One of the ultimate protections of being a tenured faculty member, historically, has been being immune from layoff in all but the most extraordinary circumstances. Under policies issued by the American Association of University Professors and largely accepted by higher education leaders, only institutions that declare "financial exigency" -- a state so dire that it "threatens the survival of the institution as a whole" -- can eliminate the jobs of tenured faculty members.
Tracy Donhardt was so excited that she and fellow adjuncts in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis had found a way to get health insurance together that she wanted to let other adjuncts know they could sign up, too.
But when she asked the university’s human resources department for help getting the word out, the whole plan was, almost immediately, shattered. “I contacted them, said, ‘Hey, look at we did, isn’t it great?' ” she recalled.