Hundreds Stand With Adjunct Faculty at State House

PHENOM joined with adjunct faculty to support our unity bill.

Photo: Michelle Nash testifies in support of House Bill 639. (Zac Bears/PHENOM)

Adjunct faculty members at public and private colleges and universities receive meager pay and few benefits, while teaching a growing share of college courses. Students, faculty and the community joined together on June 29th to support bills that would address the exploitation of adjunct faculty at both public and private colleges and universities.

House Bill 639 would address the adjunct faculty crisis at our public colleges and universities and create the Finish Line Grant to help students and families shouldering the heavy burden of high costs and massive debts.

“Effectively, we have outsourced the education of almost 200,000 public college students in our state to contractors who don’t have access to much-needed resources and who are longing for one of the few full-time, tenure-track positions at one of their schools,” PHENOM Executive Director Zac Bears wrote in a WBUR op-ed. “Many of these teachers take on as many as six courses a semester across two or three campuses, crisscrossing the state just to eke out a meager salary with few or no benefits.”


The Boston Globe: “Adjuncts seek better pay, benefits through legislation”
WBUR: “Students Don’t Deserve Underpaid, Overworked Professors”
WGBH: “Can Massachusetts Support Four Public Universities?”
Bay State Banner: “Adjunct faculty call for pay equality”
WWLP-22 News: “Adjunct faculty members want wage increases, job security”
The Hechinger Report: “Can Massachusetts support four public universities?”

Lowell Sun:
“UMass Lowell adjunct faculty rally for pay, benefits (VIDEO)”

“We are paid poverty wages to do very important work,” Michelle Nash, who’s been an adjunct at Springfield Technical Community College for 18 years, said at the June 29 hearing. “We are qualified, committed instructors, most of us going out of our way to serve our students. We volunteer our time when we do any work outside of the classroom. Office hours, emails, recommendations, advising – [that’s] all unpaid labor.”

“In this state, the great education state of Massachusetts, we have been disinvesting as much as any other state over the past two decades in public higher education,” Max Page, a historian at UMass Amherst and PHENOM board member, said.

“I have a favorite word in (the Massachusetts Constitution). That word is ‘cherish,’” Page said. “It says you have to cherish your public schools and colleges. We don’t cherish them when we give poverty wages to adjunct faculty. We don’t cherish them when we don’t invest in full-time faculty. And we don’t cherish them when we shackle our students with $30,000 of debt every year.”

“There is a myth that adjuncting is temporary,” Amy Todd, UMass Boston professor and long-time adjunct faculty member, said. “But these jobs are not temporary.”