I’m originally from Quebec, where there is a long history of strikes and walkouts, up to today. Most recently, there was the Printemps Érables (many of the links in my original post are now dead and gone. Here is some general information in English as well as an in-depth overview – and as an aside, the Quebec history entries on Wikipedia in English are terrible). The striking students brought down the government, but change didn’t really happen (they’re planning to strike again this spring). But they have long recognized the power of collective action in order to bring about change, however incremental.
All of this to say that I was pretty excited to see that this year will see a National Adjunct Walkout Day. We have been long working to bring more visibility to adjunct issues on campus, on the ground. There was a Campus Equity Week where adjuncts and adjunct supporters were asked to wear red. But this is the first time that there has been an attempt to organize a full-scale national, nay, with campuses from Canada participating, international day of protest around adjunct issues.
The past 12-18 months have really put adjunct issues in the mainstream conversations around higher education. But this has been the result of 30+ years of hard work by activists and organizations. If there is one thing I’ve learning, it’s that the pace of change in higher education is glacially slow…until it isn’t. And maybe, hopefully, things have finally come to a point where they will actually change, for the better.
Please support your adjuncts if they walk out today. And if they don’t, because they are too afraid, then please think about why and your role in maintaining a culture of fear and distrust. Remember that adjuncts are your colleagues. Take the time to learn about your institution’s budget. Keep in mind that that women and POC are overrepresented in the adjunct ranks, and so this work to improve adjunct conditions are ones that represent efforts towards equity, diversity, and, above all, justice. And if there is nothing else you feel like you can do, join the New Faculty Majority, so they can keep doing their good work for adjuncts, and donate to PrecariCorps, to support adjuncts in dire need.
What am I doing? I’m blogging, I’m RT’ing on Twitter, I’m sharing. It’s not much. I keep amplifying, promoting, and writing.
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