In response to our recent letter to the Psychology Department Chair, Vanya Quinones-Jenab, about the working conditions of contingent teaching staff in the Department we received an email on Thursday, which was -- to say the least -- underwhelming in its recognition of our dire conditions.
The basic premise of the response was to reject our concerns by
- referring to other bad practices (e.g. pointing to the fact that other colleges and departments also treat their adjuncts poorly, by e.g. not providing any or sufficient office space),
- referring to the collective bargaining agreement and the union's failure to provide us a contract that would allow the demands we put forward as a way of refuting any responsibility for what goes on in the department, or
- by merely justifying and normalizing the bad practices of the department (i.e. by suggesting that a class size of 275 students taught by adjuncts and GTFs is considered normal).
While nothing in the response was surprising, but rather in line with the dismissive approach and utter lack of regard for the contributions of contingent faculty in the department from management, it shows the urgent need for us to continue organizing and fighting independently against our bad contract and our increasingly normalized difficult working conditions.
Finally, the letter ended with a general disregard of adjuncts' PERCEPTION OF REALITY by employing THE TRUTH, at least from management's perspective:
I truly regret that you consider that our department visualizes your existence as 'paradoxically invisible.' This is far from the truth—and your perception at least this time is far from the reality."A fight over defining truth and reality is at the core of political struggle and quite honestly this response letter makes us concerned about what kind of reality the Department finds itself in. Apparently, the version of truth that exploits and disciplines adjuncts and GTFs is not an issue or concern to the Department. We beg to differ.
We are excited about the event tomorrow and to continue to expose publicly the absurdity of what is going on in the Psychology Department as just one example of what is going on at our campus and beyond and through this continue our struggle.
Psychology Adjuncts and Hunter Teaches