As more institutions look to cut costs by hiring adjunct professors in lieu of those on a tenured track, the part-time instructors have started demanding better pay, and they did so Wednesday with the first-ever national adjunct walkout day.
Adjuncts make up around three-fourths of U.S. faculty in higher education today. Adjunct professors typically make between $20,000 and $25,000 annually, while tenured professors can take home a six-figure paycheck. In addition, some schools restrict health benefits for adjuncts. They are also often left out of the decision-making structure, effectively leaving them voiceless at their institutions.
Former adjunct professor Robert Craig Baum joined HuffPost Live to say he would support the walk-out due to the "unstable" conditions adjunct professors face.
"There is absolutely no guarantee that work will continue. There's no way that we can plan our courses or advise our students as well as rely on any sort of sustainable income," Baum said. "Even though the income is already so low, we oftentimes don't receive pay on time, and we also don't have access to the people who can negotiate -- either a union or an on-campus rep."
But while many professors stand in solidarity with protestors have chosen to do so quietly, out of "fear of reprisals," Baum insisted.
"There is a culture of intimidation that is reinforced, and people profit from this intimidation, which [threatens you from going] outside the expectations of a contract, and that can include any kind of activism," Baum said.
Learn more about the plight of the adjunct professor in the video above.
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