Tuesday, July 29, 2014

❝@AnaMFores' People's #Petition: #AdjunctJustice demands Better Pay for #Adjunct Faculty

…how it all started…When I first began my petition, Vanessa Vaile was the first to pick up on it and post it. I can't find that link offhand, but I do have one of her first few emails that began our friendship and collaboration, dating back to April 2012. It seems only yesterday, but a lot has happened since then, in our movement, and in our lives. I think I will save that for another blog, though...

I remember when I began my petition for Adjunct Justice, demanding better pay for adjuncts; it was a day of desperation, as my college had given me an ultimatum: either teach Writing Composition classes with 35 students each or do not teach these particular classes at all. It was my choice. 

I gave them an unequivocal no. 

I would be remiss in my duties as an effective educator were I to teach students under such untenable circumstances. How can we teach that many students at the same time, and have them learn anything of value? 

That semester I taught only two classes, thus beginning my quiet revolution against what I saw not only as the exploitation of adjunct faculty but also the diminution of student learning. 

These past two years I have persisted, so the petition has gone forward little by little. We now have over 8300 signatures. I have met online friends and colleagues, groups of grassroots activists who have helped me nurture it and bring it forward. I have become friends with higher ed academics all across the United States: adjunct, tenured, and untenured alike.  

But I have also written all mayor media outlets, especially educational ones; they told me they were not interested in petitions. It’s funny: it depends on who you are and whom you know. I have seen some petitions taken up readily enough, with only a few hundred signatures. 

Yet mine still persists and has been successful, with no mayor media clamoring to push it forward. 8300 and climbing…

So let’s keep pushing it forward ourselves then —if no one else comes to call— to show everyone how grassroots activism works. Let’s show everyone how it has worked quietly and persistently these past two years, and how it will continue to do so, because when a cause is good and a cause is just, a cause moves forward, against all odds. 

So this is why I bring our petition forward again today. I want to focus on the overlooked adjunct, the everyday contingent from Alabama, from Oklahoma, from Tennessee, and from New York City and Boston as well. We are all in this together. Or we should be. We should be promoting each other; we should be uniting and bringing our project forward as contingents united for one common cause. 

So I will leave you with a few recent quotes from the petition, which I check daily. If you write me, I will answer you personally, every time. If you join my page, it makes me happy. You touch my heart because you reach out to me, as I hope I reach you. 

This teacher who received his MFA from Alabama, I ache for you! 

 “I am an exploited adjunct faculty member who cannot support his family despite working at two colleges. I have a BA from Yale and an MFA from the University of Alabama, but cannot secure a full-time position. Those few that come up go to younger workers (I am 45) so unless hiring and pay conditions change, I will likely have to work as a perma-temp until I "retire"—or, more likely, am unable to continue working. Imagine if your children were being paid and treated like Wal-Mart employees—because that's what's happening in higher education today.” 

I rejoice that this faculty member was able to get a fulltime faculty position after 15 years of arduous labor; I am also indebted that she has not forgotten us. 

“I am finally a full-time, continuous instructor but for 15 years I taught under these difficult circumstances. Please take these issues seriously and begin to address them on a national level.”

Lastly (though there are many many more; look through the notes if you get a chance!), I feel for this person who is still
living at Mom’s. Is he dreaming away for a future that may never come? Is this what our academic prospect brings us? Is this what we have to tell our students, when we model our truths, even though we might not want to? 

“I hope I can one day pay my bills, and move out of my Mom's house. That is my dream as an adjunct university/community college professor who made $22,500 last year teaching 10 classes.”

Please sign this petition then, and share it; keep on sharing it, again and again. And maybe one of these days, a major news media outlet or educational publication will pick it up so that it gets a giant push. Or better, someone with the ability to do something substantial to change our plight will say, adjunct faculty deserve to “graduate” to something better


  1. For six or so months I've watched you and Vanessa try to undermine the efforts of other adjunct activist groups. Enough already. Basta!

    It's simply, Ana (and Vanessa).

    We sign each other's petitions; we contact each other's contacts; we build this movement for the people who are suffering in Adjunct hell.

    That's it; nothing more.
    Nothing less.

    And if you can't do that, I don't understand why you even bother to make the effort because this ISN'T about YOU or ME or anyone else. This is about people right now who have no money to pay their bills or repay their loans who are looking at a a declining number of positions even in the neoliberal corporate paradise called the at-will job market.

    FFS -- please stop!

  2. We are definitely all in this together. Sign Ana's petition! It's a great one and deserves our support.

  3. It's really shocking to see so much venom aimed at women who are spending so much of their time and energy clearly devoted to not only adjuncts but all precarious workers and children coming into our country.

    Your words are not only disrespectful and rude but plain wrong.

    As to the tone of your comments, I can only hope you don't have such outbursts in the classroom, or worse, at home, for I'm using the term outburst for the sake of civility.

    1. Thnx for your support -- not only does it cover the matter well but spares me an exchange with someone cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme

  4. Thank you, Lee; we have always worked together, and we will never stop.

    This is not against you, as Mr. Baum seems to think, but if anything, against the media who ignores people in the outlier states and regions, and picks and chooses whatever they fancy next.

    I am so happy your petition is doing beautifully, and I support it fully. I cannot wait to hear about the next step with your "legislative" agenda; keep us all informed.

    In the meantime, keep on sharing, and as I always say, we are all in this together, YES!

    In sol(idarity),

    Ana M. Fores Tamayo, Adjunct Justice
    Petition: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/better-pay-for-adjuncts

  5. Doesn't anybody moderate this blog to keep the weirdos out?

    1. My apologies, Bewildered, I moderate the page and approved Baum's post to let him have his say. If he becomes threatening or abusive, that would be another matter.

  6. Yes, please stop. Let your actions, Anna and Vanessa, support the "we are all in this together, YES!" declaration just made. Nothing would make me happier.

    In Solidarity,


  7. Is this a trained commenter? It's possible the guy is legit and not a plant but I've seen lots of action from commenters with an agenda on most any liberal/progressive pro-union pro-people websites. They usually pay no attention to what the author's saying and just start attacking based on a Libertarian party line script.

    He attacks both women by name and says he is part of the adjunct movement but I still can't help but wonder: is there an agenda to silence some adjunct activists?

    I mean, Ana M Fores Tomayo says that her petition is aimed at helping outlier adjuncts in rural areas and that she' hasn't been given the same kind of PR help as the recent petition making the rounds. Her point is that this hurts outlier adjuncts. This is why I wonder if this isn't a push to target certain adjuncts or certain ideas.

    Saying we're all in this together and not meaning it isn't helpful at all. If you really felt that way, you wouldn't attack with blind hatred. And you wouldn't make a public scene if your goal is to advance solidarity.

  8. Nahdiah, I'm not sure what the criteria for "trained commenter" would be but am now imaging ads on bar coasters for commenter schools. Certification programs or at least badges for excellence in astroturfing.

    In the interest fair mindedness, inclusiveness or something, I added Baum's blogs to the blogrolls. On the other hand, Sean Kennedy advocates BDS. That suggests other directions that I prefer to avoid. In the meantime, I'll just keep on as I have been.

  9. OK so you want to a good and you let the weirdo come in, have his say. So have others. Why hasn't he answered anyone, told them off, or explained his position?


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