USF Adjunct Faculty Members: Low Pay, No Benefits Say They Need a Union

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WMNF’s Radioactivity 11 28 17

Good morning, welcome to Radioactivity. I’m Rob Lorei. Coming up—low paid college professors. While some full time professors, administrators and coaches are doing well, adjunct professors at colleges are living on the edge of poverty. We’ll talk about that in a moment.

A few weeks ago the Tampa Bay Times carried a story about an adjunct college professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa who was so devoted to teaching and paid so low- that it impacted his health. It caught my eye—because of the depth of its reporting and the humanity of the person it profiled. The reporter was Claire MacNeill. MacNeill opens her story
(http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/college/In-union-push-at-USF-adjunct-professors-strive-for-more-respect-and-a-living-wage_162644741)
with the lede- “Robert Ryan cleaned out his office in May. He knew he was dying.”
MacNeill joins us now.

The Service Employees International Union which is trying to organize adjunct faculty at USF says this: “According to a survey of nearly eight hundred faculty members across Florida, poverty among contingent faculty teaching at universities and colleges is extremely common. More than forty-three percent of respondents report experiencing at least three major indicators of poverty – including taking out a Payday loan, facing eviction or having their utilities cut off.

“I’ve seen higher education devalued further and further throughout my time as an instructor,” said Jarad Fennel, who teaches English as an adjunct at both the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa. “It’s frustrating that administrators know that so many of us are struggling, but they choose to keep squeezing us and fighting our efforts to organize. I wish that instead they’d fight alongside us in Tallahassee to properly fund higher education.”

According to the report, which details the hardships facing many contingent faculty members. A fourth of respondents say they have either skipped meals, visited a food bank, food pantry or soup kitchen or participated in the food stamp program.” Source: http://seiufacultyforward.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Life-on-the-Edge.pdf
We’re joined now by two adjunct faculty members who have taught at USF:
Rebecca Skelton and Calvin Falwell
Note: A rally calling for an adjunct faculty union will be held tomorrow (11/29) at 11AM in front of the Marshall Center on the USF Tampa campus.

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