Dear Adjuncts: If You Don’t Like it, Change it.
|March 21, 2013||Posted by Hazel M. under Activism, Adjunct Professors, Education, Politics, Work|
Sometimes I wonder if adjunct professors aren’t just banging their heads against a brick wall. This past year, the adjunct labor battle has been covered at least cursorily by almost every major news outlet in the country, but will anything actually change?
My fellow writer at Order of Education, Josh Boldt, has been heavily involved in this adjunct labor movement. I don’t mean to be too critical of his work, but I just wonder if it will ever amount to anything. The Adjunct Project that he started last year has certainly grown into something, so there’s that. The Chronicle of Higher Education co-opted the website and developed it into a real platform for adjuncts (though I find it interesting that they are already referring to it as “The’s Chronicle’s Adjunct Project” in some articles and communications).
My experience as an interested observer of the adjunct movement has led me to believe that most adjuncts are pretty comfortable in their roles as subjugated pawns in the higher education labor market. I don’t think most of them would even know what to do with a system that empowered them. I might even argue that they prefer this marginalizing relationship so they can continue to cry foul. What they really want is a reason to continue shouting in the quad about how the sky is falling and how unfair it all is.
Oh, crap. Was that mean? I think that might have been mean.
Look, I fully agree with the adjunct activists–people like Boldt and groups like New Faculty Majority–who argue that the adjunct role is exploitative and wrong. There’s really no question about it. Paying a college professor $20,000 a year to teach a full course load is despicable. Just because someone accepts the insults and attacks of an abuser doesn’t make the abuser right.
I’m simply asking the question: Why in God’s name do adjuncts who are treated this way continue to accept this abuse? It’s crazy. It makes me suspicious that maybe they aren’t as uncomfortable as they pretend to be.
Adjuncts Can Change Their Own Situations
Many of these adjuncts have been doing this job for decades and complaining about it the whole time. What a life.
For example, I’ve been a subscriber to the adjunct listserv known as adj-l for a good while now. This listserv has been around for years and years. Do you think they’ve made any progress? My impression is that these same people have been discussing the same problems over and over again for God knows how long. It’s pretty hard to feel sorry for them.
Why don’t these adjuncts DO SOMETHING?
I’m not necessarily suggesting that they walk out or riot in the streets or even strike, though all those things might work. All I’m saying is if you hate your job, freaking quit. If you don’t like your situation, change it. Stop talking about it and DO IT. Whether that means marching on the administration building, striking, walking out, or just finding another job. Just please do something, or else get comfortable and try to enjoy yourself.
by Hazel M.,