Students and faculty join forces to protest adjunct wages

International Club member, Daniella Swaby.

Throughout the bright sunlit sky-bridge, students and teachers alike devoted their time on Wednesday afternoon to protest the low-wages that adjunct professors receive. Club members from the Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies (CRAASH) co-sponsored the event while members of other clubs, such as the International Club, joined in on the action.

While holding multi-colored, hand-written poster board signs, Jacob Kaye, a member of the International Club, spoke about the importance of the event. “Real wages have been staggering in the U.S. since the 70s,” he said. Kaye then added that it is important for everyone to help teachers by being a part of events such at this one.

Fellow International Club member Daniella Swaby held a similar hand-made sign.

“For the four years that I’ve been here, I’ve only had three professors that were non-adjuncts,” said Swaby, adding that it’s important that adjuncts receive higher pay because they make up most of CUNY schools and are the core of the university’s structure.

International Club member, Jacob Kaye.

According to reported salaries on Glassdoor, adjunct professors make, on average, about $13 thousand for an average of four courses a year while full-time professors make about $70 thousand on average and can teach up to seven courses a year.

Student Kaya Friedman said that even at SUNY schools, adjuncts are in the same position, where they have to commute between colleges across town since they need multiple jobs to make a living. Friedman said she’s had nine adjunct professors since she transferred to Hunter—that makes up the majority of the classes she’s taken at the college.

Erin Ward, an adjunct professor, said that 72 percent of teachers at Hunter are adjuncts and if they’re teaching the maximum number of classes, which is about two courses a semester, they’re still only making about $21-$25 thousand dollars a year.

Signs that read, “My colleagues would be here right now if they didn’t have to work another job to make a living wage,” were pasted all over the sky-bridge.

According to Sabrina Rich, one of the co-sponsors of the event, an event like this is very important to her because the Asian-American Studies Department is made up almost entirely of adjuncts—everyone except the director of the department is an adjunct. “Even if it wasn’t affecting us, it’s still important,” Rich said.

Jessica Sun, another co-sponsor and member of CRAASH, added, “We’re advocating for students and adjuncts because our struggles are tied to one another.”

The two sat in the middle of the sky-bridge with a large banner that read, “7K or strike,” in bold, black letters.

Other students were walking around with a solidarity letter asking passers-by if they were willing to sign and support the cause. By 2 p.m., one student had already filled up four pages of signatures—back to back.


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