Writing for Westword, Alan Prendergast reports that “Colorado Community College Profs Seethe over Low Pay, Lame Raise.”
Here are the opening paragraphs of the article:
“In a part-timer economy, fast-food workers and janitors aren’t the only ones feeling the pinch. Skimpy wages, long hours and a lack of benefits can also be found in the white-collar sweat shops operated by the Colorado Community College System. Last night, a group of CCCS instructors gathered at the Denver Press Club to compare notes about survival skills, swap stories about their worst assignments and ponder a satiric display of items that could be purchased with their latest five-buck-a-week pay raise, including used books, cans of beans, a large latte and other luxuries.
“Part-timers, officially known as adjunct faculty, are the dirty secret of the state’s community college system. They teach the bulk of the courses but are paid an average of $1,900 per semester course—less than a third of what full-time faculty are paid per class. Their course load is typically kept to under thirty hours a week in order to skirt federal requirements for health-care coverage. And if they complain, they can expect to see their course loads cut further; the disgruntled can always be replaced from a surplus pool of educated, aspiring adjuncts. Or, as in the case we’ve been following concerning former Adams State University part-timer Danny Ledonne, they can end up banned from campus for alleged ‘security reasons.’
“Many instructors end up stringing together part-time gigs on different college campuses, along with outside jobs to get by. It’s gotten to the point where veterans of the game offer crash courses to other adjuncts in how to access food banks, home heating assistance programs and indigent medical care.”
Caprice Lawless, vice president of the CCCS chapter of the American Association of University Professors and organizer of the Snowflake Summit, is quoted as saying, “’It’s very demoralizing. We have one guy here tonight who’s working four jobs.’”
Prendergast notes that although the recommendation of a 2015 task force that adjunct faculty receive a 28 percent pay increase has been deemed politically “unfeasible,” “full-time faculty received a 20 percent raise, and administrative salaries have skyrocketed in recent years, along with major building campaigns on several of the 41 campuses operated by the state’s thirteen community colleges.”
Lawless is then quoted again: “’Is the mission instruction or construction? They’re atomizing teaching. Instead of students coming to talk to you about their plans, they’re supposed to go see a success coach.’”
Prendergast closes the article by emphasizing that the Colorado community college system is, in fact, in very good condition financially and that if it will not now address the substandard wages being paid to adjunct faculty, it simply is not serious about addressing those inequities because it not likely ever to be in a significantly better position to do so.
Prendergast’s complete article is available at: http://www.westword.com/news/colorado-community-college-profs-seethe-over-low-pay-lame-raise-7516881.