by Glynn Hayes, Santa Fe Adjunct Faculty
In December of 2018, adjunct faculty at Santa Fe College filed for a union election. This is from a speech given by Glynn Hayes, a Natural Sciences adjunct professor, at the Jan. 14 Santa Fe Board of Trustees meeting.
I have worked as an adjunct at Santa Fe College for more than ten years and am proud to work for this exemplary institution. I often have students take several of my different classes and I spend considerable time talking to students outside of class about their hopes, concerns and goals. I also know that for many adjuncts who have to work several jobs, these types of time investments in our students is desired, but just not possible.
We, as adjuncts, make up more than 50 percent of the faculty. Santa Fe College could not function or maintain its high standards without the service of its adjuncts. Adjunct positions were created as temporary short-term positions, but because of funding cutbacks in education, adjuncting is no longer a temporary thing and full-time positions are few and far in between.
Today, adjuncts carry significant responsibility in the success of institutions but are under-compensated (equally qualified but receiving only half the pay of a full time professor to teach the same class), under-appreciated, and under-represented in decision-making bodies. Adjuncts have no benefits, and many struggle to pay for their basic needs. We have no job security even though many of us have taught the same courses for more than 5 years, and this does not allow for adjuncts to make long-term investments into the college.
We do not believe that the college that many of us have served for more than 10 years, would knowingly support a system that rides on the back of people who live under these conditions. Over time, the general education system has become more exploitive, not less.
Because of these factors, we have decided to form a union to represent the rights of adjunct faculty. As Americans, we all have a right to fair working conditions. We know that together with the administration of Santa Fe College, the adjunct union can develop solutions. Let me say again that we are proud to work for this institution and we commit ourselves to student and institutional success. We are eager to work with you to find solutions that make all of our lives and communities better.