Will Teach for Food: A Forum on Our Future as Academic Laborers in Tennessee

I received this email last semester from a fellow adjunct professor within the Tennessee community college system. If you are an adjunct in the state of Tennessee or considering starting similar advocacy programs in your area, please see the email below for details on how to support labor rights for adjunct instructors and graduate students. There is an event this Saturday, February 7th, for those of you who are in the Knoxville/East Tennessee area.

Dear Roane State Adjuncts,

I hope this email finds you well-relaxing by a warm fire with a hot cocoa and a tray of deviled eggs. I am an adjunct at Pellissippi and Roane State Community Colleges. If you are reading you are checking your school email over break.  You are most likely a dedicated educator and committed employee.  Kudos for that.  This message is to update you on some current events that might interest you now that you have time to think for a moment about your job/ career and what you like about it and what you would like to see improved.

Here are two things you might want to consider
A: Fill out this survey:
This link is to a survey that the United Campus Workers (TN’s public higher ed union) has created.  It is private and all it does it try to collect info about our working conditions-both good and bad.
B: Join this discussion group:
This is a closed group discussion on adjunct issues among us East Tennesseans.
C. Come to this forum:
Saturday, February 7th at the Community Room at Barley’s in the Old City, Knoxville.
From 10:00 to 3:00 contingent workers (Adjuncts and Graduate Assistants) throughout East Tennessee will be discussing the complications of being an adjunct and ways to organize and improve working conditions.  It will be fun.  There’s no more football.  The weather will be drab. This is just what you need for inspiration as you stare down a long semester ahead of you. We are the backbone of teaching on our campuses. Join us to strategize for a bright future in higher ed!

Mark your calendars for this exciting event. More details coming soon!

P.S. This is in no way meant to be about just criticizing our schools. After having spent a year on the Pellissippi faculty senate and meeting with administration, it is more clear than ever that schools would like to see things improve for adjuncts.  We are too many, we make too little, and we deserve better.  YOU deserve better.
Nobody disagrees with this… at our school.
So where does the problem originate?
That’s the $15,600 a year without benefits question.
The answer lies at the state level.  If this is true then what’s the point of getting a clear message?  Well, for changes to be made, we need to be heard.  For us to be heard we need to speak up. For us to be listened to we need to speak together.
How does this happen?  Come to Barley’s in Knoxville (200 East Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37915) on February 7th and tell us.

In Solidarity,
Gabriel Crowell
Adjunct, Pellissippi & Roane State Community Colleges

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