Over 50 percent of SUNY New Paltz’s courses are taught by contingent faculty members, otherwise known as adjunct instructors. During the week of Feb. 23, the United University Professions (UUP) honored these faculty members. The union’s New Paltz Chapter installed a display in the Jazzman’s Café listing approximately 700 courses taught by over 300 adjunct lecturers and instructors. Photos of these instructors were also displayed.
The dictionary defines the term “adjunct” as something added to another thing but is not essential to it. According to the union’s news release, the term adjunct is a misnomer. “Our adjuncts teach all levels of all subjects, from Anthropology to Zoology,” wrote Peter Brown, chapter president.
“The entire academic enterprise is carried on the backs of these poorly supported and largely invisible academics. Students are adversely affected when their teachers lack basic support in the form of a living wage or offices to meet and mentor their students,” Brown wrote. “Education suffers in the absence of any meaningful academic freedom due to our contingent faculty’s precarious employment.”
Although The National Adjunct Walkout Day was on Feb. 25, adjuncts and students were not allowed to participate because it is prohibited by state laws. However, many unions have pledged to support the effort through awareness campaigns, such as teach-ins.
Photos by Kristen Warfield.