The 'adjunct' business model ignores moral principles

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Had I not been on the Duquesne University faculty (tenured, fortunately) for 40 years, I might have regarded the appalling tale of Margaret Mary Vojtko ("Death of an Adjunct," Sept. 18 Perspectives) as fanciful, melodramatic or, as the university would have it, an agenda-driven misrepresentation.

Colleges love adjuncts. Like grad assistants and untenured faculty, they can be bullied or easily compromised. Above all, they're economical, obviating the hiring of a full-time prof with benefits and the potential of earning tenure and thus -- heaven forbid -- academic freedom.

As a business model this makes sense; the Donald Trumps of the world would heartily approve. As a practice, however, it's sadly lacking in moral dimension. Especially when it grasps onto the "religious" exemption. Unions, it claims, would interfere with its mission to inculcate Catholic values among its students.

Who, pray tell, thought that one up -- Dick Cheney?

As a Catholic I reject that argument as disingenuous at best, and as an academician I'm embarrassed by the skewing of Catholic social principles regarding the rights of workers to live with dignity. Duquesne University knows better; it's treating its adjunct faculty like educational migrant workers.


The writer retired as associate professor in the journalism and multimedia arts department.



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