The Homeless Adjunct™

Homeless Adjunct™ is the blog for  ‘Junct™ Rebellion, which will talk about the many issues related to what is happening to American universities today.  We’ll talk about the faculty labor abuse, and the actions being attempted in order to end it.  We’ll talk about the plight of the students.  We’ll talk about the poverty of the college professors, and about the deprofessionalization of entire class of citizens in the United States.

If you would like to get in touch with The Homeless Adjunct, you can email Debra Leigh Scott at junctrebellion@gmail.com    Her wish was to be nameless on the blog, not for reasons of anonymity, but to underscore the desire for The Homeless Adjunct to be understood as a kind of “every adjunct”.    We who have been trapped in contingent faculty poverty often feel voiceless and powerless.  There is a general fear of speaking up, since we don’t have any kind of job security.  So The Homeless Adjunct will endeavor to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, while encouraging more voices, more involvement.  It’s only by coming together, raising awareness and a little hell, that we will reclaim high quality higher education in America.

28 Responses to The Homeless Adjunct™

  1. Sarah J Hart says:

    Thank you! I was an adjunct for two years for NYU, and left with little but bile, outrage, and debt. Delighted to know about this site.

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  4. Melissa Storms says:

    Food for thought: an “adjunct” is something that is a part of but not essential to the whole. Perhaps our first act needs to be to reject the language of oppression by which others identitfy us. This goes as well for the term “part-time” faculty. I, for one, was never really “part-time”– I was either “no time” or “double time.” I either had to fight administration for unemployment (read: basic survival) when they (sometimes at the last minute) pulled my classes, or I taught up to six classes on two different campuses (with 3 hours of daily commute).

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  6. Great Blog! However, I think your goals would be better served if you would place this explanation on the front page. Visitors need to read your mission in the first few seconds they view your blog. Best of luck to you! Here’s a quick suggestion:

    “The Homeless Adjunct speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves. She is an anonymous Blogger who wants to express the experience of “every adjunct.” We, who have been trapped in contingent faculty poverty, often feel voiceless and powerless. There is a general fear of speaking up since we don’t have any kind of job security. But on this blog we can post about the many issues related to what is happening to American universities today. We’ll talk about the faculty labor abuse, and the actions being attempted in order to end it. We’ll talk about the plight of the students. We’ll talk about the poverty of the college professors, and about the deprofessionalization of entire class of citizens in the United States.”

  7. jaymie says:

    It is three weeks from the start of my fourth year of being an annually contracted full time adjunct. I could go on and on about the negatives of this experience. My reason for this post, though, is to ask if anyone knows if there are legal ramifications to breaking an adjunct contract? It is 3 1/2 weeks until school starts and I am interviewing for a dream job that will start very soon. Ethically, I know this seems bad. The guilt has already began. For my sanity, I need to get off of this non-beneficial hampster wheel of a job. Thank you for anyone who could help with this topic.

    • From everything I have read, the “contract” which has written within it the right of the university to cancel the class at any time for any reason (which is more or less the language universally used), pretty much exonerates the adjunct from any guilt should s/he receive a better — and what wouldn’t be better? — offer of employment. The whole system is built in such a way as to render us powerless and replaceable — so I would not worry, should you be offered another job, about giving notice and leaving. If you are still weeks away from school beginning, you might still have time to give notice before class starts. If not, trust me when I tell you that, as an adjunct for 15 years now, I’ve had administrators call me halfway into a semester with a panicked request for replacement faculty. It happens — less often than we SHOULD have it happen. These schools depend on the very guilt you are expressing, the sense of honor and obligation that we feel to ourselves, our profession and our students — but they have no such sense of honor or duty to us OR to the students. So — take those job interviews and do what you have to do to make a better life for yourself.

      • RAB says:

        Let me second that, if it needs seconding. Lack of commitment to a contract should work both ways. “Sorry, but I have a good full-offer” sounds unimpeachable as an exit line, and might (if enough people had the chance to use it) even be therapeutic.

    • Grover Lembeck says:

      Holy crap! Come on, Jaymie if you were on fire, these bastards wouldn’t piss on you to put it out. You have been used, abused and generally screwed six ways to Sunday for three years, and you feel GUILTY?

      Get PISSED, Jaymie. You should be angry, because it would be a righteous anger. Did you get the letter telling you what you’re teaching yet? When you do, I suggest you wipe your ass with it and send it back to them.

    • Fred Orth says:

      Unless much has changed in the last two years most contracts with temporary faculty are not really binding. I suspect you could talk to your program director and let them know what has happened to your job status. They can usually find a replacement with what they might deem an equally qualified person in a heart beat. Unfortunately there are many highly qualified persons available even on short notice. Good luck and do not feel guilty for trying to find a job with security. The current college teaching job situation is deplorable.

