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American University Adjuncts Vote to Unionize With SEIU

Adjunct faculty at American University voted to unionize Thursday, following the lead of their peers at George Washington University and Montgomery College.

Adjuncts are the temps of higher education. They make up more than half of all college faculty nationwide, but most work part-time “for very low wages with no benefits, job security, administrative support or academic rights,” the labor union SEIU said in a press release. About 30 percent of the courses taught at AU in the fall semester were taught by adjuncts, according to university officials.

University officials said they would not challenge the vote.

At AU, according to the union, an adjunct with a doctorate teaching three classes a semester could make as little as $18,000 in a year. Adjuncts at AU are capped at three courses per term.

In response, AU spokeswoman Camille Lepre wrote, “It’s not a fair comparison to hold an adjunct that teaches a course up to a tenured or tenure track faculty member who is generally teaching four courses a year, conducting research on an area of new knowledge, advising students, supervising theses, dissertations, and internship experiences, and providing service on university committees and to the community on behalf of

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