Every word I try write since the COVID-19 pandemic seems bizarrely ironic. All my thoughts feel like unintentional platitudes missing a mark that keeps moving despite sheltering in place. Each word trying to escape is an S.O.S., a cry for connection, a plea for something different. My words are zygotes made from hopefulness and dread, … More An artist’s activist bio for the end of capitalism
being a white presenting woman, came with the privilege of being able to park my car with no money and be trusted enough to return with what I owed. White privilege was blatantly working in my favor at that moment and I was accepting that privilege with tempered gratitude that felt equally complicit and coercive. … More Labor Day Thoughts on Misogyny, White Supremacy, and Collective Grieving
Institutionally, most schools have become a system for laundering federal and private student loan money in order to make a few people wealthy while the rest go into debilitating debt. In other words, bastions of neoliberalism. Or maybe more accurately, bastards of neoliberalism. … More Rope-A-Dope
When the union organizers came to my school I was cordial but suspicious; I liked my job, things were fine, but I had been raised to believe in unions, so I would give them a chance. As an adjunct, I was led to believe that job insecurity was normal, that not having benefits was normal, that being expected to do unpaid work for the college and do everything the tenured faculty did, but for lower pay, was normal. It didn’t occur to me that this was poor treatment. … More Wading into Action
More than ever, we need to be the ones to take leadership in the labor movement and ensure it becomes a solid mechanism to work from as we organize safety nets to catch even more of us falling through the gaping hole of an incomprehensible wealth gap and the distressing beat of a neofascist government. … More We Are the Ones
That was the moment when I stopped being silent in class, when I began introducing myself as an adjunct from the very first day, on my syllabus, and talking about what that meant to the students in my class. I lost patience with my FTT colleagues in the union who clearly were not interested in making working conditions better for us. … More The Awakening: Many Voices, Many Stories
Those of you reading this are likely already helping to expose corruption and increase our visibility. As you know, adjuncts are still fairly invisible to the powers that be. The Higher Education Price Index from Commonfund Institute, the top manager of educational endowments, eliminates contingent faculty from their data. US News & World Report fails to present ratios of contingent to full-time faculty for institutions. … More Killing the Hungry Ghosts
As a organizer I constantly heard from the opposition, “Why don’t these fast food workers get more education, so then they won’t have to work these low paying jobs?” For a minute I was kind of seeing their point to be honest, even though I was a fast food worker with a college degree. But then I went to a meeting at California College of Arts (CCA) and actually met with some adjuncts. … More Myth or Fact: Higher Education = Higher Pay
As I continue to advocate on behalf of mental health, neurodiversity, and gender equality in other aspects of my personal and professional life, I become more aware of the overlap with my adjunct activism, but I also become more aware of how insignificant the adjunct crisis can seem by comparison. Every adjunct activist, no matter how exploited, is given the opportunity to check our privilege when we begin to learn about and work with other contingent and precarious workers or in other movements.
This week’s post is from the inimitable Joe Berry, who literally wrote the book on adjunct organizing— Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education.
Joe was instrumental in getting the 1989 Cervisi decision passed, the California code that states contingent faculty have no reasonable assurance of employment, regardless of promised contracts, and are therefore eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. … More Always an organizer, sometimes a staffer, often a pain in the ass to someone