Adjunct professors constitute a vital element of Webster University, and The Journal fully supports their efforts to unionize. Adjuncts provide valuable field experience, and knowledge in many different areas. Still, adjuncts do not enjoy the security nor the pay of full-time professors.
Because of this, adjuncts are placed under the same amount of pressure most full-time instructors are, but do not have any of the benefits full-time teachers receive. Furthermore, most adjuncts work second jobs to support themselves.
Teachers are what make Webster great. It’s not the new facilities, or parking lots, and it’s not the awards or the number of accolades the university picks up that matter. What’s most important is the high-quality, hard-working and dedicated faculty at our school. They shape the experience of every student, and provide the tools for success in the professional world. If the quality or the dedication of the teachers suffers, the whole university does as well.
Regardless of the nature of the institution—public or private—teachers should have the right to unionize. And students should support them in their efforts. Even with the university’s financial situation, the importance of providing adequate pay, health care and benefits to the entire faculty should be one of the university’s highest priorities.
This is especially true at Webster, where adjuncts compose 87 percent of the faculty, which is well above the national average of 48 percent, according to Collegefactual.com.
We at The Journal believe the university has an obligation to serve its students and its faculty before anything else. And if a portion of the faculty feels it has been under-appreciated or neglected in any way, they should have the right to voice their concerns and bargain collectively.
Thank you. Adjuncts across the country appreciate the show of support, and the willingness to bring awareness to this problem. Administrator salary has risen 3 times that of faculty over the last 35 years, and it is no coincidence that in that time tenure track faculty has shrunk from 75% to roughly 30%. Tuition at private universities like Webster has increased 74% in the last ten years alone. In other words, administrative bloat, both in terms of the number of administrators and their salary, has been financed by underpaying faculty and overcharging students. Basically students are subsidizing obscene salaries for the “managers” of universities across the country, and these administrators are adopting a for-profit corporate model of paying their labor force as little as possible for a non-profit institution. It is not, as some self-serving administrators will say, a supply side problem, that is, there is not a glut of phd’s for too few full-time jobs. The truth is that the full-time jobs have systematically been turned into part-time jobs so that administration can pay their employees less and take home more of the cut for themselves, and there is no one to check their power (this is why adjuncts want to unionize, and administrators are fighting it because they will have to be accountable for the way they treat their contingent faculty). I know that when I went to college the people who inspired me (those of who encouraged me and mentored me) were not administrators, but the hard-working instructors in the classroom, who love their job. That love is being exploited, and students, parents, or anyone paying tuition need to know what is going on and where their tuition dollars are going.
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