Despite this, little serious work has been done on the ‘‘business ethics’’ of universities.1 Some reporters and activists compare adjuncts to sweatshop workers or ‘‘indentured servants’’ (Kendzior 2013). Such comparisons, we charitably presume, are not intended to trivialize the plight of actual sweatshop workers or indentured servants, whose situation is obviously far worse. Rather, their point is that many of the economic and moral ethical issues pertaining to sweatshops also pertain to adjuncts. They claim that there is an oversupply of advanced degree holders relative to the number of available tenure-track jobs. As a result, they claim, universities
strong evidence that working as an adjunct is, for whatever reason, what the adjuncts themselves consider their best (i.e., least bad) option. This means simply eliminating adjunct jobs will harm rather than help the typical adjunct, unless that adjunct in turn receives an even better option. Note well, in claiming that adjuncts choose adjuncting over their other (possibly bad) options, we do not thereby argue that adjuncts deserve low pay, or that they are not exploited. Third, because universities face budget constraints, and because adjuncts are significantly less expensive than tenure-track faculty, any
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- Spring '11