Utah Valley University adjunct professors are pushing back against a requirement that they re-apply for their posts each spring, saying it disrespects the part-timers who do most of the teaching at the Orem campus.
UVU officials have billed the requirement as a housekeeping measure that has little bearing on actual hiring decisions, which remain with department heads. But some professors — tenured and adjunct alike — are making no secret of their displeasure of what they call a "purging policy," devised without faculty input.
"Instead of recognizing our essential contribution, the university not only discriminates against us, it humiliates us," wrote adjunct Edwin Firmage in a recent opinion piece published by UVU’s student newspaper. "Regardless of our expertise and experience, and mindless of actual contributions made by individuals to their departments over the years, the university treats us as mere at-will employees."
The first-year adjunct, who is the son of a University of Utah law professor by the same name, taught Latin and humanities last semester and hopes to keep teaching. He holds a master’s degree from Berkeley in Near Eastern studies and makes his living as an outdoor photographer.
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