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Colorado House Education Committee Kills Adjunct Faculty Protections

The Colorado state House Education Committee killed a bill in February that would have given adjunct faculty some job security at institutions of higher education.

Representative Randy Fischer, who sponsored the bill, said he was disappointed the committee indefinitely postponed the bill but said the 7 – 6 vote was not unexpected.

He said the issue of adjunct job security is one that needs to be addressed, but he doesn’t know what the solution is because the makeup of the majority-Republican state House would have to change in order for such a measure to have any chance of succeeding.

“I just think we really need to address the issue of fairness for our adjunct or contingent faculty,” Fischer, a Democrat from Fort Collins, said in a phone interview.

Under current state law, most public employees –– including adjunct university and college faculty –– are employed “at-will,” meaning either the employer or the employee can terminate employment at any time for any reason.

Although adjuncts are usually hired under contract for a specific term, such as a semester or school year, their at-will contracts are not legally binding, so an adjunct can quit or be fired, even mid-semester.

The at-will status

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