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Sunday February 5th

Rally supports non-tenured faculty

<p>Didem Turkoglu (right), a teaching assistant and doctoral candidate in the sociology department, spoke at the rally Wednesday.</p>
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Didem Turkoglu (right), a teaching assistant and doctoral candidate in the sociology department, spoke at the rally Wednesday.

The UNC Adjunct Faculty Speak Out was inspired by the National Adjunct Walkout Day, an event meant to bring awareness to issues facing adjunct professors around the country.

The event included students and professors speaking out against what they call unfair treatment toward non-tenure-track professors. At UNC, they include fixed-term faculty, who are on one- to four-year contracts, and adjuncts, who have less job security.

Some professors with tenure attended the event — among them was Altha Cravey, a geography professor and one of the event’s main speakers.

She said the percentage of UNC professors who are not on the tenure track had jumped to about 59 percent in 2013.

She said she wants the speak out to create awareness.

“I hope that we educate students about the effect this is having on their classrooms, their educations,” Cravey said. “I hope we can educate my peers who are tenured faculty. A lot of them don’t realize how bad it is for individuals.”

Robert Porter, a lecturer in the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies, was one of the few professors without tenure who attended and spoke during the event.

He said despite the consequences that could come as a result of him speaking against UNC’s treatment of non-tenure-track professors, he participated because he thinks major changes need to be made.

“I think sometimes conditions reach a point where we have to take a stand, regardless of the personal cost,” he said.

Part of the event included readings of anonymous letters written by non-tenure-track professors who were concerned about potential repercussions that could result from participating in the speak out.

In one letter, a professor wrote about having to chose between buying his or her own health insurance or his or her children’s. The professor chose the children.

Senior Shilpi Misra attended the speak out and said this cause impacts both students and professors.

“This does affect me. I care about the well-being of my professors who are shaping my future, so I would hope that I could reciprocate the quality that’s deserved,” Misra said.

Porter said despite his strong teaching evaluations and involvement in many different programs, he still doesn’t know how long he’ll have a job because of the ease with which the University can hire and fire professors without tenure.

He said some professors feel as though they are in a sort of caste system.

“I think that there’s a lot of insecurity here,” Porter said.

“Every single adjunct that I’ve spoken with feels very much like a second-class citizen.”


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