is known or would be expected to be unwelcome. This includes words, gestures, intimidation, bullying, or other inappropriate activities.
    verbal abuse – swearing, insults or condescending language.
    physical attacks – hitting, shoving, pushing or kicking.
    Rumours, swearing, verbal abuse, pranks, arguments, property damage, vandalism, sabotage, pushing, theft, physical assaults, psychological trauma, anger-related incidents, rape, arson and murder are all examples of workplace violence.
    Workplace violence is not limited to incidents that occur within a traditional workplace. Work-related violence can occur at off-site business-related functions (conferences, trade shows), at social events related to work, in clients’ homes or away from work but resulting from work (a threatening telephone call to your home from a client).
    Policy Against Verbal Assault, Defamation, and Harassment
    I. Statement of Principles
    Intolerance and bigotry are antithetical to the values of the University and unacceptable within the Rutgers community. One of the ways the University seeks to effect this value is through a policy of nondiscrimination, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, or veteran status in University programs. In order to reinforce institutional goals of nondiscrimination, tolerance, and civility, the following policy against verbal assault, defamation, and harassment is intended to inform students that the verbal assault, defamation or harassment by students of others violates acceptable standards of conduct within the University.
    Verbal assault, defamation or harassment interferes with the mission of the University. Each member of this community is expected to be sufficiently tolerant of others so that all students are free to pursue their goals in an open environment, able to participate in the free exchange of ideas, and able to share equally in the benefits of our educational opportunities. Beyond that, each member of the community is encouraged to do all that she or he can to ensure that the University is fair, humane and responsible to all students.
    A community establishes standards in order to be able to fulfill its mission. The policy against verbal assault, defamation, and harassment seeks to guarantee certain minimum standards. Free speech and the open discussion of ideas are an integral part of the University community and are fully encouraged, but acts which restrict the rights and opportunities of others through violence, intimidation, or verbal assault, even if communicative in nature, are not protected speech and are to be condemned.

  7. I did walk away, reasonably, after surveying the raw mess tenured faculty have made of the one hiring market they control — for their privilege of course, though I happen to believe it is coddled Fabianism that drives academics to believe that the “academic freedom/job security” racket is important enough to drive the many tens of thousands of the people who prop up their jobs and fill their highly desirable graduate seminar teaching assignments — into penury.
    Suggesting that people walk away isn’t wrong, but it still leaves the problem unsolved. “We just need fewer abject servants to teach our composition sections” leaves the rest of the rotted yet highly influential academic market intact.
    Tenure is the problem. And the inevitably corrupting privilege of selective “academic freedom” that created the presumptions that created this mess. Unfortunately, I don’t see much courage among the tenured Right to address such real problems — complaining about the next bit of unsurprising Marxist babble isn’t going to accomplish anything. It’s really up to conservative scholars to examine their own presumptions, rather than taking easy shots at the other side while ignoring their own culpability. I’ve never seen a tenured conservative professor take a hard stand on the realities of the corruption they are propping up just as much as their Marxist peers. Perhaps if they committed to doing that, rather than valorizing the same mafioso bandwagon in the interest of their own special interests, something would change.

  8. I have on my desk an old Campus Equity Week button that says “Teachers’ Working Conditions=Students’ Learning Conditions.” This is not just a slogan; it is a statement of fact. If we care about our students’ education, we need also to care about the working conditions of the majority of faculty who teach them.
    Betsy Smith/Adjunct Professor of ESL/Cape Cod Community College

  9. Thanks for this update on what other adjuncts think. They’re pathetic. A couple years ago, I looked at a blog on this subject, and those responding blamed corporations or administrators for their plight, or else they believed the taxpayers would help them out. I was the only one blaming the tenured liberals and leftists. After all, they now dominate in academia, and this problem is happening on their watch, so it is only fair to blame them. The fact that I was the only one saying this doesn’t say much for their critical abilities.
    And while Joe Berry is right that there is plenty of money in this country, why expect the rest of the country to pay for this problem when there’s plenty of money within academia to solve it? It’s just maldistributed. There could be a redistribution from those with tenure to the adjuncts. Most academics already favor redistributions, while many on the outside don’t. So the obvious way to proceed is to do a redistribution within academia. It could be totally voluntary, and if it worked, it would show the outside world how wonderful redistributions are.
    Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that it would never work. Call me cynical, but I’m pretty sure that people with money who say they want a redistribution aren’t as committed to this idea as they say they are.

  10. “By systematically underpaying and mistreating the non-tenured faculty who bear the burden of basic education, colleges are systematically cheating their own students.”
    No: By systematically overpaying and coddling tenured faculty, colleges are systematically cheating their own students.

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