ETSU students, faculty and staff gathered at Borchuck Plaza Wednesday afternoon to inform others of the situation and urge campus administrators to raise wages for adjunct professors.
The rally was headed by Student Government Association Sen. Austin Cable and other members of the Adjunct Action campaign who took a stand after learning that their teachers had not had raises in 21 years.
“A couple of senators and I learned about [the pay gap] when we joined the Student Government Association in the fall of 2018,” said Cable. “We noticed that adjunct pay is something that affects teachers and also students, so we came together, wrote a bill, started the campaign and it’s grown to a crazy amount of people.”
Students, adjuncts and teachers gave speeches and shouted chants in hopes of raising awareness. The bill would raise adjunct pay from $600 to $1,000 per credit hour.
According to movement coordinators, estimates are that 40 percent of faculty members are adjuncts, and only 6 percent of students’ tuition dollars for a three-credit course goes to their salaries.
Francis Canedo is a dean at Northeast State Community college who faced the issue of adjunct pay firsthand.
“I started in 2006 as an adjunct [at ETSU],” said Canedo. “I taught four classes a semester, and I had a full-time job at Barnes and Noble while still going to school because I needed to make ends meet.”
Canedo is thankful that she was offered a full-time job at Northeast State, but her story is not uncommon.
“I work in a department at Northeast State where most of the adjuncts are,” said Canedo. “Sixty percent of our faculty is made up of adjuncts. They teach one or two classes while also covering lower, developmental classes to fill some of the gap.”
As the rally came to a close, Cable spoke of the direct effect that a preoccupied adjunct’s teaching environment has on their students’ learning environment.
Maggie Gallimore is a student and music education major at ETSU and discussed one of her adjunct instructors.
“The person that teaches my specific instrument is an adjunct, and she works at three different schools and drives three hours when she comes to campus twice a week,” said Gallimore. “She stays with another teacher away from her husband and her home just to teach here. She really cares about her students, but she’s stressed out a lot. I couldn’t ask for a better teacher.”
Cable had planned for a low turnout but was very pleased with the crowd that gathered around the fountain. He and the other senators will continue to fight for equal pay for adjuncts and are certain that the members of the Adjunct Action campaign will keep fighting when he graduates.