FUN STAR: Amid budget cuts, adjuncts fill big shoes

By Emily Russell

Sun Star Reporter

(This piece satirical and should not be taken seriously.)

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has spared no time in preparing for budget cuts in the coming year. Along with submitting a list of every department for review and possible elimination, the university is also being proactive about its hiring and firing habits.

Several adjunct professors meet in early November. On their agenda was the plan to slowly take over everyone’s position. – Travis Olsen / Sun Star

By the end of the 2014-2015 academic year, every non-tenured professor at UAF will be let go and replaced by an adjunct professor. Adjuncts are popular fillers for teaching positions at universities around the nation, as they are generally paid less than half of what a full-time professor makes and are offered little benefits, if any.

Not only will adjuncts phase out non-tenured professors at UAF, but the Board of Regents hopes that, in the coming years, adjuncts will fill the vice chancellor and chancellor roles at the University. UAF Chancellor Brian Rogers’ salary in 2013 was a whopping $312,696, which does not include the allowances he received for both his house and car. The average salary for an adjunct professor in the United States is a measly $32,000, and you can be sure they’re not receiving additional allowances for their car or house (if they even own either), let alone health care coverage or other benefits.

Earlier this year, the Director of Legislative Finance Division David Teal warned legislators that unpopular decisions that pay off or, this case, pay very little must be made in the face of the state’s massive budget cuts.

“You don’t have a lot of time left, in terms of reserve balances,” Teal told legislators. “Your choice now is fall off a cliff or build a ramp.” And build a ramp made up of underpaid exploited adjuncts, UAF did.

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