Fueling frustration in the face of adversity.
“The world has changed. The economy has changed,” said Catherine Levitt, president of the College of the Desert Adjunct Association. “We have to recognize the fact that this has changed. There are ways to make this work.
At the July board meeting, the College of the Desert Adjunct Association asks the school to make changes for them and their students.
An adjunct is a part-time faculty member, ranging from people who are just beginning their teaching career to teachers who are retiring.
They currently teach about 60-70% of college courses.
With inflation and post-pandemic life, they are demanding more equal compensation compared to their full-time counterparts.
“Instead of COLA this year, they offered us what we thought was a really nice 2.5% raise, but it’s not really a raise,” Levitt said. “This is a one-time, unscheduled payment and this one-time, unscheduled payment adds nothing to our future revenue. We don’t have the opportunity to re-negotiate compensation for two years, which is a problem. So we are talking about it because we would like to find an alternative solution.
But that’s not all.
The association is seeking insurance benefits because COVID-19 still poses a threat to those teaching in person.
“Full-time faculty, confidential faculty, full-time office workers, all administrators, and even the board of trustees receive about $18,000 a year in insurance benefits. We get zero,” Levitt continued. “More face-to-face classes are taught by auxiliaries than full-time classes. So we are being asked to accept the risk of being in a classroom with unvaccinated and untested students. And we are asked to bear the cost of this risk ourselves.
According to Levitt, of California’s 116 community colleges, only 32 schools have no insurance.
COD is one of them.
But she also raised another concern: a limited class schedule for working students.
“Faculty needs to be more flexible,” she shared. “You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to teach 10 to 3 hours a day and the students are going to do what I say.’ That’s not how it works anymore. The more decisions students can make, the more they will actually accomplish. We need, as an institution as a whole, to look at things much more from the perspective of the students rather than the perspective of the faculty.
We contacted the college, and while they said they couldn’t provide an immediate response, they will give us a statement later this week.