Jan
21
2013

College adjuncts getting hammered by Obamacare.

Imagine my shock to hear this:

The federal health-care overhaul is prompting some colleges and universities to cut the hours of adjunct professors, renewing a debate about the pay and benefits of these freelance instructors who handle a significant share of teaching at U.S. higher-education institutions.

The Affordable Care Act requires large employers to offer a minimum level of health insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week or more starting in 2014, or face a penalty. The mandate is a particular challenge for colleges and universities, which increasingly rely on adjuncts to help keep costs down as states have scaled back funding for higher education.

A handful of schools, including Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania and Youngstown State University in Ohio, have curbed the number of classes that adjuncts can teach in the current spring semester to limit the schools’ exposure to the health-insurance requirement.


…at that, I’m not as shocked as Stark State College adjunct Robert Balla, who is quoted later in the article as being unhappy that his hours have been cut. Admittedly, me being less shocked wasn’t a difficult feat to accomplish, given that I’m not shocked at all and Balla is.

Anyway, like Walter Russell Mead, I think that this entire situation is downright redolent with the generally bad smell that is attached to our current university system*; unlike Walter, I’m not really basically sympathetic to the people caught up in it, except for the ones who voted for Mitt Romney**. The rest of ‘em ordered this dog’s breakfast; it’s not my fault if they don’t like the taste.  And it’s not as if being sympathetic will win me any points with these people, given that I’m representative of that horrible fringe of American politics whose last candidate got a mere 48% of the vote…

H/T: Instapundit.

Moe Lane

*Short version: under the current system, adjuncts do all of the work and tenured professors get all of the budget, respect, grant money and nice parking spaces.  It is instructive that when it comes to discussing how to cut costs, apparently nobody in the university system is seriously suggesting that full-time, tenured professors teach more entry-level classes.

**Neither I nor the Volokh Conspiracy are particularly ready to believe that Mr. Balla voted for Mr. Romney.

6 Comments

  • texaspatrick says:

    I mean, they’ve cut things to the bone people! These universities had to make do with, like what, three or four new diversity officers? It’s like the middle ages! But seriously, part time workers can be a great boon to an enterprise, giving it flexibility…good thing Obamacare punishes that good and hard…..

  • acat says:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/10/palm-beach-state-college-health-insurance_n_2441927.html
    .
    The comments to this related story are a remarkable demonstration of just how effin’ stupid supposedly college-professor-level people can be.
    .
    There’s *NO* indication that maybe the law is wrong… it’s all “we want our free lunch!”.
    .
    Mew

  • Finrod says:

    Buy the Obama ticket, take the ride.

  • Crawford says:

    The weird thing is, I got my introductory courses — major and not-major — from tenured profs. Heck, EE101 was taught by one of the guys who FOUNDED the department. The dean of engineering taught introductory fluid dynamics; the chair of the electrical engineering department taught a few classes…
    .
    What can I say? Choose smaller schools and you won’t have this problem.

    • Spegen says:

      Same here, went to a very small Catholic school. Biggest trouble we had was reminding the admin and profs that it was a Catholic school.

  • LiberExMachina says:

    To be fair to the terrible, terrible system: at least in Texas, an adjunct does 2/3′s of the teaching work a full-timer does (and the full-timer spends the rest of his teaching time working on B.S. administrative tasks a/o sitting in a room waiting for students to show up to free tutoring sessions that will never come) at a little under 1/2 the total compensation package that the entry level secretaries get. Grant money goes to researchers. All respect goes to upper level bureaucrats. Adjuncts have the same access to good parking spots that the full-timers and secretaries have.
    And the system will never get fixed until the upper level bureaucrat’s salary/benefits are connected to the adjunct’s salary, say, the highest paid administrator can make no more in total compensation than 10X that of an adjunct working at the hour cap (which, in Texas, is around 12 hours a week). WAY more money is wasted on admin and their stupid, stupid justifications for their jobs (see Texaspatrick’s comment above) than on full-time professors’ salaries.

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