People's Tribune - Non-tenure track faculty —part-time and full-time— makes up 75% of the academic workforce. We have been called many names, but the newest is “tenuous faculty.” Many call us adjunct, but we cannot really be adjunct because we do the same things as regular faculty. We are tenuous, though, unsubstantiated, fragile. Are we therefore weak, afraid, invisible? We are not an appendage either, as the word adjunct indicates, and as universities would like to think— an arm to help schools make money. Tuitions increase, administrations are bloated, yet faculty salaries remain stagnant. Why? The compensation levels of 75% of Higher Ed’s faculty—this tenuous faculty— do not warrant unconscionable tuition hikes.
Many work at or under the poverty line, without health
insurance. Though some may be lucky to teach the equivalency of full
time, many cobble together a living at several universities. Even those
fortunate enough to teach under better circumstances have no academic
freedom and suffer under precarious conditions. If we are “dismissed,”
many remain ineligible for unemployment benefits. Yet we all deserve a
living wage. Earning $2700 per course, as is the average pay nationwide
for tenuous faculty, without benefits, is not equitable pay.