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Another Shafting for Adjuncts, Comin’ Our Way

We’re told, through a listserv published for community college district adjuncts, that the policy for adjunct faculty is to be rabidly enforced. We are NOT TO BE TEACHING more than three sections a semester.

Interestingly, that appears to include summer sessions. That is, your summer session time is counted in to your academic-year teaching hours, somehow, through the magic of accounting sleight-of-hand. You get a few extra hours beyond 20 per week per semester, but that would allow you to take on only one course in the summer. If you teach any more than that (this summer, I have two), you will be forced into the state pension plan, in which there is no chance you will ever become vested (you have to work for the State of Arizona or Maricopa County for 10 years to become vested!).

Your “contribution” to the state pension plan is 11.13%. In other words, if you dare to take on one course too many, if you perform any substitute teaching, or if you serve on any committees, you get an 11.3% pay cut. Thus your unpenalizable salary is kept rigidly low, and you are smartly punished if you make a mistake.

Now… Each time a contract ends—which happens at the end of each term—you are considered “terminated” from state service. Therefore, you can fill out forms and jump through hoops and demand that the “contribution” be refunded to you.

Thus it’s not exactly a pay cut.

It’s less of a pay cut if you’re over 57½, because once you’ve reached the age at which you’re permitted to take drawdowns from tax-deferred savings, you may take out the money without a penalty from the feds.

If you’re too young to take out money from a tax-deferred plan, then the only way to hang on to what you’ve earned is to roll it over into an IRA.

Well, of course…you wouldn’t be working for $2,400 a semester if you didn’t need the cash flow, and need it in a big way. So what this amounts to is a nice little shafting and another tool to keep adjuncts down.

Since I can get the money back at the end of each semester, it won’t much matter to me. As long as my chair can get away with it, I’ll take on two summer courses and just let the SOBs confiscate 11.13% of my pay; then take it back when I’m “terminated” at the end of each semester. For me, it will just mean another helping of bureaucratic hassle.

It still will provide enough to pay my share of the mortgage on the downtown house, plus a few extra dollars to help make ends meet. I sure could do without having to fill out more forms and argue with more bureaucrats, though. Gawd, how I hate that!

2 thoughts on “Another Shafting for Adjuncts, Comin’ Our Way”

  1. @ George: 16 weeks. That’s a grandiose $150 a week, per section. Gross.

    Some classes, however, run 8 weeks or 5 weeks. My summer session classes are 5 weeks and 7 weeks.

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