Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | APRIL 27, 2015 5:00 AM

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The UI’s dirty little secret

The University of Iowa has a dirty little secret: there is approximately a one in three chance that the professor, instructor or lecturer teaching you is adjunct faculty and is getting paid a fraction of what tenured faculty makes. How much less? Adjunct faculty in the school of Journalism are paid $4,000 per course. Anthropology adjuncts make $6,200. Tenured full professors at the University of Iowa average $173,800 in salary, benefits and other compensation.

Twenty-one percent of part-time faculty members in Iowa live below the poverty line. One in four families of part-time faculty are enrolled in one or more public assistance programs.

More difficult numbers: the budget for the University of Iowa is over $3.5 billion dollars. Of that only 14% goes to ‘instruction’. I estimate that adjunct faculty salaries make up less than 2% of that budget. Note: this is an estimation because Senior VP of Finance and Budgets, Rodney Lehnertz and the Office of the Provost did not respond to emails requesting this and other specific information.

Or how about this: Football coach Ferentz was probably paid more for last year’s losing season ($3,600,000) than all 426 adjunct faculty put together at the University of Iowa. Again, with VP Lenhertz and the Office of the Provost not replying to emails, this is just an estimation, but the numbers are probably pretty close.

I’m not asking that tenured faculty or the football coach get paid less. I’m asking that the adjunct faculty, which make up almost one-third of all instructors at the University of Iowa, get paid a living wage of $15,000 per course in pay and benefits. The situation is very similar to that at McDonald’s or Walmart. The people at the bottom are struggling and many are living in poverty. We’re doing the day to day grunt work that keeps the whole operation running. All we’re asking for is a living wage.

Dr. Ezra Sidran, PHD
Visiting Assistant Professor
University of Iowa

Jenner on Gender: We Should Listen

I despise the Kardashian/Jenner Empire but have the utmost respect for Bruce Jenner after watching his interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC. He not only spoke for himself, he spoke for thousands, perhaps even millions, in similar situations regarding gender identity.

Western society's reliance on a two-sex binary system is limiting. It constructs gender checklists that people are given at birth. Over the course of your life, you're expected to perform every listed gender norm and role to be accepted as a "real" woman or man. But say the list you're given doesn't reflect your feelings. You might be able to check off some. You might not be able to check off any. You know you're better suited for the other list or a combination of the two. But many who feel these ways wouldn't dare tell anyone because society assumes and expects that one's assigned gender always matches one's performance, sex category, and genitalia.

Why leave so many in the dark? Why be so hostile to those that have the determination to be their true selves?

Jenner sets a good example for members of LBGTQIA, athletic, and celebrity communities in terms of self-expression, acceptance, and tolerance. Jenner also shares an important message relatable to identities beyond that of gender: you do you.

Maddie Bro
University of Iowa student

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