St. Edward’s mistreats adjuncts, contradicts social justice mission

Every week the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. This week the editorial board are Viewpoints editors Erin Downey and Eleanor Fishbourne and staff writer Jasmine Rodriguez.


Contingent faculty members, also referred to as adjunct professors, have always been given the shorter end of the stick. The same goes for St. Edward’s University’s adjuncts.

These professors teach 35 percent of undergraduate courses, said Associate Professor Cory Lock as reported by Hilltop Views last week. This makes up for most of St. Edward’s core curriculum which students are required to take. While these courses help to secure students with their steps toward graduation, the adjunct professors who teach these courses are not so secure.

Such professors only get paid around $3,700 per course and are only eligible to teach three or fewer courses per semester. That’s less than $12,000 a semester. Another insecurity these professors face is their ineligibility to gain benefits.

The mission of St Edward’s embodies a notion of encouraging a certain justice and dignity around the institution; however, it seems to contradict itself by not treating the adjunct professors as fairly as other professors.

“St. Edward’s expresses its Catholic identity by communicating the dignity of the human person as created in the image of God, by stressing the obligation of all people to pursue a more just world.”

According to the Houston Chronicle:

“Universities and colleges hire adjunct professors to save money, because it costs less to hire two or three part-time instructors than to hire a single full-time professor.

Full-time professors usually have health insurance and other benefits, as well as higher salaries. Adjunct professors usually have no benefits, and are paid by the course at about one-third of the rate a tenured professor would receive. A professor with tenure can earn a salary of $80,000 per year, while an adjunct professor receives between $2,000 and $5,000 per course.”

Just because adjunct professors do not work full time does not mean they should reap dissatisfaction and lower benefits. The professors are still teaching students and advancing the university greatly.

As students at St. Edward’s, it’s hard to imagine that all professors are not treated equally. Students see all professors, either adjunct or full-time, in the same light.

As students it’s important to place professors into the same category given that they each play an important role in shaping our knowledge and future. Therefore, it’s important that they are treated equally. If students don’t discriminate toward these adjuncts, why should other faculty?

The professors are doing their jobs correctly and efficiently and need to be treated as such. Without the security of a job, adjuncts are constantly worried about whether or not they will have a job for the next semester.

Even some adjunct professors who’ve been professing at St. Edward’s for many years feel insecure. Adjunct Professor Mary Reilly wishes she had more job security, as reported by Hilltop Views. Although Reilly has been an adjunct for 20 years, she still wishes that her personal experience was recognized.

There doesn’t seem to be a change coming in the near future, but the reality of this situation is that these professors and their families are greatly affected each semester. The lack of benefits and money these adjuncts receive seems to be a discrimination against them.