Friday, September 20, 2013

Random Bullets of Friday


  • I am saddened and angry but not a bit surprised at the "Death of an Adjunct" news and controversy.  Sadly, this isn't a new situation. I knew older adjuncts when I was a grad student and wondered how they lived and got health insurance. The casualization of the academic work force and 20 years of cutting funding for "safety net" programs hasn't made the situation better, especially now since recent votes are trying to starve the poor by cutting food programs.  The thing is, adjuncts aren't the only ones being treated this way; it's a systemic problem in this country, with workers being treated as disposable widgets (Paging Mr. Dickens!). And why don't we have single-payer insurance not tied to employment like every other rational country in the world? Working to make this better on my own campus is what I (and all of us) can do locally. I am stopping now before I start on a rant. 
  • Good reviews of something I wrote have made it easier to face the messy section of a chapter I'm working with this week and to say "once I wrote something that made sense, and I can do it again." 
  • Any online article with a number in the title is 95% likely to be completely pointless. 
  • There is a . . .  creature that makes a croaking noise outside my window. I can't see it, but it doesn't seem to be a toad or frog. Is it a bird? An insect? A different kind of animal? It goes silent when I go outside to see if I can find it. 
  • When I get to work at home for a day, I feel like a dog that goes and rolls in the grass because it's just so happy to be free. I love my job, students, colleagues, and all, but my brain wants to roll in the grass on a writing day because it's not taken up with other people's requests.  
  • Penn State just eliminated a $1200 fine that it had begun imposing for not answering its mandatory wellness questions: "Among other questions, the online survey asked employees about their plans to become pregnant, about how frequently they drank too much alcohol, and about whether they had experienced problems with violence, depression, or a divorce or separation." Talk about a rhetorical "gotcha": "How frequently they drank too much alcohol" = "When did you stop beating your wife?" 

4 comments:

Leslie said...

Did not know about that Penn State thing, disgusting.

Academe does not believe in linking since really it is a paper publication, but you are cited.

http://www.aaup.org/article/faculty-governance-new-university

Lindsay said...

How is it OK for Penn State to even ask its employees about pregnancy? I thought you couldn't do that.

nicoleandmaggie said...

@Lindsay
It isn't (Pregnancy Discrimination Act). You'd think Penn State of all places would have enough lawyers to know they couldn't do that.

undine said...

Leslie, thank you! That looks like a really good article & I want to spend some time reading it.

Lindsay, nicoleandmaggie--that's the thing. It can be illegal, but somehow they thought they could get away with it under the guise of the questionnaire, figuring that people will give away any and all information on the internet.