National Adjunct Walkout Hits Seton Hall Today

by The Village Green
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A number of adjunct professors at Seton Hall University will be participating in National Adjunct Walkout Day on Feb 25.

The Seton Hall walkout will take place February 25 and 26. Adjuncts will be meeting in the Pirates Cove all day both days instead of holding classes.

Two of the adjunct instructors involved in the walkout reached out to The Village Green to discuss the action but asked that we not use their names so as not to jeopardize their employment.

One instructor stressed his deep ties with Seton Hall — as a “life-long Pirate.” He said that his allegiance with SHU made the walkout that much more meaningful: “The institution means a lot to me, and I’d like to see it show its workers that they mean a lot to them as well.”

Organizers are projecting upwards of 30 adjuncts participating in the action today.

Adjuncts in the school of Arts and Sciences at SHU currently make $2,100 per course, said the life-long SHU adjunct — one of the lowest rates in the state. At Rutgers University, where adjuncts are unionized, adjuncts are paid $4,500 per course. Montclair State University pays $3,600. Fordham University (in New York State) pays $3,800. Even within SHU, there is adjunct payment disparity with adjuncts in the school of diplomacy making around $4,500 a course.

Leadership at Seton Hall say they are aware of the difficulties faced by adjuncts and are working toward a solution.

“Our adjunct faculty has always played an important role at Seton Hall University, and we greatly appreciate their contributions in the classroom and beyond,” wrote Joan F. Guetti, Ph.D., Seton Hall University Senior Associate Provost, in an email to The Village Green. “Discussions about adjunct compensation are certainly not unique to Seton Hall, and this issue is being explored by numerous universities around the nation. Earlier this academic year, the University’s Provost indicated in several different campus forums that he considered a review of adjunct compensation a priority, and we are continuing to examine the issue. The University’s leadership recognizes the need for an ongoing dialogue, including discussions about compensation, to ensure that Seton Hall continues to present desirable teaching opportunities for adjunct faculty. At the same time, our focus remains on ensuring that we are able to offer a world-class education that is accessible to all students.”

The life-long Pirate adjunct responded, “The Provost office has assured us that they are working on it, and that it’s a priority, but have been unable to supply us with any real facts or figures.”

He added that students were also “frustrated” with the situation. “Most of them are under the impression that their professors are making close to six-figure salaries, not teaching and working two or three other jobs just to make ends meet,” he said.

Adjuncts who corresponded with The Village Green said that they planned to continue to press the issue and were looking into starting a union: “We’re all passionate teachers who work very hard at our jobs and we all think it’s worth fighting for. New Jersey already has a very high cost of living. For many of us, change needs to happen immediately. ”

“Seton Hall does not provide health insurance, pension, or pay grade scales,” said another adjunct who teaches Core English. “We are also not guaranteed jobs from semester to semester and sometimes have classes canceled on us the day before school starts. Our salaries have not increased in nearly a decade.”

“This is not just an issue at Seton Hall, this is a nationwide problem,” said an adjunct. “Where does the tuition money go? When the provosts of universities make high six-figures and the people actually teaching the students qualify for food stamps, how can we say we are providing students with good educations?”

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