Last fall, non-tenure-track faculty at LMU went public with their organizing drive, hoping to join the ranks of unionized faculty at colleges and universities across the country, including fellow Jesuit universities Fordham University and Santa Clara University. There is a crisis in U.S. higher education: an often-crippling tuition is coupled with an increasingly precarious and impoverished professoriate.
As a tenured professor, I have one of the most secure jobs in America, but hundreds of my non-tenure-track colleagues at LMU receive one-semester contracts — even those who have taught here for decades. These one-semester-at-a-time contracts are the result of an easily remedied lack of planning on the part of our administration. They are born of disregard for the financial hardship and psychological terror they induce: old-timers at this gig still get the jitters when, once again, it’s time to sign the yearly lease on the apartment, and the University still hasn’t confirmed this semester’s contract.