Faculty Senate hears adjunct request for representation

Hallie Saculla

Kent Part-Time Faculty Alliance, a group of instructors at Kent State, is asking for an official chair in the university’s Faculty Senate to voice their opinions and concerns.

Kenneth Jurek, a part-time instructor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the Kent and Stark Campuses, voiced his opinion during September’s senate meeting.

“To make a long story short, we are looking for parity; we’d like to be thought of as on par with regular faculty,” Jurek said.

Jurek believes part-time instructors are generally an afterthought in many factions of the university’s affairs. He feels a presence of part-time faculty in the senate will bring a new perspective to the congregation.

“Presently, we are trying to address … (not having a forum to voice issues), though we know it will not be a panacea to our issues, only a small opening of the door,” said Michael Carano, a member of the Organizing Committee of the Kent Part-Time Faculty Alliance and past part-time instructor. “We are called by some ‘ghost employees’ since we are in some ways not seen by the administration, by the parents, by the students or by the community in terms of what our situation is.”

One aspect of the situation Carano is referring to comes from financial inequality. Some part-time faculty have not received a pay raise in over 12 years.

“I earned more in my last year at General Tire as a factory worker than part-time faculty working at two universities to make ends meet,” Carano said.

With part-time faculty receiving no benefits, Susan Murray-Moore, a part-time instructor in the English department and a KPTFA member, describes part-time faculty “as disposable as Kleenex, and are often treated as such.”

“The issues that we are advocating for have been concerns for decades and have never really been addressed,” said Murray-Moore, a part-time instructor at Kent since 1980. “But now, with the mobilization of adjuncts on campuses across the country, attention must be paid.”

Along with financial compliance, Jurek also is hoping for a future with job security and a way for part-time faculty to be promoted or considered for full-time faculty positions if the opportunity arises.

Jurek describes part-time faculty as being split into two groups: retired teachers and young professionals.

“If you’re teaching young minds, you should make more than someone working at Walmart or Target,” Jurek said.

Hallie Saculla is an administration reporter for the Kent State. Contact her at [email protected].