The breakaway sect of the PSC has voted for a strike. They claim unanimity, but it's an awfully big claim. There were about 30 adjuncts present. I abstained. The sect even admitted that they had no specifics. But they were going on an assumption that we would receive a 2% increase for 12/17, a 2% with compound interest for 12/18, and another 2% for 2019. That means adjunct pay would rise from $3600/course to about $3800/course. Oh boy.
During the discussion period, one adjunct brought up that she had walked down a hallway with a top administrator. She asked him if anyone really gave a crap about whether or not adjuncts received raises. He replied that it wasn't that they didn't care, but just didn't see the value of raising the wages.
Well--how about the leaky pipeline for one? The whole purpose of the community college for CUNY is to fund a whole stream of new students for the four year colleges. Community colleges are trumpeted as a way to reduce the overall cost of colleges. They are cheaper, and students would leave after two years all focussed, ready to finish the next two years at a bachelor's level university.
If only. The average community college student finishes the two year curriculum in three years. The four year university then usually only accepts about one years worth of credits toward the finish line. Thus, the student will require at least 6 years to finish a BA. That's the average student. It is not unknown for a student to take 4 years to finish the 2 year curriculum. That's if they even finish. Many will become discouraged and drop out. However, they can take solace in knowing they will still have many thousands in student loans to pay off. Even if they don't have student loans, CUNY aid is time-limited to four years worth of funds. And of course, let's not go into the plight of students who can't afford the registrar's fees to send off their transcripts to the next college. CUNY purgatory.
If they finish the two year curriculum and go on to the four year university, the typical student only receives about a semester's worth of credit. They become discouraged and just drop out.
Hence, the leaky pipeline. Students come in, but they don't matriculate to a four year college.
How does this relate to adjuncts? Adjuncts come and go, sometimes both in the course of one month. Every semester, department chairs are looking to staff classes that become unstaffed, as the adjuncts leave. Why should they be loyal? They need to survive and further their career and pay their bills. If the cost of this is abandoning the students, so be it.
Community college students are actually quite fragile, emotionally and academically. Imagine, a weak student comes into the college, gets attached to their professors, gets used to the routine of college, and then, the professor leaves abruptly, without any adieus. Their whole structure is undermined. The anxiety, the distortions may contribute to missing classes or even dropping classes. They may not even have bought the book, as they refuse to realize its value. They barely understand the purpose of the syllabus. They find having a new professor after a month or six weeks even more anxiety provoking.
So having a college staffed by over 70% adjuncts contributes to the leaky pipeline.
Another aspect of the leaky pipeline: most of these adjuncts are females. The students are free to bully and harass and use profanity against the adjuncts. The administration refuses to even admit that adjunct bullying is a national sport, effecting not only community colleges in New York but all over the country. Why should students respect doctoral level part-time professors who make less money than they would at a fast-food joint and worse, if they worked at the fast-food joint, they wouldn't have to pay back student loans to wit and to boot. Two boots of the student to the adjuncts' posterior, more likely. When these bully students graduate to the four year university, they will have been improperly socialized into appropriate behavior, and will leave shortly after their entrance. Drip, drip, drip.
Finally, the leaky pipeline persists because the adjuncts are not only bullied, but must undergo student evaluation of teachers. Most students come into the community college to learn better academic habits. Instead, the adjuncts just give them advance copies of the tests, under the guise of distributing study guides. How will this help them when they transfer to the four year university. This practice will not pass muster. And instead of learning better study habits, they have been positively reinforced for awful ones.
So having a college staffed by over 70% adjuncts ill-paid and ill-respected contributes to the leaky pipeline. Adjuncts: If you work like a donkey, don't be surprised that people treat you like an ass.