Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Food for Thought

       To meet a pressing need, our FRCC AAUP chapter has begun weekly visits to area food banks along Colorado's front range. It's been remarkable to discover that staff at some food banks are already aware of the situation with Colorado's community college faculty majority. We placed the displays shown above in adjunct workrooms to inform adjunct faculty who may not yet know about our visits, but who need food. We are finding that going to food banks with peers forestalls some worry, removes the stigma from food bank use and contributes to solidarity among peers. The visits are especially welcome by adjunct faculty who have children at home. We are posting a photo of one of our displays here, as well as the copy for the sign below, for others to consider using if such a campaign might be helpful at your college or university campus. Boxes of crackers and jars of peanuts seemed appropriate props.

Feeding FRCC Adjunct Faculty

     Fall semester, 2013, the annual average wage for FRCC adjunct faculty remains thousands below the minimum living wage* for Colorado’s front-range communities. This low wage qualifies many FRCC adjunct teachers for food stamps, food-banks, indigent health-care cards and other resources. **

Join our food bank visits.
Get some groceries.
Meet with colleagues.

      Many adjuncts tell us they feel ashamed to be teaching, as if they have made a mistake in choosing to teach our students. They take as proof of their mistake their low wages, lack of health care, etc. Many are deeply in debt, using credit cards to purchase necessities. They feel they have failed.

     You have not failed; the system has failed you. Changes are underway. Meantime, you need to eat. You may need medical care. Contact us. We care. We can help.

Front Range Chapter, American Association of University Professors

 * Gastmeier, Amy. “Living Wage Calculation.” Poverty in America: Living Wage Calculator. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2013. Web 8 Sept. 2013.

**Approximately 4,000 adjunct (part-time) faculty teach 70 -85% of all the courses offered within the Colorado Community College System. The majority faculty – adjuncts – represent 70% of the faculty within the system.

Note: We have collected the pertinent sources to serve poverty-level wage earners like FRCC adjunct faculty. For a list of contacts and Web sites to connect to food, health-care, transportation, housing and home repair resources, see our Web site.