Equity is an Issue at CSU

Oct 262004

Campus Equity Week is Oct. 25 to 31 and universities across the

country are making efforts to inform campus communities about

unfair practices. Here at CSU, adjunct faculty in the College of

Liberal Arts are drawing attention to employment inequities.

Currently, 35 adjuncts in the English Department teach 66

percent of the department’s core courses. With the exception of

graduate teaching assistants, adjuncts teach all sections of

COCC150: College Composition. Adjuncts also teach 75 percent of all

CO300 composition courses and 64 percent of all E100 and E200 level

courses. Most students at CSU have taken at least one course with

an adjunct instructor.

Students may not perceive adjunct instructors as any different

from tenure track faculty. This is because adjuncts are highly

qualified and educated. All adjuncts in the English Department have

master’s degrees and many have doctorates.

Furthermore, adjuncts devote time to their own research and

writing. Most of them have published papers and many have published

books. Nonetheless, CSU considers adjunct faculty temporary

employees (despite the fact that some have taught here for over 15

years). In addition, CSU pays English Department adjuncts an

inadequate salary – less than one-third of what the average tenured

and tenure track faculty members make.

The campus community, as well as the general public, may be

shocked to learn that many college teachers are earning less than

high school graduates. According to the U.S. Department of Labor,

high school graduates in 1998 earned an average of $26,000 a year.

Full time adjuncts in the English Department currently earn $24,000

a year. Even worse, adjuncts have not seen a salary increase since

1998. The average faculty compensation increase reported at CSU

since 1998 has been $16,900; yet, adjuncts have received


The inequities adjuncts face are not limited to salary issues.

Adjunct faculty in the English Department have little or no job

security. They must reapply for their position each year and often

aren’t told until weeks (or sometimes a few days) before the

semester begins whether they will be employed and what classes they

will teach. Furthermore, adjuncts must teach for one full year

before they are eligible for benefits.

The entire campus community should be concerned about this

exploitation of labor as it affects our standards for excellence.

In this year’s accreditation report, CSU listed three guiding

principles for building and sustaining a great university. One of

these principles states, “The institution at any one time is no

more than the people who constitute it, and so highest priority

must be given to recruiting, hiring, compensating, supporting and

retaining people.”

Unfortunately, CSU has fallen remarkably short of meeting this

goal for its adjunct instructors. As a result, adjuncts are feeling

subjugated. We continue to work with no job security and little

pay. Although we are extremely dedicated to our students and to

higher education, the inequities we face are demoralizing. The

ever-increasing cost of living in Colorado makes it nearly

impossible to own a home and raise a family on a fixed income of

only $24,000 a year.

Unfortunately, students also suffer the cost of this problem.

Some of the most qualified adjunct faculty are planning to leave

CSU for higher paying institutions. The University of

Colorado-Boulder, for instance, has created full-time teaching

positions for adjunct faculty that start at $8,000 more per year

than CSU. In addition, adjuncts at CU have a significantly smaller

student load and are therefore able to give students more

individual attention.

Other adjuncts are seeking second jobs to supplement their

income. Their added workload may detract from the time they can

spend planning courses and meeting with students. Students are

paying higher costs in tuition, so the quality of their education

should not have to suffer.

This week, adjuncts from the College of Liberal Arts will

distribute handouts in front of the Lory Student Center to further

inform the campus community on this pressing issue. Please join our

efforts by reading a handout, talking with your instructors, and

writing letters to your college administrators and local

politicians. A widespread understanding of the problem may be the

first step to resolving these injustices.

Melissa Bergene

Kelly Cockburn

Deborah Dimon

Dr. Sue Doe

Anne Gogela

Elizabeth Jackson

Rebecca Kennedy

Jen Lamb

Dr. Molly Lasco

Ed Lessor

Bev McQuinn

Todd Mitchell

Kerri Mitchell

Dan Robinson

Jill Salahub

Dr. Elizabeth Stein

Christina Sutton

Laura Thomas

Robert White

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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