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First-ever national adjunct walkout day planned for February

If you’ve ever wondered what a college campus would be like without adjuncts on staff, you’ll soon find out come National Adjunct Walkout Day.

Planned for February 25, 2015, the protest was proposed by an adjunct professor of writing at San Jose State University – who has chosen to remain anonymous – to call for fair wages and better working conditions. The protest would help bring attention to a segment of college faculty members normally neglected when it comes to work benefits, even though they make up the majority of professors employed by higher education institutions today.

Response has been “enormous” for the event “because an action like this is long overdue,” the adjunct behind the protest told Inside Higher Ed. She went on to say that the organized rallies would likely vary depending on the school and highlight “educational or administrative issues impacting adjuncts within that particular campus, across the country, or [the] plights of individual adjuncts.” The adjunct added that the main idea behind the movement is that “no adjunct or campus must face these shared issues alone.”

A quick glance at the National Adjunct Walkout Day Facebook page will tell you that this event is gaining traction, with adjunct faculty across the country pledging their support for the movement. A quote from Miranda Merklein, an adjunct who teaches between six and seven English composition, literature and developmental courses per semester at Northern New Mexico College and Santa Fe Community College, stands out most on the page. In response to the proposal for National Adjunct Walkout Day, she said:

Hired Ed would immediately cease to function and everyone would find out real quick who the essential employees are.

The plights of adjuncts is receiving a lot more attention this year, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) submitting a bill in August to eliminate student loan debt for adjunct professors. The legislation would help wipe away thousands of dollars in student debt for adjuncts who are ineligible for the federal student loan forgiveness program because they are not full-time employees.