Although I'm currently working with legislators on getting a Healthy Workplace Bill passed in WA state and hoping to soon be working for the teachers union, I experienced being bullied by a group of "good ol' boy" tenured professors at a Washington State Community College. They bullied me because I was speaking out requesting equity for adjunct instructors in the college workplace. While...
Although I'm currently working with legislators on getting a Healthy Workplace Bill passed in WA state and hoping to soon be working for the teachers union, I experienced being bullied by a group of "good ol' boy" tenured professors at a Washington State Community College. They bullied me because I was speaking out requesting equity for adjunct instructors in the college workplace. While campaigning to become the college's Vice President of the WEA representing the adjunct professors, I championed equal pay for equal work for adjuncts to the Commission on Higher Education in Olympia, (the state capitol). Washington State was/is breaking Federal Labor Law by having adjunct professors do full-time work for half-time pay! Adjuncts often work for two or three colleges at half-pay with no expenses for traveltime and gas between distant locations and actually carrying a heavier workload than full-time tenured Profs who only work at one college. My comments were the only comments requested by the Chair of the Commission that day (out of 20 speakers). I also spoke up at the Board of Regents meeting at Olympic College calling the situation “The Adjunct Emergency” and asked that (then) Governor Gregoire meet with a group of adjuncts to discuss the problem and work with us to design a plan to end the situation. Governor Gregoire refused to meet with us.
That's when a group of tenured profs came out of the woodwork at the college and mobbed me with their bullying. The same President of the WEA who had supported my efforts to draw attention to the issue and who was a tenured professor at the college, then met with me and announced that even though he believed adjuncts deserved a fair wage, he had to "hang with his buddies", the other tenured profs. The pay for college and university adjuncts and tenured profs comes out of one pool, and the tenured profs often want to keep their privileged position and not take any cuts to pay the adjuncts the pay they deserve. (Actually, the state of WA should be allotting more money to the community colleges to pay the adjuncts equal pay for equal work.)
In my case , two tenured profs and an adjunct cronie who wanted my job worked together to spread viscious rumors about me. One tenured prof was my supervisor, who felt threatened by my professionalism actually came into my classroom the first week of school and announced, "Your students don't like you!" in front of the whole class. Every time I requested a meeting with her she refused. Also, she had never observed my teaching and actually lied about my teaching ability to the VP of Instruction.
I had constantly substituted in a speech class for another part of the tenured mob who joined in by telling my Dean that I should never teach Speech---even though she also had never seen me teach. Neither tenured bully had ever observed my class. The Dean of Humanities had just observed me teach my Speech class and given me the highest rating that could be given, but he was afraid of the power the tenured profs have (It's rumored they'd gotten the previous dean fired), so he didn't defend me. The President of the school wouldn't meet with me. (It's also rumored that the previous President lost his job because of the bullies.) Also, two out of the five professor suicides at the school within the last seven years two of the suicides were professors who were rumored to have been bullied. (I wrote an article about the suicides before being bullied myself.) My contract wasn't renewed, so I was not able to run for the VP of the union. I couldn't sue fo fear that the bullies would retaliate against my husband who was still going through the tenure process and had two of the bullies sitting on his tenure committee. (Now, he has received his tenure.)Things can get complicated. The VP even invited me to come back and praised my teaching, but needless to say, the bullies and their followers on the grapevine have kept me out. The adjunct friend of my dishonest supervisor became a full time instructor when she was given my positon.
Thank you for your help, and please pass this to your friends.