Maria C. Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, answered via email select questions submitted by viewers of The Chronicle‘s online chat about adjunct issues. The questions and her responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q. Some adjuncts have access to health-care benefits already and don’t need to be covered by the Affordable Care Act. Do you support an exemption so that we could keep our current teaching loads (and paychecks) rather than face colleges cutting our hours so they don’t have to cover us?
A. In this scenario, is the institution getting an exemption from the employer mandate, or is the adjunct with health insurance getting an exemption from having his/her workload reduced? (Don’t like the latter.)
As we indicated in our comments to the IRS, we think that (1) institutions should not be allowed to avoid or circumvent the letter and spirit of the law, namely that no one should be uninsured; (2) educational quality and commitment to the mission of education, particularly as a public good, should be driving institutional response to the ACA, so avoiding excessive course loads is actually a good thing if it is accompanied with the kind of compensation that reflects the real importance of the work. Since these aims can conflict with one another in this context, administrators need to closely collaborate with faculty, with unions, and with students to craft solutions for each individual institution that achieve both aims in a financially sustainable (and legally compliant) way. <Read more.>