As a result of this financial insecurity, our respondents indicated that 82% are suffering from housing insecurity and 85% are suffering from food insecurity. More than half of the respondents reported that online instruction was taking a toll on their physical and/or mental health.
“I’m feeling hopeless and helpless with no job opportunities and no job security”
“I’m suffering tremendous stress learning how to teach online when I had no previous experience.”
“I really miss my students and co-workers. Teaching online will never be the same compared to face-to-face teaching. Human contact is one of the most important things to me.”
In the middle of all this, the inevitable question arises:
What has your college or union done to reassure you that you will be treated fairly with regard to your reemployment rights for future assignments?
Of the 283 who responded to this question, 63% felt that their unions had provided them with good or at least adequate information and support, while 25% felt they had not been supported by their unions. Districts fared less well, as only 54% felt the District was following reemployment practices, 17% felt they had been treated badly by the districts. 28% were unaware of what the district was doing regarding reemployment and 42% were unaware of any special provisions being made to ensure fair treatment regarding reemployment following the pandemic.
“Policies regarding priority for class assignments have been spun and basically ignored. Administrative head hides behind assistants and is not available for support, feedback, or input.”
“My district is allowing unlimited overloads to contract faculty, which takes classes away from part-timers.”
“The message of equity that is preached by the full-time faculty and administration hypocrites is a fundamental lie. We are not all in this together and the hierarchical faculty system in the California community colleges serves to exploit adjunct labor. When times become tough administration expects us to “rise” to the challenge with unpaid labor and to be grateful to get an assignment at all.”
The survey results point out that the difficult working conditions that part-time faculty have faced for the past 50 years are inevitably made worse as the conditions for the entire community and state are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are few if any safety-nets for part-timers and the bargained rights to employment don’t seem to work in every case.
The results also debunk the common administrator’s assumptions that online instruction is just as good as face-to-face for student learning, that online course-work is simple to create and provide to the students, and that all courses can be meaningfully taught online.
While California Community Colleges have wisely chosen to do nearly all of their instruction online during the pandemic, doing so has had dire consequences for part-time faculty and students alike. There is a credible fear of being forced to teach face-to-face unless safety precautions are greatly improved. There is also growing desperation on the part of part-time faculty who are facing serious economic hardship caused by reduced assignments due to cancellations of classes for low-enrollment.
We must also keep in mind that while part-time faculty are on the front-lines of this pandemic, our students are right there with us sharing our financial, health, and technical hardships.
“I’m concerned that districts are looking for ways to continue pushing students into online classes at the community college level. This is a disaster for most of these students especially, because of their limited familiarity with college and limited access to tech. They will not be ready to matriculate.”
Without serious Federal and State assistance and a good long-term plan, higher education in California will suffer many long-term set-backs from the COVID-19 pandemic that will harm students and faculty for years to come.
Director of Administration
Director of Publications
Los Angeles Regional Representative