  8. Anders says:

    It is odd for someone working for the public good to use the archaic trade mark instead of a creative commons license, otherwise great stuff

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  10. Brian Lennon says:

    Very accurate analysis. The process, with a few minor name changes, was repeated here in Australia, starting with the ALP ( a sort of Democrats left wing) and continued by the Liberal party (a sort of Democrats right wing). Havel did warn us in 1978 in his essay, The The Power of the Powerless. that the process they were confronting, the apparat and ideology, in the old Soviet Empire was a global phenomenon, and that we in the West would have to confront in in time. It has conquered other centres of power here as well: both sides of politics, the union movement, most of the nongovernment sector, primary and secondary education systems. The ideology is managerialist domestically, and globalist internationally, but what it shares with Communism is the fundamental self-serving idea that there is a vanguard, a party, a management class, that makes its members the elect. Everyone else is there to be managed.
    I do not share the writer’s optimism that this can be reversed. The system now in place will not surrender its power lightly, to any argument of reason, human dignity or benefit. It will most likely run its course, and, like the USSR and its satellites, collapse under the weight of its corruption and mismanagement. Communism Redux.

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  13. Deb. interested in receiving - thanks. Barb, adjunct says:

    Please include me

    • I am currently teaching 7 courses at two Universities, doing course development and research, working as a TA, working as a waitress at night and balancing a family life. I just found this website and I feel some reprieve from the insanity that “part time lecturer” has become! Thank you!

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  15. Edward Conrad, Ph.D. says:

    How do I follow your blog?

  16. kk says:

    An issue that I don’t know if others have encountered. Try applying for financial aid for your kids as an adjunct. One year (say…. 2012) you are “awarded” a well paid course, and the next year you are not. Yet, your kids financial aid is based on your earnings the previous year. So, not only are you unable to make the tuition payments (family contribution) that they ask for because you don’t have the income, you are charged as if you do. And then there are the challenges of having your course pulled at the last minute under these circumstances….

  17. Doug Harvey says:

    Thanks for speaking up and doing something! Sorry I only now found your blog. I’m a career adjunct in the KC area, currently reshaping my face from its being firmly planted in academia’s glass ceiling. All best wishes in your endeavors!

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  19. um...what?? says:

    Gosh.. you know, I stumbled upon this site when doing a search for /homeless mooc/ – in hopes of finding articles about how the MOOC concept could work wonders for educating the homeless – those without a home [see "homeless"] – and integrate them back into society. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that it was…well, what it is. Heaven knows I recognize your plight; I feel for you, I really do. But honestly, perhaps take a moment to reflect upon the term “homeless” and imagine how your ..plight.. might be taken as a bit.. hmm….tacky(?) selfish(?) unthinking(?)..not really sure how to put it… and perhaps as a mockery of the very real tragedy of living with nothing…not a roof over your head, possibly no dinner tonight, and certainly no computer with which to maintain a witty blog in your free time.
    Good luck to you in your endeavors.

    • While I appreciate your concern for our homeless populations, I do not appreciate your suggestion that the choice of the name Homeless Adjunct was selfish, tacky OR thoughtless. Perhaps you failed to read the many comments and stories shared here. Perhaps, in your zeal to have a moment in which to feel superior, you failed to read the other posts here. The blog was begun at a point when I, although teaching at three universities, was facing homelessness. Being without means, despite our work, is the plight of many of the 1.3 million adjunct university professors in America. Perhaps you don’t know that the majority of university faculty in the US earn so little that they qualify for food stamps and other public assistance. But perhaps understanding that was not really your purpose in writing. Those of us engaged in serious conversation here about very real poverty and labor exploitation don’t begrudge your moment of smugness. But I would invite you to learn more before you contribute further to the conversation, lest you appear….thoughtless?

  20. I am starting to see buy in from tenured track professors when you point out to them how little power they currently have as administrators have gotten to be huge parts of the institutions and those who actually provide the academics are so small a voice, even when tenured. Getting buy in from them is really an important part of our battle. I am glad to know I am no longer so alone.

  21. Nilufar Jamir says:

    I just listened to part of your interview on NPR today with Marty Moss-Coane. Thank you for being our voice. I live in the greater Philadelphia area and teach as an Adjunct. How can we move our concerns forward? How do we raise awareness amongst the general public/parents etc? While some Community Colleges have Unions, most Colleges do not. Are there any consorted efforts either at the State or National level to address our concerns? Since I live in the area, I would love to meet with you. Thank you WHYY and Marty Moss-Coane.

  22. Ken Page says:

    I’m a twenty one year adjunct. I’m very happy to have found your site, thank you! I look forward to reading more and commenting in the future.

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