Monday, August 22, 2016

"Adjunct faculty all over the world are organizing for better wages, longer contracts, a chance to be a member of their academic department decision-making, and university wide inclusion"--Lydia Field Snow

“...Class matters because we have experienced firsthand what it’s like to not make enough money to feed our families, or provide health insurance for our children or even ourselves. Many of us are organizing with the Fight for Fifteen movement and Faculty Forward Network because precarious employees are experiencing this corporate part-time, no benefits model. The corporate higher education model is based on the Ivy League paradigm. It’s painful to bring up these issues with friends and families because they are willing to believe that by ‘volunteering’ and giving back to the community, it somehow makes the whole corrupt system a benign and democratic state. 

“Academics understand class in a way that many others don’t because they have the ‘big picture’ in mind due to conversations about the nature of society as an integral part of their training. But where is their empathy when it comes to the cuts in tenure, lack of resources for their colleagues, and large resources put into football stadiums, expensive dormitories, and over-paid administrators? Why is it so threatening to look at these issues and talk about them in department meetings or in a larger university forum with students? 

“Adjuncts are the most important glue that holds all of the promise for remaking higher education because we are able to connect the dots, to see what is happening to our society. We are being driven out of academia by lack of benefits, poor salaries, contingent posts that quite simply aren’t worth it. And where are we going? We’re organizing; we’re writing, and we’re networking with one another for direct action and change because when each of us looks into the eyes of the students sitting in our ‘class,’ we understand that class really does matter”—Lydia Field Snow, Why “Class” Matters.


  1. Thank you so much for reblogging this piece! I am so honored that you did!

  2. From Lydia Field Snow:

    “After reading Sherry Linkon’s brilliant piece ‘Working-Class Academics and Working-Class Studies: Still Far from Home?’ published by the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, the floodwaters of connections opened up in my own mind about what has been a source of conflicting ideas and emotions wracking my brain lately. This paragraph struck home particularly:

    “‘Indeed, changes in higher education have made the problems worse, as too many working-class academics find themselves caught in part-time or short-term teaching jobs, unable to break through the class barriers that seem to preserve most tenure-line jobs for people from professional class backgrounds. We also see the class hierarchies of higher education in the struggle of state universities to survive continuing budget cuts and attacks on tenure, even as elite private schools compete to see who can raise tuition the most while keeping acceptance rates the lowest. Far from being resolved, class divisions in higher education have gotten worse, despite the more visible presence of academics from the working class and efforts to increase and deepen attention to class in both the curriculum and research…’”