This article just appeared in the Guardian, Facing Poverty, Academics Turn to Sex Work and Sleeping in Cars. Quite disturbing to think that some schools of higher education are not looking after valuable members of their teaching community. Adjunct professors contribute in significant ways to the teaching and learning community of our community colleges, small colleges, and universities. Why do some say there are 9 Reasons Why Being An Adjunct Faculty Member Is Terrible? This Huffington Post article clearly spells out why the teaching culture for adjunct professors that is far from ideal in most institutions of higher learning. Most importantly, they are compensated poorly relative to their full professors. An NPR story, The Sad Death Of An Adjunct Professor Sparks A Labor Debate, addresses this problem in some detail. For example,
After 25 years of teaching French at Duquesne, the university had not renewed her contract. As a part-time professor, she had been earning about $10,000 a year, and had no health insurance.
In the Guardian article, the author, Alastair Gee, writes:
Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness. A quarter of part-time college academics (many of whom are adjuncts, though it’s not uncommon for adjuncts to work 40 hours a week or more) are said to be enrolled in public assistance programs such as Medicaid.
They resort to food banks and Goodwill, and there is even an adjuncts’ cookbook that shows how to turn items like beef scraps, chicken bones and orange peel into meals. And then there are those who are either on the streets or teetering on the edge of losing stable housing. The Guardian has spoken to several such academics, including an adjunct living in a “shack” north of Miami, and another sleeping in her car in Silicon Valley.
We should be so disappointed that this situation exists for some of our best higher education teachers in America.