Adjunct Professor Raises Questions on Equity within Academia

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Editor’s Note: This letter to the editor was submitted in response to the Oct. 24 news article titled “Fairness of Adjunct Stipends Discussed”. See the original article here.

 

As an adjunct faculty member at USF, I wanted to thank Ian Scullion and the Foghorn for investigating the issue of part-time faculty compensation, and for doing so with both thoroughness and fairness.  The problem of low adjunct faculty pay, and more broadly, the problem of the economic and professional marginalization of a majority of academic workers in higher education, is certainly one that USF students should be aware of.

This issue is important to the USF community not just because it raises questions about equity, ethics, and social justice in academia, but because it conjures a discussion about the larger forces that are at play.  Those forces, as Stephen Zunes points out, are corporate forces, and they are inexorably shaping USF and the world beyond it.

As a cohort of social justice scholars, knowing what we know, we have some decisions to make: Will we march along, in a commodified trance, to the tune of “business as usual,” or will we take a moment to wonder why the people around us, people we know and trust, are being exploited?  And further, will we pause to look beyond those we know, to those we do not, to interrogate the wider system and the inequalities it propagates?

These are the challenges of our particular age.  It would be tragic if we weren’t to address them.

Kara Knafelc is an adjunct professor in the Rhetoric and Language Department.

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