The Mystery of the Mysterious & National Adjunct Walkout Day

Beginning October 2, a few tweets went round the twitterverse calling for adjuncts to stage a national walkout on February 25, 2015.

Since then, quite a bit of buzz surrounding the idea has circulated, including a short piece in the Quick Takes section at Inside Higher Ed asking, “What would academe look like without adjuncts?” IHE quotes an anonymous adjunct regarding the walkout:

The adjunct said the walkout day doesn’t have a central organizing committee, and that it will look different on different campuses. Groups might highlight the “educational or administrative issues impacting adjuncts within that particular campus, across the country, or [the] plights of individual adjuncts,” she said. But the central idea of the movement is that “no adjunct or campus must face these shared issues alone.”

Yes, a national call to overt action is long overdue. Calling for organizing not at the national but at the campus or district level is a good idea, too. This keeps thing on a grass roots level.

Even so, we need to think about the various ways this thing can be accomplished so that the maximum amount of people feel comfortable joining in. In addition, since this affects students, it seems only natural to include their voices. All this suggests that the walkout be either literal or metaphorical, as determined by each local group or individual choice. A metaphorical walkout could be manifested as protest rallies including supportive non-adjuncts: educators and others who are affected by the casualization of labor.

There are those who feel the need to know who is behind the national call to action. This is understandable as humans are curious beings. But the idea to maintain anonymity as to who is behind the call may be essential to making ourselves heard. Think in terms of why The Economist, famous for anonymous attribution, prefers to maintain its tradition: “The main reason for anonymity…is a belief that what is written is more important than who writes it.” From this perspective, placing content above attribution allows for more people to have a voice and an impact.

And after all, isn’t what’s wanted is that we be heard?


4 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Mysterious & National Adjunct Walkout Day

  1. I agree about the anonymity and have also researched the issue but want more specifics and less vague generalization. That is my real concern.

    Also, if there is an organization behind the action, then that organization should identify/announce/describe itself while keeping members anonymous to protect them. Even that info gets waffled ~ sometimes sounds like a yes there is an organization and other times like no there is not, it’s all grassroots. Which? The eponymous they can’t have it both ways.

    Better communicating would build “trustiness” ~ waffling won’t.

    Coincidentally (or not), trust and networking is the #ccourses current unit, This week’s webinar is “Trust as a transaction and trust as a habit both, human and technological”

  2. Thx, Vanessa — Yes, we definitely could use more trustiness. What you say makes sense and i can see why people want details, but it also seems that we could view this as an opportunity to just ignore the idea of being organized and organize ourselves all on one day. If enough adjuncts in enough communities decided to organize, it would truly be grass roots and national.

  3. Pingback: The Mystery of @NationalAdjunct's Mysterious &a...

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