"National Adjunct Walkout Day,"
part-time professors at Cleveland State University will walk out of class Wednesday to raise awareness about the plight of overworked and underpaid professors.
Adjuncts teach 66 percent of the courses at CSU, but are still paid chump change, at rates which fail to account for the majority of their labors. They'll have an information booth in the Student Center from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
It's not just the low wages, either, adjuncts claim. It's the pay schedule.
"I started teaching on Jan. 12 and will not receive my first paycheck until Feb. 27," said Dr. Brian Johnson, a longtime adjunct in CSU's English department. He has been organizing and agitating the local group on Facebook. "People are equating adjunct faculty as the new fast-food workers, but McDonald’s doesn’t make you wait seven weeks for your first paycheck. They’d probably get sued if they did.”
The arguments in Cleveland are variations on nationwide themes: Much like fast-food employees, adjuncts are given only limited hours by the university. They've got no job security and no benefits. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated a measurable decline in retention rates and academic success when students are exposed to primarily non-tenure-track faculty.
Plus, the economics are "absurd."
Students at CSU pay nearly $10,000 per year for a full course load. For non-residents, it's closer to $18,000. An adjunct instructor is paid roughly $2,500 per class (before taxes).
That $18,000 figure is for non-resident transfer
Non-resident career student tuition is about $13,000. Thanks to commenter Tom Horsman below for pointing out).
Elizabeth Hoag was an adjunct instructor at CSU last semester.
“I taught a class of 118 students. That means that the college made about $140,000 from my class after paying me $2,500 with no benefits, and making me pay for parking! It's absurd.”
On the CSU adjunct Facebook page
, commenters concur that using classroom hours exclusively to determine adjunct pay is outrageous: it fails to account for the time it takes to prepare for class, grade assignments and exams, sit for mandatory office hours and provide additional assistance students often require.
A spokesman in CSU's PR department said he hadn't even heard
that adjuncts were planning to walk out Wednesday, and has not yet responded to specific questions via email.
Disclosure: I myself am an adjunct in CSU's English Department.