By Laura French
A group seeking to bring awareness to the issues faced by adjunct professors demonstrated in the Student Center yesterday during common hour, holding up signs in protest and handing out flyers to passersby. The group, which included full-time professors, adjunct professors and members of the Ramapo Federation of State College Teachers, a local branch of the American Federation of Teachers, honored National Adjunct Awareness Day by drawing attention to what they see as unacceptably low pay, a lack of benefits, job security and a lack of recognition and respect in the academic community.
“All across the country, adjunct faculty increasingly teach a larger and larger percentage of courses and in general they are significantly underpaid when compared to full-time faculty,” said Martha Ecker, one of the demonstrators, a full-time sociology professor and the president of the local AFT. “We want to make people aware of this, the fact that they get no benefits, the fact that in order to really create a salary that, I mean, any individual can live on, oftentimes adjunct faculty have to cobble together a number of different jobs.”
National Adjunct Awareness Day is an alternative name for National Adjunct Walkout Day, which is not an annual, government-recognized event, but rather an independently organized movement. The movement, which was first proposed in October by an adjunct at San Jose State University, gained massive support from academics across the United States after being picked up by different teacher’s organizations and unions, including several branches of the American Association of University Professors and the AFT.