Opinion: Students oppose reduction in adjunct pay

The School of Social Work’s adjunct faculty are the School of Social Work, not the bottom line.


Image by Sarah Mai

by Youth Studies Cooperative Students

We, the undersigned, represent students of the youth studies undergraduate program as chosen student leaders. We were informed on Friday evening, Oct. 21, of the decision to “simplify” the pay rate of adjunct faculty. We want to be clear that the language you use here is intentional. You state “simplify,” but we know this to mean reduce pay for the majority of our community faculty members. This is a decision that we stand in firm opposition to.

Adjunct faculty are integral to the success of youth studies students. Undergraduate attitudes and experiences are contingent on our relationships with our faculty. There are many of us in this program who would not still be here without them.

Dr. Blakey, you see community faculty as the bottom line. We see them as life savers. Each of us have had a personal experience with a faculty member that pushed us to stay in school despite the obstacles. These vibrant faculty members volunteer their time, exercise critical flexibility with students who are experiencing life crises and provide opportunities for success outside of the classroom. They do all of this while making barely above a livable wage with no benefits and no job security.

So, we ask you, Dr. Blakey, are you willing to take a pay cut? Are you willing to work with no benefits? Are you willing to get to know each of us; the things that inspire us; the things that we’re struggling with; the things that we are juggling outside of the classroom? Are you willing to open your home for those in need? Are you willing to change the entire structure of a course to accommodate a student experiencing housing insecurity? A mental health crisis? Suddenly becoming a foster parent? And, lastly, are you aware that everything stated above are real experiences that both students and community faculty have navigated together in this past year?

We only “remain a viable school” by focusing on the bottom-line community that made us one in the first place. We are angry, and we are hurting for the adjunct faculty that we hold so dear. We stand in firm solidarity with our faculty and staff in the undergraduate program as well as the whole School of Social Work in protest of this inequitable, economically unethical and intentionally non-transparent decision. Our community faculty are the School of Social Work.


Sarah Etheridge, Youth Studies B.S. ‘22

Chandler Reza Zarrinnam, Youth Studies B.S. ‘23

William Eng, Developmental Psychology B.A. ‘24


Youth Studies Student Representatives for the Youth Studies Cooperative