I have been an adjunct at CUNY for 18 years. I have received excellent student and faculty evaluations over the years. When I first started, I was given three classes each semester. I received health insurance after the required amount of time. After a few years, I was only given two classes each semester. In the 1990’s my department head decided to give one of my classes to her friend. I lost my insurance for that semester. Her friend only stayed for one semester, and I was given my class back.
After many years, my department head told me that she wanted to cut me back to one class because she wanted to try new people out. I had to “beg” to keep two classes. She required that I write her a letter stating why I should keep my classes.
About four years ago a new person came to head the department. She has expanded our program and hired about ten new adjuncts. Many of them have only stayed one semester. I am the only adjunct who is a carry over from before she came. She has told me that I am “the weakest of the adjuncts.” She is very, very wrong about that! She wanted to cut me back to one class over the last four years. Again, I had to “beg” to keep two classes and keep my health insurance. I am now 63 years old. I guess begging for my low paid job, which thankfully includes health insurance is an adjunct’s plight. I wish it were not.
The effect that job insecurity has on my life as a person is sometimes fraught, painful and demoralizing. I have received national attention for my work which includes about forty print newspaper and magazine articles over the last thirty years. I have taught over 1200 CUNY students and hundreds of public school children in our city. I am person of great experience, competence and even some wisdom! Yet I am put in the position at my college at CUNY as a supplicant without any respect. RESPECT! Job security for adjuncts in our next contract!