Author: Ilana Redstone and John Villasenor

For Some Adjunct Professors, It’s Speak Your Mind versus Keep Your Job

The issue of academic freedom is particularly tenuous for the growing number of college teachers who hold positions that are neither tenured nor on the tenure track. Various titles are used to describe these positions, including adjunct professor, visiting professor, professor of practice, professor in residence, acting professor, and lecturer. There is wide variation in the job duties, qualifications for appointment, and appointment procedures associated with such titles. (And in some rare cases, it should be noted, university instructors who aren’t tenured faculty do have security of employment—such as at the University of California, at which some adjuncts have a “Lecturer with Security of Employment” job title.) But for simplicity, we will use the term “adjunct” to describe any college instructor who does not have, and is not on a formal track to receive security of employment through the tenure system. There is tremendous variation regarding the length of service and level of involvement that adjuncts have with colleges. An adjunct might be hired for a period of only a few months to teach a …

How Ritualized Apologies Are Undermining Freedom of Expression

“I want to apologize. I recognize that this moment is a deeply painful one—internally and externally,” wrote Facebook’s VP of public policy, Joel Kaplan, in a Sep. 28 note to Facebook staff. This followed the publication of photographs showing Kaplan’s attendance at Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Kaplan’s presence in the hearing room led to a wave of objections voiced on internal message boards by Facebook employees. As one employee opined: Kaplan “knew that this would cause outrage internally, but he knew that he couldn’t get fired for it. This was a protest against our culture, and a slap in the face to his fellow employees.” Initially, company executives appeared to defend Kaplan, who has for years counted Kavanaugh as one of his closest friends. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that Kaplan had broken no rules with his attendance at the hearings, and on Oct. 3, Andrew Bosworth, a Facebook VP, weighed in, writing that “it is your responsibility to choose a path, not that of the company you work for.” Yet the …