On Monday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum joined Faculty Forward adjunct faculty from across Florida to deliver food to Miami Dade College’s food bank, which serves students and faculty in need. The event included a roundtable discussion where adjuncts highlighted the need for greater investment in Florida’s public colleges and universities as students and adjuncts struggle with student debt and poverty wages.
The food pantry itself served as a backdrop for discussing the role Florida colleges play in creating food insecurity for students and contingent faculty given the rapid rising cost of student tuition and the stagnant, low pay for adjuncts.
Gillum listened and responded to questions and heartfelt accounts by adjuncts that are dedicated to their work and students, but struggle to make ends meet in a system that is rigged against them.
“The sham the we created to use adjuncts so as not to pay for full time professors needs to come to an end,” said Gillum. “Let’s fully fund out colleges and universities to the state that they deserve.”
Once seen as the gateway to the middle class, the defunding of Florida’s universities and colleges has turned higher education into a pipeline to poverty. Floridians struggle with nearly $80 billion in student loan debt, while one in four adjunct professors report being food insecure. Across Florida, adjuncts are fighting for fully-funded tuition-free college, student loan forgiveness and a minimum of $15 an hour and a union voice for all campus employees.