WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2013—Momentum and attention are building for Campus Equity Week, Oct. 28-Nov. 2, with events being added daily to the more than 130 already planned around the country to raise awareness about the nation’s increasingly stratified higher education system.
Leaders from a broad coalition of organizations working on student and faculty issues on U.S. college campuses said more than 100 campuses in at least 20 states will participate in the week of education and activism. National actions will also take place on social media.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has declared Oct. 30, the Wednesday of Campus Equity Week, “Adjunct and Part-Time Faculty Recognition Day.” In addition, a film version of the solo play “FOR PROFIT,” which highlights the student debt crisis, will be shown on campuses around the country, followed by panel discussions on the connections between disinvestment in higher education, student debt, equity issues for disadvantaged students, and poor working conditions for adjunct faculty.
Other events planned nationwide range from a statewide higher education summit to a LGBT wedding reception to preview screenings of the documentary “Con Job: Stories of Adjunct and Contingent Labor.” An updated list of all events is available on the Campus Equity Week website.
So far, events are planned for campuses in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, with additional events being added daily. More than 50 California campuses will participate, including 23 community colleges and all 23 California State University campuses.
Campus Equity Week events will focus on various issues raised by the increased reliance on contingent faculty employment by U.S. colleges and universities. Adjunct or contingent faculty, the majority of whom are paid poverty-level wages and receive no benefits, make up more than 70 percent of faculty at colleges and universities nationwide—a situation that has pushed inequities to a crisis level at many institutions.
A central principle of the week is that high-quality education depends practically and ethically on professional and just working conditions for all faculty.
Members of this adjunct instructional workforce face many labor and equity issues, including changes in work schedules and the denial of healthcare benefits in response to the Affordable Care Act; student loan debt; issues for students, staff and faculty of color; misguided curriculum “reform”; institutions’ blind faith in massive open online courses (MOOCs) and other online education; and the disinvestment in public higher education.
Campus Equity Week, also known as Fair Employment Week in Canada, where it is held Oct. 21-25, began in 2001 under the auspices of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor to highlight the appalling working conditions of the majority of the faculty—who have adjunct or contingent status—and the impact of those conditions on the quality of education.
Campus Equity Week Sponsoring and Supporting Organizations
New Faculty Majority is the central coordinator of Campus Equity Week 2013, with support from the NFM Foundation, the Service Employees International Union, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the American Association of University Professors, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly and United University Professions. The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education is also a sponsor, with support from the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty, the California Faculty Association, the Peralta (Calif.) Federation of Teachers and the Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York.