Letter to the editor: Nov. 21, 2013

Dear Editor,

In acknowledgement of Campus Equity Week, which took place from Oct. 28 – Nov. 2, the members of the English Graduate Organization would like to show our support for our colleagues in the Adjunct Faculty Association. Recent events, which have sparked a national conversation about adjunct labor on university campuses, have demonstrated that this issue affects not only the adjuncts themselves but also the entire campus community.

While some assert that adjunct positions are only meant to be “part-time” – that the work should supplement a primary income – many adjunct instructors in the McAnulty College of Liberal Arts must teach multiple classes at different universities in order to make a living wage. Between grading and commenting on multiple drafts, conferencing with students, lesson planning, conducting office hours and traveling to and from the universities, the time commitments easily surpass those of a full-time job. Thus, the title of “part-time” instructor has become a dangerous misnomer.

Additionally, while writing instruction remains a vital component of the curriculum, writing instructors are often treated as nonessential. According to the Adjunct Project, the current national average pay for a three-credit course is $2,987 – less than half of the amount the Modern Language Association recommends (which is $7,090). Also, almost 80 percent of adjuncts do not receive health insurance benefits, and most adjuncts are not guaranteed work beyond the semester in which they are currently employed.

Arriving at a more tenable solution will require a continued dialogue between all those involved in higher education. We encourage the entire Duquesne community to explore this issue on the Campus Equity Week website at www.campusequityweek.org/2013.

Sincerely,

Duquesne University English Graduate Organization

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