Because I had a tenure track job.
Then they came for the liberal studies jobs, and I did not speak out—
Because I did not teach much liberal
Then they came for the adjuncts’ jobs, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not an adjunct.
Then they came for my tenure track
job—and there was no one left to speak for me.
My apologies to Martin Niemӧller: This is in no way meant to belittle his original and very powerful quote on the dangers of not standing up for the right thing when one should, nor is it meant to equate the adjunct crisis with the Holocaust--that would be inane and inappropriate. This is only to remind people how we got in this current situation and just how far it could still go. Too often we are complacent until the crisis knocks on our own front door. If you feel alone and powerless, it is much easier to stay safe and quiet. I can understand that because I have been that person. Doing the right thing is often not easy and entails risk. Across the nation I watch my adjunct family lose classes through cuts or tenured faculty poaching of already filled contingent faculty sections. I see policies implemented in the name of "the greater good" that cost current teachers their livelihoods. If the adjunctification of the professoriate is allowed to reach its endgame, there will be no tenure track by default. When the tenured become the minority on every single campus, who will balance votes and the job of shared governance?
We can either take a stand or continue to watch American higher education succumb to corporatization. The current rise in adjunct unionization efforts countrywide is no mere trend. People are drawing the line and beginning to fight back.
Where will you stand? Beside us or against us?