National Adjunct Walkout Day Set for Early 2015

October 30, 2014

Social media is buzzing about the first-ever National Adjunct Walkout Day (NAWD) planned for February 25, 2015.

An adjunct instructor of writing at San Jose State University (who has chosen to remain anonymous) proposed the idea just a few weeks ago, and it quickly gained traction across the country, with upwards of 1,000 likes on Facebook. According to an interview by Inside Higher Ed, the overwhelming response is “because an action like this is long overdue,” she said.

The plan for a protest comes after recent outcry in the news about the plight of adjuncts. In an opinion piece for The Washington Post published in August, former Washington Post writer and adjunct Colman McCarthy wrote, “Adjuncts slog like migrant workers from campus to campus… teaching four fall and four spring courses at $2,700 each generates an annual salary of $21,600, below the national poverty line for a family of four.” Meanwhile, McCarthy said, a tenured professor could teach half as many courses for $100,000. “The demeaning of adjuncts is little more than structural economic violence,” he wrote.

To make matters worse, adjuncts make up the majority of professors employed by higher education institutions, yet don’t usually receive work benefits. According to a study conducted by the University of South Carolina, since 1975, the percent of adjunct faculty has risen from 21.7 percent of the workforce to nearly 67 percent (as of 2009).

Central to the NAWD movement, its founder said, is that “no adjunct or campus must face these shared issues alone.”

The protest will draw attention to the “educational or administrative issues impacting adjuncts within that particular campus, across the country, or [the] plights of individual adjuncts,” she said.

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