One Faculty, One Struggle

I don’t know anything about Lakeland Community College in Ohio, much less about the issues that may be provoking faculty there to go on strike (but I can guess they are similar to those faced by faculty everywhere).  However, when I chanced across this inspiring post from this morning on the website of the Ohio Part Time Faculty Association, I just had to share it:

In the event of a strike by the full time faculty of Lakeland Community College, the Ohio Part Time Faculty Association urges part time faculty in the area who may be called upon to teach as replacements to refrain from doing so and honor the full time faculty strike. Adjuncts can be instrumental in achieving a victory. Our legitimate needs and concerns as part time adjuncts will be significantly undercut if the Lakeland administration can, by dividing us, defeat the full time faculty. All faculty will gain strength through solidarity!

This is the stand that we in the AAUP, among others, have been advocating for some time: only if we find ways to join together as one faculty, tenured and adjunct, full-time and part-time, two-year and four-year, will we be able to more effectively defend our profession, our academic freedom, and our citizens’ rights to accessible, affordable, high-quality higher education.

I can only wish the best of luck to our colleagues at Lakeland and their supporters in the Ohio Part Time Faculty Association and elsewhere.

3 thoughts on “One Faculty, One Struggle

  1. And does the AAUP oppose the frequent full-time faculty practice of taking on “extra service loads” which undermine the pool of courses available to adjuncts? And does the AAUP oppose full-time faculty retirees (a la Cary Nelson, et al.) from becoming “adjuncts” in their retirement, drawing both pension and adjunct salaries and reducing the pool of positions for full-time faculty and adjuncts alike?

    Those in the trenches are not holding their breath, of course. Like Anouilh’s Becket, when confronted with the king’s demand that the honor of God and the honor of the king become one, we can only reply “That may take long….”

  2. With one or two exceptions, I do not think that the AAUP leadership understands that many interests of full time and adjunct faculty are naturally opposed. Professor_at_Large, above, outlines some of the issues. But the real issue is that when both full time and adjunct faculty are represented in the same unit, the more available and active full time faculty generally push for and achieve their own goals, relegating adjunct faculty goals to an afterthought. In our union, both full time and adjunct faculty have lost ground to inflation over the years. But adjunct faculty have lost an average of over twice as much because percentage increases favor those making more to begin with. When the union switched to fixed dollar amounts, the situation became even worse because adjunct pay was (in one negotiation as an example) issue number 23 out of 27. I believe this to be typical. While the different groups try to be supportive of each other, it is very hard for people to work against self interest.

    • Oh, the AAUP leadership understands this all right; they make a conscious choice to turn a blind eye to it — for example, in the pursuit of agency fees through partnership with AFT in union organizing drives, etc. AAUP leaders this past year even gutted the already paltry budget of the Assembly of State Conferences to feed the agency fee drives — and the then ASC Chair resigned in protest. A protest that was, of course, hushed up…even as another clone of the leadership was willing to take his place.

      This commenter refers to this betrayal of the AAUP principles as the “thirty pieces of silver” phenomenon: AAUP leaders are following the scent of the money, and one percent of an adjunct’s salary doesn’t ring in the coffers with as loud a ca-ching as the one percent of the full-time faculty salaries.

      Dewey and Lovejoy are turning in their graves — the centennial organization would be unrecognizable to them today.

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